We Believe in Showroom Stores, So Does Dyson

Brand: Dyson, a UK appliance maker owned by eccentric billionaire James Dyson. Company sales: $3 billion+ Showroom Network: Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Jakarta, New York, London, San Francisco, Toronto. Dyson also now operates 460 stores in China, including flagship stores in Shanghai and Beijing. Recent Showroom Openings: New York, San Francisco, and London. The Dyson flagship...

A Peek Inside the Best of NYC Retail

Retailers have focused too long on their operations and store ROI and haven't put enough emphasis on the type of personal shopping experience consumers are craving. And no, the answer isn't omni-channel. Have you ever heard a consumer say – man I wish store X had a better omni-channel strategy?! Doubtful. The answer is one-to-one...

Choose One: Amazon or Walmart?

As Walmart dominates brick and mortar and Amazon reigns supreme in ecommerce, a readers’ poll between these two retail giants was inevitable. Walmart continues to drive innovation through acquisition of brands like Jet, Bonobos and Modcloth while Amazon tests, learns and expands their bricks footprint with the acquisition of Whole Foods and the growth of...

What If Amazon Launched Their Own Delivery Service?

Is this the Amazon Century? It very well could be. Especially if they were to launch their own delivery service. The digitally born e-commerce giant is synonymous for their 2-day delivery, but what if they streamlined the delivery even further and you got that perfect potted succulent the day you ordered it instead of two...

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

2018: State of the Retail Nation


Amazon’s rise has radically altered consumer expectations of the traditional store, but there’s also a lot of good news out there for retailers. Shifting consumer sentiment always operates as both a threat and an opportunity—and some brands are stepping up. In our latest research report, find out which brands shoppers think “gets” them, or if...

Why Did Walmart Buy Bonobos?

In early June 2017, Walmart surprised the retail and fashion industries by making an unexpected $310 million cash bid for Bonobos, the wildly successful “digital-first” menswear site launched a decade ago. No brand has more enthusiastically embraced the innovative merchandising strategy known as showroom stores better than Bonobos. The acquisition was a radical departure from...

What if Best Buy was a Showroom Store?

Recent research we conducted revealed one unequivocal thing: Showroom stores are viewed as the single most influential innovation to potentially drive purchase today. They have broad appeal, being the most sought after innovation across demographics. Interestingly, for both Digital Natives (under 30) and Digital Immigrants (over 40), Best Buy scored high in brand awareness, with...

Retail in 2017: Good, Bad or Ugly?

Amazon’s rise has radically altered consumer expectations of the traditional store, but there is also a lot of good news out there for retailers. Shifting consumer sentiment always operates as both a threat and an opportunity—and some brands are stepping up. Let us know if you think retail 2017 was good (this brand really gets...

What Will Continue to Stand?

Placemaking in Retail Development


Much of the conversation around the retail industry this past year has centered on the trends of online consumer experiences and the relevance, or lack thereof, of "brick-and-mortar" stores. While we know consumers find convenience and value in online experiences, the value of "brick-and-mortar" to retail companies ranges from expanding brand reach to maintaining brand...

The X-Factor

Think Expectations, Then Experience


The X-Factor, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is "an indefinable but important element, esp. one that sets something or someone apart." Applied to the retail industry, it's worth asking: What sets certain store brands apart? For Walmart, it's everyday low prices (“Save Money, Live Better.") At Target, a high-style brand with low prices...

A Few of our Favorite Things

The Best of 2017


This special holiday issue of WayfinD wouldn't be complete without a list of some sort that encompasses all of the stuff we loved about 2017 – because let's face it, we're optimists; glass half full kind of people. So let's look back on 2017 with a smile, awe and a little bit of crazy for...

What if your e-com sales surpassed your store sales?

A surge is coming in online sales, and it's quickly becoming a reality that online sales could, and most likely will, surpass in-store sales for first time in history. According to Adobe's holiday retail report, online sales are expected to rise 13.8% this holiday season. Are you ready? Surveys conducted show this projected increase in...

Healthcare: Can Retailers Be The Disruptors?

Let’s face it: going to the doctor is a pain. And not just because you’re there because you feel lousy, or you’re doing your best to avoid feeling lousy. The reason it’s so frustrating? Most medical practices are designed for them and their processes, not you. The hours are limited and it almost always requires...

