We’re not sure if we should call it the Randal Blessing or the Randal Curse, but we do know this: even on a day off, we can’t step foot inside a retailer without analyzing every experience, store layout and product display. Chuck Bray and Phylicia Sakelaris of Randal Retail are amongst our more delightfully opinionated team members – here they share a couple of their favorite stores.
Retailer: Tory Burch
My experience: Shopping with my wife and daughter last Christmas (which is already a treacherous task), we marched into Tory Burch where the girls were determined to try on every type of boot or bootie they had in the entire place. Nothing was right, none of them got the girls excited…as a man, it was exasperating, to say the least. I was trying to ignore them from a distance when one of the employees offered me a beer. It wasn’t a joke. I would have sat in that store all day while they brought boots from anywhere if they’d have let me. I was calm and cool in a sea of catfights, tears and leather. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that day.
Why it inspires me: Traditional retailers should model themselves after Tory Burch: what’s going to make the experience memorable, and draw customers back to you next time they need something? Products alone don’t do it anymore.
What other retailers can learn: It’s all about the customer’s experience in the store. If they like it, they’ll be back.
(photo credit: Anthropologie)
My experience: Have you ever been in an Anthropologie store? Isn’t it beautiful? It’s like walking into a fairytale where everything is so pretty. Even though there’s an element of comfort and familiarity when you walk through those doors, each store is a little bit different from the next, and each offers a unique product mix to serve it’s equally unique clientele. Everyone is so friendly, there’s this weird calm feeling you have as you peruse the merchandise. It’s a slow-paced, take your time, and make it your own style type of atmosphere. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone angry in Anthropologie. I mean, let’s be serious, how could they be? Guys and children don’t seem to mind either. Even though the store offers exclusively women’s items (although it’s totally cool if guys want to pick up some scented soaps or candles!), there never seems to be any impatient husbands or unpleasant little shopping companions. There’s enough to look at that people almost seem mesmerized by the store and what treasures are around the next corner.
Why it inspires me: It’s inspiring because it’s such a unique atmosphere compared to other traditional retail brands. It’s sort of “something for everyone” without being too loud about it. It’s a subtle “this might appeal to you but not someone else,” which is kind of how Randal sees itself in the retail world, too.
What other retailers can learn: Anthro, as the kids call it, is a perfect example of how not every store under the same brand is completely cookie cutter. Sure they have some similarities throughout, but each one is just a little bit different, which makes it special.
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