Body Shop, Burwood - Saturday afternoon, very busy in the mall, but very low conversion of passing foot traffic. The store is well located and very tidily presented. Has the brand lost relevance in today's recessionary market ? Certainly there is more competition for the 'conscience' dollar (eg. Oxfam). Note the values or causes listed on the inside of the door. The stores DOES look very corporate - perhaps too corporate for a business that is a 'challenger' brand ?
CityBeach store, Burwood. A very slick operation that engages the senses. Quirky merchandising. Good customer service and presentation in-store. Some problems with items not being priced correctly - discrepancy between sticker price and POS system, was fixed quickly. Interesting to note about the only store in a large mall that was hiring (see earlier posting).
It's a sea of red in the specialty categories in the mall at the moment. Not unexpectedly the seasonal sales have started early - indeed some have not really stopped since January. This is merely a selection of shops in sale mode at East Gardens.
EB Games, Moore Park. Clearly experiencing pain calls for desperate measures. The posters, while impactful, do however, obscure the rest of the store, and signal 'going out of business' to customers, who might defer large purchases (potential warranty problems) or defer purchases fullstop to wait for the expected 'closing down' sale.
Fantastic Furniture, Moore Park. The POS posters say the deals are 'aMAYzing' - the store looks simply tacky, and covered in wallpaper. Even customers on a budget have taste .... even in a recession ... and most don't like being 'shouted' at either.
As an aside, the Moore Park SupaCentre seems to be in trouble - at least 4-5 vacancies, and now Dick Smith is closing it's Powerhouse store.
Just Jeans, Miranda, Friday afternoon. Note the majority of prospective customers entering the store are 35 years+ in sharp contrast to the brand's perceived younger target market and window imagery. It would be interesting to note whether this is reflected in their sizing, or if there are lost sales opportunities.
Subtle change in emphasis for the innovative Smiggle LCD displays - now showing a white background, and more emphasis on product - stands out more than than the previous dark backgrounds. (Service restored on this store's display - took a week - not good). (Smiggle, Broadway).
Forever New, Broadway. This stand-out player in the tough apparel category knows how to create a buzz. Great windows, strong entrance, appealing brand, cool in-store decor, adds up to retail theatre that clearly meets with customer approval.
K-Mart, Broadway. I am generally not hugely impressed by K-Mart stores, however, one thing they do well is use the entrance to their stores as a promotional medium. While it may not work equally well for all retailers, in their case it is 'on-brand'.
Hoyts Broadway. Apologies for the poor quality of the pic - but this cinema operator clearly believes it does not need to display prices, even in a recession. Business must be good, but could it be better ?
Setting new standards in taking the service out of self-service. Harvey Norman, Alexandria. From a customer's perspective, this falls into the 'why bother' category....... retailers who think like this should not be surprised if it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: no service --> no sales --> no staffing --> no service.
Roy Young Pharmacy, Chatswood, Westfield. Very impressive disciplines in layout, planograms and merchandising, signage and customer service. Note especially how pricing is well-signed, a must for recessionary times, and older customers. A minor criticism is the overuse of the 'save' wallpaper hanging from the ceiling, but arguably necessary in these times. Worth a visit.
Design store now has a presence in Chatswood Chase - value for money, funky designs - worth a visit. see previous post:http://shoppologist.blogspot.com/2009/03/aero-dynamic.html which shows the Melbourne store. They still have a few things to learn about the retail format and how to build a retail brand, but the product is pretty engaging, and surprisingly affordable. With a bit of tweaking this could be a winning formula.
There I was, sitting in Chatswood Chase mall (undergoing final stages of refurbishment) on a Thursday at lunch-time, minding my own business over a cappuccino - when I was overwhelmed by the audiovisual sensory onslaught of kiddies in strollers (see video clip). A couple of retailers have picked up on the opportunity (upmarket boutique kiddie stores - an upmarket mall, Kikki.K but no Smiggle in sight ?), but I have never before seen so many strollers per square metre of retail space, insuch a short space of time, 80%+ of shoppers on the top level had strollers. Unsuspecting visitors to the mall have been warned ...... (running time approx 2 mins). PG - Parental Guidance clearly required.
New Apple shop in Chatswood Chase mall - clearly very popular, especially amongst males. Their work on improving their distribution appears to be paying dividends in broadening their appeal. Theirs was the busiest specialty shop in the mall by a country mile.
1001 optical store, Chatswood Chase mall, part of a broader chain. They seem to have used black as the dominant colour in their design, as opposed to their usual red. Personally, I think it detracts from their stylish offering, and is simply too dark (even allowing for low light in the mall).
The first time I have seen inconsistencies at Smiggle, usually a very tidy operator. East Gardens and Broadway stores, respectively. Perhaps the latter's LCD has broken down - which highlights one of the weaknesses of this window approach. When it works you have an eye-catching window, when it doesn't you have a black 'hole'. Also, the signage is different.