A Passion for Wellness

Healthy habits are going beyond being a good thing to do and are becoming a passion and a way of life, bringing with it business potential


Healthcare has dominated the news lately, with most of the coverage focused on how to pay for it. Consumers have seen their share of medical costs rising, and regardless of national legislative outcomes, it’s inevitable they’ll continue to pay more out of pocket for treatment making them much more discerning about their medical options. And...

If it’s the Amazon Century, how did we get here?

Warning, this is not about Whole Foods, it’s bigger than that!


On January 4, Macy’s, the nation’s largest department store chain, announced it would cut 10,000 jobs and close 68 stores. One week later, Amazon said it would add 100,000 jobs in the U.S. The timing of these two announcements is not a coincidence, but inextricably linked and together represent the two competing stories of retail’s...

Amazon’s Place in History

Amazon’s growth, and let’s face it, domination, has not been an accident. Yet it has come at the cost of some…retail salespeople, store closures and even Walmart. This year marks the 3rd Amazon Prime Day, let’s take a look at how Amazon has grown and what it means for the future of the industry. Amazon...

The Customer You’ve Never Met

A new party has joined the purchase decision process. Enabled by data, digital assistants are poised to propel a new round of disruption coined “conversational commerce.” Consumers will at once become more accessible through individualized, contextual, in-the-moment messaging and less accessible thanks to the rational algorithm-driven suggestions coming from their digital assistants. Brands will need...

What If your only options were Amazon, Walmart and Third Wave stores?

Amazon expands into ‘brick & mortar’ by testing (and launching) Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Campus and Amazon Lockers. Amazon buys Whole Foods. Nike announces they’ll start directly selling through Amazon. Walmart buys Jet.com. Walmart buys Bonobos and Modcloth (two predominantly online retailers targeted towards younger buyers). Walmart remodeling hundreds of stores and improving the...

Omni-Channel is BS

It’s About Doing the Right Thing


There is an ever-present buzz swirling around the idea of omni-channel marketing in today’s retail landscape. Brands are being told they must have an omni-channel plan that stretches across mobile apps, websites and brick-and-mortar stores in order to stay competitive among an increasingly savvy and curious consumer base. We say that’s BS! When it comes...

What If Your Manager was a Robot Powered by AI?

Imagine a day when you walk into your office and learn that your formerly very human boss has been replaced by a robot. And not just any robot, but a learning robot that is powered by artificial intelligence and gets smarter the longer it “ingests” data. You know, like the robot that won Jeopardy. What...

Ode to Retail: Death of the Traditional Mall

A demographic bellwether, the city of Columbus, Ohio, has long been a favored test market for brands. When restaurants tweak ingredients for a new breakfast sandwich, or a retail chain tests a new store format, it’s often this Midwestern city, the nation’s 15th largest, where they do the fine-tuning. In this way, Columbus makes an...

The Drive-Thru of the Future

In lieu of a crystal ball, the next best thing is sometimes simply a patent search. In recent years, a veritable flood of patent applications has re-imaged the decades-old and staid format of the drive-thru lane. Read through a few dozen patent applications as I did recently, and only one conclusion is possible: The traditional...

The North Face

The North Face, maker of one of the country’s most popular lines of performance apparel, equipment, footwear and related sportswear, is all about pushing the limits, as captured in its mantra “Never Stop Exploring.” The company wanted to find ways to improve customer experience in their owned-stores and create an omni-channel strategy, so it turned...

The Store of the Future Creates Omni-Encounters

A look at why retailers should relax the boundaries among "channels" in their Omni-channel retail strategies


The millennial mindset calls for many varied digital encounters, Jill Lepore recently wrote after visiting the Whole Foods spinoff, 365 Everyday. The concept opened in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake, the first of 19 new stores planned by the national chain. In describing the “varied digital encounters” she observed walking the aisles of...

Transactional v. Transitional Zones

How to create disruptive moments in retail’s coming era of automated payments


The end of checkout is the end of the impulse buy… or is it? Undoubtedly, the rapid adoption of seamless checkout options (mobile checkout, RFID, automated payments, among others) is altering longstanding consumer habits and expectations. But viewed strictly through the lens of revenue numbers, automated checkout might easily be mistaken as a toothless threat....

