Doc Martens - a classic brand innovating and reinventing itself

Brian Walker

“When I grew up, what was interesting for me was that music was colour and life was grey. So music for me has always been more than entertainment.”

Pete Townshend

Worn on the feet of everyone from British skinheads to the Pope John Paul II, invented by a German Doctor, Klaus Mäertens, and initially bought to fame by Peter Townsend of The Who.

Yes that’s right, it’s the boots worn by people around the World for over 50 years known as Doc Martens.

Each year we tour the world, through our Ebeltoft global retail innovation insights, or by partnering to work with these businesses, in turn to bring our clients the world best innovative or adaptive retailers. I will share some of these case studies (including this week’s look at Doc Martens with the full deck available by calling our office on 02 9460 2882 or with thanks to our British partners we bring you Doc Martens flagship in Camden.

Why the Docs? Well, the UK Flagship shop in Camden highlights a nice case study of a long established retail business merging tradition, heritage, classical footprints with digital transformation, increased customer centricity and good old fashioned community building.

Dr. Martens is a globally recognized footwear, clothing and accessories brand, known for its trademark yellow-stitch boots and Airwaves soles. The iconic boots have been visibly associated over time with diverse groups in British culture, galvanizing people who are proud of their authenticity and self-expression.

Dr. Martens’ newest flagship store is located in a 4,000-sq. ft., grade-II-listed building in Camden Market and features interactive elements conceived to personalise an entertaining shopping experience.

Why is it innovative?

  • Investing in entertainment
    Entertaining customers is key for the Dr. Martens brand, which aims to create spaces where customers interact as a community. This concept incorporates a performance stage – The Boot Room – featuring regular acts, and a GIF booth, giving up potential sales space to benefit the overall experience.
  • Programmed environment
    The store also offers customised events and exclusive products. Guest artists personalise both newly purchased and beloved old boots with distinctive designs.

Consistent with its strong commitment to diversity, rebelliousness and uniqueness, rather than designing an overtly commercial environment, Dr. Martens has, over time, created spaces where dedicated customers gather for shared and personalised experiences, which generate sales, cultivate an unusually loyal consumer base and foster a strong emotional connection to the brand. The new store in Camden is further energised by programmed, in-store activities that infuse the customer experience, including innovative entertainment (e.g. a GIF booth and music on stage) and personalised products.

And this interesting trend in “giving up”  traditional retail floor space in favour of a more immersive, community atmosphere providing entertainment, digital interactivity and increasingly building the tribe to advocate and purchase across all the channels available is a key trend in the blurring between online and offline.

Keeping the best of the old, merging the new and creating the “now”.

Please join us in Sydney on July the 3rd and Melbourne on July 4th  for our RDG Fit For business breakfast featuring Launa Edmond (Super Retail Board) supported by a team of industry leaders, sharing global and local learnings in navigating successfully through retail disruption.

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