“Bigger is better” ruled the retail scene for years. Consumer demands drive retail trends, and they disliked driving to multiple stores to purchase all their goods. Convenience drove thought process behind situating food, beverage, clothing, and other retail goods under one roof. Now the pendulum is swinging. In an era where many goods can be purchased online, to drive consumers to the store requires personalized shopping experiences. Creating these one-of-a-kind, customer service driven experiences is easier with a smaller footprint.
Niche retailers like Pintrill and Bonobos are finding success with the smaller store model. The big box store environment feels sterile compared to an intimate small store space. Creating a more homey and inviting space is easier with less square feet. Imagine the cost of staging a megastore into a personalized experience with seating areas, touchscreens, and friendly sales associates in every area.
People aren’t interested anymore in wandering around a store when they can buy goods and services with a single click. The thought of hiking across the store for a single item is not attractive. Nor do consumers enjoy hunting down a customer service agent. Smaller stores create convenience by keeping product and sales associates close at hand. As an added bonus, narrowing the provided goods creates more knowledgeable sales associates and in turn, a better customer experience.
Another advantage to the small retail space? Fewer people are required to make the store feel busy. People naturally gravitate towards things that are trendy; an empty store is a turn-off. Seeing other customers unconsciously gives the impression that the retailer is popular. Note: there is a fine line between being busy with excited shoppers and overcrowding a store with product.
As major retailers like Target are discovering, going small cuts expenses. Newer chains find small stores an easy way to cut start up costs while leasing in prime urban locations. After all, the product must be near the consumer in order to sell.
To gain big returns, think small. It’s hard for big box retailers with massive footprints to create the personalized shopping experiences consumers prefer. Hence why store-within-a-store concepts and pop-ups are increasingly popular. Zeroing in on a quality in-store experience with knowledgeable staff wins consumers over.
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