Johnny Rockets

Johnny Rockets is a global restaurant chain founded on providing a classic, all-American dining experience. They were established 30 years ago and have over 300 locations in 26 countries around the world. With many retailers now focusing on winning over the millennial generation, Johnny Rockets needed to develop a revolutionary diner concept that was relevant...

What If There was No Customer Segmentation?

How would retailers drill down to figure out more about their target customers? As the lines between consumer segments continue to blur, retailers are going to need to come up with a different strategy to meet the needs of the ever-growing and expanding customer base. It is no longer acceptable for retailers to say males...

What If All your Shoppers were Young?

If that were true, you’d have the largest generation, as millennials outnumber Baby Boomers by more than 8 million according to the US census and are much more diverse than previous generations. But what does this mean for retailers? It means if you want to capture (and keep) the attention of this insatiable audience, you...

NFL

Bringing "homegating" to the masses


Everyone knows about “tailgating”, but millions of people can only follow their favorite NFL teams at home–enter “homegating”. The NFL developed an array of team-branded products with many of its licensing partners, which fans can use to create game-day celebrations in their homes. The NFL needed help to promote the idea—and the products—in more captivating...

The Adaption Problem: Airline Self-Check-In

What Can Retailers Learn from the Rapid Adoption of Self-Check-in within the Airline Industry?


In 2004, more than 80% of airline passengers walked up to the ticket counter and talked to an actual human being before boarding a plane according to the International Air Transportation Association. Although the industry had been experimenting with self-check-in, such as kiosks, and smartphone check-in since the late 1990s, less than one-fifth of passengers...

Millennials are Just Like You and Me, Only Younger…

Much has already been written about the Millennial generation – And for a good reason. Spanning the ages between about 21 and 39, they represent a powerful constituency of US consumers, with about 22% of the total population and $1.7 trillion in spending power. And, they will only become more important in the future as...

Resilient Design: Architecture For A Dynamic Future

It’s one thing to create buildings that aren’t harmful to the environment. It’s another to design buildings and communities that actually protect and benefit its occupants – now and for years to come – regardless of changing climatic conditions.


Climate change is part of our new reality, and extreme weather events are wreaking havoc on human lives, infrastructure and the economies where they strike. Recent record setting hurricanes, tornado outbreaks, wildfires, droughts and flooding bear this out. As architects and designers, we need to take a close look at how buildings can be designed...

Intel

In-store experiential marketing


Intel has a 48 year tradition of creating innovative products that improve the way people live and work around the globe. They are the largest semiconductor chip maker in the world. Intel needed a partner to help increase brand awareness and drive purchase. We worked with Intel to create an experiential marketing campaign that highlighted...

What If All Stores were Closed on Black Friday?

This is a double-edged sword. Some people love to wake up early and wait outside the store to get an “awesome deal” and finish their holiday shopping before anyone else. Then there are the people who would rather stay sleeping and spend the day recovering from the food comma they induced the night before. Either...

What If There Were no More Used Car Salesmen?

No high-pressure sales tactics. No guy with bad breath on commission pushing you to buy something you don’t want—or even worse something you don’t need. Just a really great shopping experience where there are people to help vs “sell”. With more people shopping or at least doing their research online, the only reason you would...

Let There Be Light – But What Kind?

When you’re trying to decide about the lighting for your retail or restaurant chain, there’s only one thing you should never do: blindly follow the conventional wisdom.


After years of experimentation and pricey first-generation products from off-brand suppliers, LED lamps are finally mainstream. Every major lighting manufacturer is now invested in the production of LED luminaires, with LED lamps brightening everything from holiday displays to year-round restaurant and retail establishments. The promise of LED is tantalizing: dramatically lower energy use, longer lamp...

How Healthy Stores Can Alleviate the ‘Choice Dilemma’

It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor. The idiom encapsulates the dilemma many Young People (a.k.a Millennials) face when deciding whether or not to spend more buying healthy products. Over the last decade, we’ve seen the rise of the “young invincibles,” a term coined by the health insurance industry, and floated regularly during...

A Lot of Catching Up, in 3 Simple Steps

How digital solutions can reshape the retail environment, increasing consumer traffic and revenue.


