Retail stores are not typically evaluated in the way that restaurants are. Restaurants are reviewed on their food quality, service, location, value and ambiance. They are held accountable by reviews, both professional and crowdsourced. As consumers, we’ve grown accustomed to pouring over these reviews before choosing a restaurant. In retail, however, such reviews do not exist.
Today, consumers can purchase any product they desire from the comfort of their home. Retailers need to work harder than ever to create reasons to come into their store and shop in person. The store should provide a memorable experience that is engaging and stimulating for a consumer.
As part of our (literal) day jobs at TRAUB, we are constantly embarking on what we call “Retail Safaris”, where we visit and evaluate retail stores. And now we want to share those reviews with you, on our Instagram account.
When we embark on a Retail Safari, we evaluate stores based on four key factors: product, people, place and vibes (more on each of these below!). We use this rubric because it applies to all retail stores - legacy and new retail alike. What makes a good retail experience doesn’t change based on how old or new the store is. Applying a common framework allows us to compare stores across the retail landscape.
Follow along on Instagram and the blog as we make our way through the retail landscape of New York City and beyond.
The first and perhaps most important factor we consider when we visit a store is the product. Plain and simple, the product must be excellent. This could mean either having a product that flies off the shelves or carrying a well curated product selection. In either case, the key is merchandising and displaying product in a way that leaves a customer wanting to come back for more.
Sales associates are key to a store’s success. The human interaction provided by the staff cannot be replicated when shopping online. A memorable sales associate can be the reason a customer makes a purchase or looks forward to return. The staff should embody the brand’s values and be knowledgeable, relatable and add to the experience.
A store needs to feel like a destination. While of course the brand wants a customer to purchase something, the store experience should go beyond the actual transaction. The store design should encourage testing and discovery of the product and provide an in-person experience a customer can’t get elsewhere.
Shopping is a personal experience. We’re not here to tell you how you should feel when you leave a store or how you should feel when you finally purchase the sweater you’ve been saving up for or visit a store that everyone has been talking about. We’re here to tell you how we felt when we visited and hope to give you a flavor of how you may feel when you do the same.