At the weekend I had the misfortune of getting caught up in the throngs of shoppers in a heaving outlet village.
The crowd dictated our path, pushing us into shops where my family would inevitably ask, “Which shop are we in now?”
It was a good question; there were hardly any distinguishable features from one shop to the next, making the need for brands to do something special in stores clear to me – not one shop had a differentiating feature.
If a consumer walks into your brand’s store – anywhere from Oxford street to a local high street – they should be able to feel where they are, without having to go back outside and look up at the sign.
An aligned brand experience: everything from the people to the processes, should be irresistible and unique.
Forging the right connections with customers
The North Face has had the same mission since 1966: “Building the best gear for the outdoors, supporting the preservation of wild places, and inspiring a global movement of outdoor exploration.”
The brand drives this through every touch point.
The outdoor company recently redesigned its UK flagship store on Regent Street, bringing the brand to life – taking their mission and mantra of ‘Never Stop Exploring’ and throwing it fully at the shop floor and experience, aiming to inspire every customer’s inner explorer.
Sky windows adapt to the changing weather and huge trees reach up to the ceiling. The space is also split into activity areas: live, train, and explore, something unique and special to The North Face, which shows they understand their customers’ needs.
There is a community area where customers can gather and listen to talks from leading experts, as well as attend early product launches.
Forge deep customer connections
This sociable space within the store will undoubtedly allow their consumers to engage with the brand, forging deeper connections and creating brand advocates.
It’s a brilliant example of a brand experience that works. Personally, I just want to see more retail spaces reflecting their brand’s personality, which will ultimately improve and maintain engagement.
Essentially, brands should create authentic experiences and extend the customer experience past their flagship stores – for more insight into the world of brand alignment, check out our Food for Thought section.