We’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Consumers’ expectations of digital experiences at retail far exceed anything most retailers currently offer. While companies everywhere are racing to be the newest, coolest and most buzzworthy, it’s easy to lose sight of what consumers are actually looking for: relevancy. Consumers are choosing experiences that simplify...

Lessons of the Third Wave: The Urban Outfitters Story

If growth is easier to achieve online, why bother with new stores?


When the CFO of Urban Outfitters, Frank Conforti, talked to Wall Street analysts late last year, he took pains to point out the kind of fact retail executives often try to obscure: The direct-to-consumer channel was outperforming the company’s stores. Sales via web, mobile and mobile apps were going up, with positive gains at all...

Zensho

Creating a Western style grocery concept


Zensho of Japan recently acquired four local grocery chains, to diversify their portfolio of 25 restaurant brands. They wanted to develop an umbrella mass-market/value-brand that would rise above the sea of local grocery stores. They created a fresh, Western-inspired and more relevant concept that would elevate the customer experience. This was accomplished by creating a...

What If There Were No Check Out?

Wouldn’t that be glorious? No waiting in line to buy what you have already determined you want. None of the hassle of having to talk to a cashier that is making awkward small talk or trying to get you to enroll in their credit card program, or worse a cashier that doesn’t talk to you...

Why Amazon Can Be Stopped

Young people prefer shopping in stores


A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing throws into question the doomsday predictions about Amazon’s unstoppable influence over the retail industry. Despite the precipitous rise of Amazon and the explosive growth of online shopping, a national survey of nearly 3,300 shoppers recently concluded that Millennials are “less likely to purchase online compared...

Franchising: Time to Get Lean

What can franchise companies learn from car manufacturing? Turns out, quite a lot. Shifting to a "lean" mindset can drive out inefficiency, reduce cost, and improve productivity.


Lean manufacturing, an idea credited originally by automaker Toyota, refers to a management philosophy that systematically trims the ‘fat’ in a system while adding greater focus on customer value. At WD, we like to say it helps a company get from point A to point B as fast as possible. And lately, we’ve been using...

What If Stores Only Sold Private Label?

You walk into a Kroger and everything looks different. There are brands you’re familiar with, but not the old-school ones they usually carry. All the names seem decent, but they’re not the goods you grew up with. You check the labels and the quality actually seems better, so you’re pretty sure you should go for...

Frigidaire

Breaking through the sea of stainless steel


Frigidaire has been a trusted American brand for over 90 years. They were looking to connect with customers, both those purchasing major appliances for the first time and those who hadn’t purchased an appliance in 10 years or more. Frigidaire wanted to elevate their perception in the market place by relating more to consumers through...

Franchising done right, for Fast and Solid Growth

Franchising can be the key to extending your brand in a flexible, adaptable way while saving time, effort, and money on operations and overhead.


Let’s say you have a really strong new restaurant or retail idea. You’ve identified a timely, unmet need, sales are strong, and you’re worried a competitor is going to replicate your concept and stall your momentum. To truly own this new idea, you need to extend it fast. However, the financing required to build a...

EchoPark Automotive

Transforming the pre-owned car buying experience


Sonic Automotive was looking to revolutionize the pre-owned auto industry, to accomplish this they worked tirelessly for two years to innovate this highly profitable space by appealing to a younger demographic and exhibiting exemplary customer experience. The EchoPark store concept was designed and engineered from the ground up: a contemporary, low-stress pre-owned car shopping experience...

Winning Back the Storeless Generation

It’s been 25 years since Ray Oldenburg coined the term third space. “A generic designation for a great variety of public places that host the regular, voluntary, informal and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work,” as Oldenburg, an urban sociologist, wrote in 1989. That might sound stuffy and stilted...

Does P&G Need Retailers Anymore?

The Real Meaning of P&G’s Supply Chain Overhaul


Procter & Gamble’s $89 million distribution center near Dayton brings jobs to the region, but as part of a supply-chain overhaul, it also represents the inevitable – and potentially dramatic – transformation of the retail landscape. The distribution center would “dramatically innovate the way we supply our customers,” Global Products Supply Officer Yannis Skoufalos said...

Serving the Storeless

Younger customers — the next generation of big spenders — will buy from you. But they want a very different shopping experience.


