Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Carve Out an Off-Center Store Personality

Aim for a store personality which fits the neighborhood in which your store is located, but which also is at least slightly distinctive.
     Retail stores come to have a personality in the minds of customers and prospective customers. Some businesses are seen as daring and spirited, while others are seen as cautious and intellectual. It works best when you decide what personality you’d like your store to have and then carefully design advertising, merchandising, signage, staffing, and all the rest to strongly project that personality.
     Some years ago, Stanford University researchers identified five different dimensions that can be used to map a retail store’s personality:
  • Sincere to witty: In what ways is the retailer honest? Wholesome? Cheerful? Teasing?
  • Exciting to predictable: To what degree is the retailer daring? Spirited? Stimulating? Trendy? Responsible? Dependable? Persistent?
  • Expert to inquisitive: In what ways is the retailer knowledgeable? Successful? Calm? Confident? Secure? Imaginative? Curious?
  • Sophisticated to approachable: To what degree is the retailer formal? Assertive? Ambitious? Casual? Sociable?
  • Rugged to luxurious: In what ways is the retailer gruff? Challenging? Cooperative? Trusting? Considerate? Indulgent?
     Fit your store’s personality to how your target market members want to see themselves. That relates to the values of your shoppers. What do they consider to be especially important in their lives? Power and strength? Safety and security? Trust? Perseverance? Playfulness? Craftiness? Friendships? Something else altogether? Weave messages about those values into your advertising and your salesperson-to-customer contacts.
     For example, one lifestyle value among coffee drinkers at retail now is keeping it natural. So Peet’s Coffee and Tea profited with the slogan “Handcrafted Since 1966,” and Seattle’s Best—a subsidiary of Starbucks since 2003—enthused “Choose Organic!”
     However, recent research also indicates that the personality of your store shouldn’t match too closely the personality of surrounding stores. Researchers at Northwestern University and Emory University explored how consumers can tire of lifestyle marketing, in which a product or store brand is marketed as a forum for the customer’s self-expression. Even when the stores adjoining yours are selling completely different product lines than you do, if the personality of your store duplicates too closely that of the others, people are more likely to go to another neighborhood to continue their shopping.
     Just as you want a distinctive product and service mix when it comes to functional attributes, seek some distinctiveness when it comes to lifestyle marketing.

Click below for more:
Project Your Store’s Personality
Sell Benefits to Fit Shoppers’ Values
Sell to Values, Not Just Value
Cultivate Store Prestige with Context

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