Building a strong image is essential for success in competitive online and brick-and-mortar retail. However, the significant role that local retail plays in long-term brand building is usually underestimated. It has been proven that opening new brick-and-mortar shops for a brand also significantly increases online engagement. This is because an engaging and exciting in-store experience attracts new customer groups, even if they later prefer to shop online. So, another key factor for retail success is connected shopping. Online and offline – with each other, not against each other. The combination of physical presence in a store plus digital elements could successfully help attract (young) people back to the inner cities and shopping centres.
In previous articles I have repeatedly emphasised that the transformation of bricks-and-mortar retail into a place of experience is a crucial development. Retailers that are successful in establishing their shops as locations where people spend their leisure time can sustainably increase sales and raise their brand value. Physical and digital experiences encourage customers to stay longer in the store, visit it more often and discover additional shopping opportunities.
This is how the flagship store concept emerged in the luxury segment. The goal is not only to sell products, but above all to build up the brand and present it as an experience in a high-quality and emotional way. For this reason, the individually positioned items are not displayed in all sizes, and large video screens show current collections on the catwalk. In the shop, items are ordered in the desired size via tablet: to the shop or directly to the customer’s home depending on their wishes.
What makes a strong brand?
The core of every brand is its identity and its values. But while products, prices, segments, offers and sales took centre-stage in the past, in future there will be a greater focus on creating meaning, on integrity and responsibility. Active exploration of current societal issues and a keen sense for interpersonal resonance are becoming ever more important. More than ever, consumers expect brands to show authenticity, transparency, community-building elements and the willingness to accept social responsibility. Brands that want to be strong in future have to gain their customers’ trust if their messages are to be heard and ultimately their products sold.
This is clearly reflected on social media. Likes and shares increasingly go to content that comes from people, platforms or businesses that are considered trustworthy. It must be noticeable as to which people stand behind a brand. If they share exceptional and positive in-store experiences on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok – ideally directly from the shop – the brand is strengthened in the long term.
Local stores shape the image of a brand to a large extent; they are its most tangible figurehead. In future, strong brands will continue to depend on a physical presence that connects customers with positive experiences and makes the brand tangible. This creates a lot of opportunities. Make use of them!