The second experiment we’re undertaking here is one around just how agile physical retail can be. One of the biggest challenges for brands thinking about their direct retail channels is commitment; leases of 10 years or more with upward rent and rate reviews, high staff commitment costs, big CAPEX spends for builds and centralised teams, and so on.
At the same time, the process for retailing is really cumbersome, with projects often taking six months or more to get off the ground.
We challenge that view.
In a digitised, disruptive world, it just cannot be the way to “do” physical retail.
For this experience store, we signed a lease for the space on a Monday afternoon at 4pm, and we opened the doors for trade on the Thursday.
We’re interested in constructing modular, agile retail experiences that turn the retail project plan on its head – how quickly can we source locations, agree terms, and open for trade?
In the same vein, we’re experimenting with how much data we can collect, analyse and adapt to in real-time – what are customers saying about the store environment, how is our VM working, which prices and promotions strategies are the most effective, how do our staff feel. We’re able to make changes and adaptations on a daily basis to get the maximum benefit from trading here.
This, we think, is the key way to allow brands and retailers to react with maximum speed – and commercial security – to opportunities as they open up, or to pivot if things need adjusting.