Over the last few years we’ve talked to thousands of consumers, young and old, about what they love and hate about shopping. We’ve uncovered lots of insights about emerging trends and audiences, but one segment has intrigued us more than others: the “Millennials.” And we’re not alone. A lot has been written about the buying...

Office Depot

A better-defined experience


Consumer electronics have never been hotter, and can be a high-margin offering in many stores. But Office Depot’s otherwise loyal customers were being drawn away by Amazon and other category leaders. They needed ways to elevate the presence of the electronics section, encourage browsing, and win back sales. All within practical, scalable cost-per-square-foot boundaries. They...

What If All Your Shoppers Were Old?

That would be a dream come true for brick-and-mortar retailers. Many older consumers choose to shop in-store. But the reality is that retailers must change for the coming generations. And those generations do not want to shop in stores as much because they are not satisfied with their in-store experiences. How do you plan to...

Let’s Talk About BOPIS

“Buy online, pickup in store.” It’s an ungainly acronym but a very powerful answer to the threat posed by Amazon and other online-only retailers. And it’s a lifeline at a turbulent time for most brick-and-mortal stores. Here’s a true story I love. A friend of mine needed a new Apple MacBook Pro and a display...

Winning the Natural and Organic Shopper

Organic and sustainable products are hot. But retailers and manufacturers need to do much more than slap the word natural on product to win over this new breed of shopper — and tap into a legitimate growth area. Everyone knows that natural, organic, and sustainable goods have become a big business. With organic sales hitting...

The Scotts Company

The Scotts Company, the most recognized name in the lawn and garden care category, sought to elevate their brand’s presence in hardware stores and on-line by creating a unique retail solutions that educate and inspire shoppers. For the lawn and garden customer, confusion about what to purchase gets in the way of creating a vision...

What If Your Store Becomes a Fulfillment Center?

If retailers haven’t already considered using their stores as local fulfillment centers, they better start—and soon. With consumers wanting to offload the burden of fulfillment to retailers, brick-and-mortar brands need to figure it out fast, or risk losing those consumers to retailers who do. Online retailers like Amazon make it quick and simple—subscribe and save—and...

Smoothie King

A crowning achievement


As the American originator of the Smoothie, and with ambitious plans for global expansion, Smoothie King wanted to update its brand identity and store environments to express the importance of healthy living. Even businesses that evolve with the times may discover that their “look and feel” isn’t keeping up. It was time to refresh the...

What If Amazon Opened Stores?

Amazon is a fierce opponent when it comes to retail. And the amazing part is that they don’t even have stores—yet. So, what would happen if Amazon slapped some NEON on their warehouses and opened them for business? Would their uncanny knack for suggesting winner upsales translate in the real world? How about the ubiquity...

Amazon’s End Game

Are CPG companies giving up too much?


It has long been said retail is theatre. And just as theatre requires the willing suspension of disbelief, so does shopping. We believe we might find something new. We believe a new product might somehow change our lives. The truth is far more banal. When shopping for the everyday necessities of life, people are creatures...

Bob Evans

Brand reinvention


The request from Bob Evans, a casual family restaurant, was to help them stimulate faster growth of new restaurants by creating a cost-effective prototype with enhanced performance. A re-engineered kitchen and back of house helped Bob Evans perform with industry benchmarks, to reduce operation costs and increase productivity. The goal was to elevate the brand...

Amazon Can’t Do That

People Make The Difference


But they need to be up to the task. And that’s on you. In case you hadn’t heard, Amazon is no longer just a bookstore. They’re the 900-pound symbol of a changing retail landscape, where the customer can buy bulk toilet paper, the new Beyoncé album, and a rechargeable electric lawn mower — all from...

Human Interaction

Community and Connection


It’s easy to get sidetracked by tactics when rethinking retail design and conceptualizing the store of the future. It’s easier still to grow enamored of the potential of technology and consumer data to transform every aspect of the in-store experience. Undoubtedly, online retailers have an outsized advantage in their ability to aggregate consumer data and...

Pearle Vision

New Design for Eye Care Centers


Pearle Vision recently revamped it’s brand with a new logo, re-designed color palette, and new store design. The refresh is intended to highlight the history of the brand and re-emphasize the full eye care experience that Dr. Pearle started long ago. The new store design features an open floor plan between doctor’s offices and the...

