“Here is the place where the feeling grows
You gotta get high before you taste the lows
So come on
Let me entertain you
So come on let me entertain me
Let me entertain you”

– Robbie Williams

When does a retailer transcend what it is to be “just” a retail business to that of the high street cathedral? Have Apple achieved this eminent status or is this position truly held by to the Harrods or Lafayette of this world? Is it the power of brand or position itself that underpins such statements of retail power?

Today we take a look at the retail icon that is Topshop on Oxford Street, London. This retail statement is seen by many as the king (or Queen) of the British high street. This store attracts over 30,000 visitors a day, nearly 800,000 people a month, approximately ten million visitors a year… so what makes this store so attractive to visit? Surely, location, visual merchandising and product offer alone can’t drive such footfall?

Yes the store has a prime location at Oxford Circus, but on a recent study visit to London it is evident that the inflection point of destination, entertainment and on cue brand and product intersect to elevate retail to the iconic stage.  A destination must be big to have power and this is a big fashion store, with strong trend-led visual merchandising, upbeat music and trendy staff all competing at a frenzied energy level. As you venture down the escalators, you are not only overwhelmed by an ocean of women’s clothing, but immersed into the world of their target consumer. This is destination, impulse retailing at its best, right on target, with no pretence as to whom they are coveting.

Topshop London

What separates this business offer from many of its competitors is the concept of entertainment.

Topshop Oxford Street is not just a location for shopping; it caters to a whole lifestyle. From getting a haircut, taking a selfie with friends in the photobooth, having lunch in the EAT café, taking a visit to the beauty parlour, customising your own garments, visiting ‘the Juicery’, it is no surprise there is a long queue of dads, brothers, sons or boyfriends, sat patiently waiting upstairs. The store actively encourages customers to spend hours in store, and by selling this lifestyle package, the store offers enhanced opportunities for upselling not only on products but on services.

Whilst not all retailers can afford the investment  of one of the world’s most sort-after high street addresses, the underlying concept here that can be implemented by all retailers in order to increase retail fitness in this area, is enhancing the store experience to become a go-to destination for your market.

By gaining proprietary insights on your core consumer segment, and their lifestyle needs not only product needs, retailers can strategically implement a unique store offer which simultaneously increases profitability, brand loyalty and positions the store as an active part of your consumer’s way of life.

photo 11

We are beginning to see this in Australia with many retailers, who have begun integrating coffee shops into their stores, encouraging shoppers to relax and spend longer in the physical space. Then to maximise on this additional time in store, retailers can strategically utilise the powers of visual merchandising and the consumer’s use of mobile, by providing complimentary wi-fi, to greatly enhance the up sell process. In this example, research shows that using mobile in stores can convert shoppers at 20 per cent higher rate than those who don’t utilise digital as part of their shopping process, with consumers advancing in their sophistication – using mobile more often for inspiration and idea generation earlier in their shopping process, and not simply as a price comparison vehicle.

After all, isn’t “fit” retail all about entertainment delivered with power, relevance and panache?

Are you seeking to make a retail statement? Perhaps you’re simply seeking that unique idea to make your store a go-to destination for your customer.

Our RDG Insights division can offer proprietary neuromarketing consumer insights to truly understand the lifestyle decisions of your customer. From this, we can work together to build a strong strategic direction and actionable implementation plan to turn your store into a hub of customer experience and activity. Click here to find out more or call/email our team to have a confidential discussion around your ideas: (02) 9460 2882 or brian@retaildoctor.com.au.

First published in Inside Retail, 16th September 2015.