If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that even in times of crisis, we’ll find ways to get the stuff we want or need. Even while we were going out less because we want to keep safe, we have turned to online delivery and shopping sites to obtain our goods. Shopping on websites may have been popular before but recent times have made us more open to the idea. As we’re slowly going back to the status quo, the popularity of online shopping has continued to skyrocket.
This could pose bad news for brick-and-mortar stores, which rely on the sales of visiting customers to survive. But how do they compete with online retailers who often have more competitive prices, a wider selection of goods, and more convenient ways to purchase their products?
For example, it can take just one click to buy a gift card holder wallet for men online, but for gift-hunting in brick-and-mortar stores, it involves travelling to the store location and checking whether they’re in stock.
Because of the stiff competition faced by retailers, quite a few brick-and-mortar shops have closed down. So how can physical stores compete with online retailers? Offline stores have to compete by reinventing themselves to become more attractive to consumers.
As convenient as it is to buy from websites, there are several things that online shopping cannot recreate. An obvious one is the experience of buying products you love. Shopping in-person makes it possible for you to immediately check if your products are defective and whether you like them enough to purchase them. In some cases, you can even test out the product. The shopping experience is why many people still prefer to shop in person.
Many enterprising and aspiring business owners have taken to reinventing the old retail model to emphasise the shopping experience. An emerging retail model that is making waves in the business world is the concept store. If you haven’t yet come across a concept store in Singapore, maybe it’s probably time to consider the possibility of opening one.
Concept stores are places where you can find multiple brands or types of products in one store. For example, at Lamch& Co., you can find devices like air purifiers alongside a section for computer glasses in Singapore. Concept stores can sell everything from furniture to clothing to accessories and smart devices.
To the businessman who hasn’t heard of concept stores, they might think that it would be disadvantageous to sell such a wide range of products and not concentrate on a certain niche. Selling a broad collection of products comes with the risk of alienating customers who want multiple choices of certain items. But the main draw of concept stores is in finding a diverse range of retailers who sell high-quality, unique products that consumers cannot find elsewhere.
Even big brands like Dyson are launching and designing concept stores for their consumers. What could be the main draw of concept stores and how do they differ from variety stores and other stores that don’t concentrate on certain niches?
No two concept stores are alike, even if they may sell a similar product like a cute Samsung phone case or Airpods Pro Case in Singapore. But there’s one defining aspect that all concept stores have in common: a clear theme that links all the bands and products they sell together. The theme of the store is what differentiates concept stores from common variety stores. Look at any famous concept store and you might see the theme that their various brands represent. For example, you can have a store centredaround environmental awareness and sell only eco-friendly products, or you can have a store catering to book lovers selling stationary and an assortment of reading and writing products.
Concept stores aim to provide shoppers with a next-level shopping experience that cannot be replicated by online retailers. Here are just a few ways that concept stores have done this.
1) Pop-up stores. Concept stores can be experimental ideas and collaborations between many different brands. Pop-ups can help stir the interest of consumers and at the same time check the public’s interest in the concept and products they offer. Many concept stores are born from pop-ups. However, just because it is a pop-up doesn’t mean they are valued less than actual stores. They are sometimes even more meticulously planned.
2) Interactive events. Some concept stores plan their theme with events highlighting specific products and brands. They turn otherwise boring retail spaces into interactive places where you can discover and learn more about new items like your next favourite minimalist wallet in Singapore or the history of handcrafted jewellery.
3) Community spaces. Traditional retail stores will have you walk in, select your item from a shelf or rack of items, and purchase them. But more and more people are going into brick-and-mortar stores not just to buy items, but to talk to sellers and assess the items they are interested in purchasing. When you’ve got so many places to buy products from, why wouldn’t shoppers be picky in where they will purchase their items? Concept stores draw in more interested customers by turning their place into community areas where they can do so much more. In fact, some concept stores offer workshops or classes as a way to market their products and draw in interested customers.
Lamch& Co. is a concept store offering watches, gadgets, tech accessories, and more. Gift your friend unique items such as beautiful silver jewellery or an Airpod Pro Case in Singapore!