What If Store Associates Disappear?

The latest research shows that store associates rank at the bottom of surveys investigating both appeal and influence on purchase during the shopping experience. Yet personal customer service based juggernauts like Apple and Sephora continuously outpace the competition. With automation being built into brick and mortar stores to compete with the convenience and speed of...

What If Amazon Ate Retail?

At only 19 years old, Amazon offers enough products to fill nearly half of the Walmart Supercenters located in the U.S. But the question is, will Amazon eat retail? Constantly evolving and adding product categories, brick-and-mortar stores will be on the lookout for the Godzilla of retail. Amazon currently has over 183 million products. That...

Customer Segmentation

The advantages and limitations


It’s time to take an honest look at what segmentation studies can and can’t do…and whether it’s what you really need. Too much information, running through my brain. Too much information, driving me insane. — The Police The Police declared this back in the early 80s, and it’s truer today than ever before. Over the...

What If We Embraced Amazon’s Success?

(Source: “The state of retailing online 2012” Shop.org/Forrester Research) Perhaps Amazon is unintentionally inspiring a new breed of in-store experiences. We can do better than this! WD Partners is currently fielding a consumer study that seeks to answer the question: How can physical stores rival the best tools and conveniences of the online shopping model?...

The Omnichannel Dilemma

Focus or fail


In all ways or places. It’s the dictionary meaning of the omni in omnichannel, the latest coinage in the game I’ve come to call business jargon bingo. The hybrid word attempts to capture the new pervasive power brands have to stoke the buy impulse. It’s a suitable, if pompous concept, considering omni normally comes before...

Marketing and Men

Ignore evolving social norms at your peril


It’s the conventional wisdom touted daily via a thousand PowerPoint slides in a thousand new business and campaign pitches: Women drive 80% of consumer purchases. And it’s simply not true anymore. Over the last four decades, women and men carved out and created more equitable workplaces, recalibrated domestic duties and as Hanna Rosin has so...

Cooper’s Hawk

Bringing exclusive winery ambiance to Ohio


Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant is a Chicago-based dining getaway that emphasizes sophisticated food paired with exceptional wines in a setting that is reminiscent of a Napa style winery. Wine barrel racks, varietal displays and a feature reserve barrel highlight Cooper’s Hawk’s unique signature wine. The reserve barrel wine is only available by the glass...

What If Partnerships Got More Creative?

“More and more, we’re seeing retailers pursue strategic partnerships with the goal of expanding their channel and improving customer convenience. In some cases, strictly online retailers might find that they have a lot to offer a struggling brick and mortar brand, and vice versa. There are many legal and strategic challenges, but it’s interesting to...

Wiring the Customer Experience

How consumers are embracing fast-emerging digital technologies


Consumers are adapting to, and even demanding, digital retail experiences. One of the primary challenges today is keeping up with these tech-savvy shoppers. Not sure where to start? We’ve uncovered key trends that are already shaping the future. WD Partners surveyed 2,300+ people nationwide about the appeal, awareness, and usage of 14 current and emerging...

The Running Company

Designed by runners for runners


Finish Line (NASDAQ: FINL), a leading athletic retailer, recently entered into a joint venture with Gart Capital Partners to accelerate the expansion of The Running Company stores. Together, they decided they needed a partner who understands the goal of creating a “localized” store that meets the unique needs of the running community. Finish Line and...

2012 Consumer Picks Survey

Uncovering Hidden Truths in the Data


A closer look at the results reveals even more interesting trends worth watching. As every leading restaurant will tell you, the most successful brands deliver their fundamentals consistently, while carefully tweaking and revising the model to stay current and compelling. WD Partners followed this advice when producing our second annual Consumer Picks survey, a comprehensive...

What If Men are Driving More Purchase Decisions?

The Continuum of Cool explores changing attitudes and emotional needs among two generations of specialty store customers – Boomers and Millennials. It provides specialty retailers a strategic foundation to navigate this enormous demographic divide, as well as a look at why brands should pay more attention to the male customer. Please visit wdpartners.com/research for more...

