You don’t have to work in the industry to know that bricks and mortar retail has had a bit of a fight on its hands over the past few years. Not only has online retail upped its game from both a tech and experience point of view, but the additional physical store hiatus experienced during Covid has widened the gap even further, firmly positioning the high-street store as the poorer relation.
Personally, I believe physical retail is still relevant - if done properly. What online channels lack in human interaction, personal service and tactility, physical stores can deliver in abundance.
So how are the top physical retail brands getting it right? Who’s doing it best? And who has stepped up to take on the digital world like Harry Hamlin taking on the Kraken in the epic finale of Clash of the Titans? (Too young? Sam Worthington then). Well the joyous news is, a number are getting it right, and quite refreshingly, are all doing it in different ways.
On Running + IRL moments
If you want to drive consumers to store, what better way than to create moments that can only be experienced IRL. By offering up something that is unique to a space, and in the case of On Running, has an expiration date, you immediately create a sense of FOMO amongst your target audience. This is the approach taken at the Monster Den pop-up which launched at Liverpool One and ran during the month of June this year.
The ‘Den’ was conceived predominantly to launch the brand’s new Cloudmonster product-line, but instead of just going down the route of pure product focus, the brand sought to immerse the consumer into the mindset, purpose and potential of the footwear. Done playfully, with tactility, and most importantly with the focus on in-person interaction, the space commanded the presence of its consumers.
With the strapline of ‘Come get weird with us and catch it while you can’ the space played host to social runs, yoga classes, coffee meets, and live DJs every weekend. On top of this, visitors could try on products from the full On Running range, and most importantly receive tech guidance to ensure they got the best fit for their needs. Again delivering on something that online simply cannot offer, and therefore elevating the need and desire to visit a physical space.
Physical spaces can really harness the power of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moments, as well as using it as a tool to encourage repeat visits - offering something new on each encounter.