Apple is widely recognized as a pioneer in creating a community out of its retail locations. Local Apple stores are more than just places to buy or repair technology. They have become places to hang out, meet up and relax. In fact, many stores host classes, seminars and even local music artists.
Seeing as Apple is the most profitable company in the world , it’s no surprise that other retailers are following suit, developing their own unique spin on creating a sense of community among their customer base.
Kroger: Abandoning Price Wars In Favor of Building Community
Price wars are a race to the bottom and retailers are starting to turn to customer experience as a means of increasing sales. Grocery chain Kroger, which operates in the middle – offering prices that are neither the lowest nor the highest – has been using data to create a more personalized and pleasant shopping experience for its customers. Their Plus Card loyalty program predicts products individual shoppers may want to purchase, and sends them customized digital coupons.
They are using that same platform to create stores that are specifically designed for the needs of each community based on customer shopping data. They are stocking shelves, merchandising and reworking layouts to serve the unique demographics of each store. Creating a better experience keeps shoppers in Kroger stores longer, increases basket size, and boosts loyalty.
Aesop: National Chain, Local Flavor
Australian skincare retailer Aesop is also taking a more localized approach to their brick-and-mortar business. Traditionally, chain stores opt for consistency in store design and layout, but Aesop stores are uniquely designed based on the local community. On their website, the company publishes the methodology for the materials and products they choose for each store. They also talk about the local architects and designers they work with in the creation of each store, showing that they give back to the communities they operate in.
Anthropologie: Building Local Communities Through Omnichannel Experience
Providing a seamless omnichannel experience has been a priority for many retailers, but Anthropologie has turned the model on its head, opting for a more local omnichannel approach to. Each store has its own Instagram account, empowering employees at the local level to boost social exposure and to better connect with their younger, female customer base. Using local accounts ensures that the content is personalized and directly connected to the experience of each store.
Customers who follow a local Anthropologie Instagram channel can shop that feed through Like2Buy. If a customer sees an item on Instagram they want to buy, they simply click and it’s theirs. In comparison, if the chain utilized a national Instagram channel only, they could post a link to buy, but not relate that link to a single, localized item known to be available in store.
How Can You Create Community In Your Stores?
Building a sense of community around your stores starts with data. You have to know what your customers want from a store experience and what they are likely to respond to. It does little good to try and imitate the success of someone else. A partner like Lift361 can help you dig in and determine the ties that bind your shoppers together, so you can deliver an experience that will resonate with them.