The Continuum of Cool

Navigating the Boomer-Millennial Divide


Every specialty brand in America today must decide how to appeal to two arguably incompatible demographic groups. Eighty million Millennials will soon reach peak buying power. At the same time, Baby Boomers are entering new lifestyle stages – retirement, second career, empty nester – and so in many retail categories, brand loyalty is up for...

Do We Really Need LEED?

Are the bragging rights worth the cost?


The question posed in the title of this article, “Do We Re ally Need LEED,” is rhetorical. Well, mostly. Let’s clarify. Do the retail and restaurant industries need to make responsible building and energy conservation a priority? Absolutely, unambiguously yes. But is LEED certification the ideal guideline for us to follow? There’s the real question....

Supermarket Showdown

The Digital Imperative


It’s becoming clear that grocery shoppers want all the things they love about their local stores – convenience, selection, product expertise, and community – combined into a tidy, integrated brand experience. This is known in marketing as an “omnichannel strategy,” and put most simply, it means creating a dialog with customers on their favorite social/digital...

International Research

Tips for studying a new market


Nearly every company, prior to launching a product or entering a new market (or both) spends some effort on customer research. In fact, some cities (like our hometown of Columbus, Ohio) are studied more than others because they represent a reliable cross-section of tastes, economies, and other (trademarks) of the North American market. Wherever a...

PromoWest – Stage AE

Versatile, branded architecture


Since its emergence in the 1940s, the rock music industry has been a volatile, restless creature that has continuously evolved and reinvented itself. As the number of modern sub-genres grows, audiences are splitting off into niche communities of concert goers. Accordingly, smaller venues are asserting their dominance. In response to this trend, PromoWest Productions –...

Standard Market

Creating a grocery haven for foodies


Knowing that today’s food aficionado craves more than just a get-in and-out grocery experience, West Highland Capital Partners wanted to answer that need in an intriguing, unforgettable way. Their concept: an innovative food haven that encourages experiential shopping, invites browsing, and features a wide array of fresh, seasonal products. In creating Standard Market, a perishables-only...

Consumption in Flux

A Look at China's High-Spending Youth


Since China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, most restrictions on foreign retailers there have been lifted — and the Chinese economy hasn’t been the same since. According to a recent report by Forbes Insights, “In 2010, China’s consumer market was estimated to be worth $1.7 trillion. Credit Suisse projects that the burgeoning...

Millennials & Grocery Design

Operational Realities


Grocery’s Next Generation: How Millennials Will Change Food Shopping, is a surprising, instructive look at how consumers ages 18 to 30 regard grocery shopping today — and how grocers can meet their very different expectations in the future, when they have even more income to spend. My first thought after reading the report was, wow...

Retail Expansion in India

What to know before you go


With the Asian financial crisis of the late ’90s now a distant memory, more U.S. retailers are setting their sights on expanding into the region. The opportunities are exploding — Asian-based retail and restaurant brands are still being established, leaving room for savvy competition. And while much of the retail world is focused on expansion...

Integrate or Die

Keeping up with consumers


The headline of this article isn’t an exaggeration. Just ask Borders. Or Blockbuster. These once- great brands didn’t fail solely because of changing tastes and technology; they failed because they did not evolve and align their channels to remain competitive. Not surprisingly, consumers chose what benefited them most—more convenience and value. With an increasingly global...

E-Mart

The rebirth of Korea's largest retailer


E-Mart is the largest retailer in South Korea, with more than 120 big-box superstores across the peninsular country. With an eye toward a brand invention and format development, E-Mart engaged WD Partners and Prophet, E-Mart’s business, brand and strategy consultants, to create three specific retail concepts: Matrix, a consumer electronics store focused on urban millennials;...

BJ’s Restaurants

Keeping up with aggressive expansion


BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse began as a small chain in southern California. Over the last six years, the company has boldly bucked the anemic economy, expanding eastward into 13 states. While many chains are simply remodeling existing stores, BJ’s has continued to build new restaurants from the ground up throughout 2009 and 2010. As a...

What If We Weren’t so Focused on Price?

Would quality get better? Would service get better? Would there be jobs in the manufacturing sector again her in the U.S.? Would we, as consumers, then be more inclined to direct our taste to other attributes, like longevity? Would we, as retailers and retail designers, then be allowed to make things that could be appreciated...