7 things you should know before opening a brick-and-mortar store
ROX Diamond & Thrills, one of the UK’s most exciting independent luxury jewellery and watch retailers, has announced plans to open their first ever London store.
Located in Battersea Power Station, one of the most vibrant and disruptive retail developments in the UK in decades, ROX’s new boutique will offer its own-brand diamond jewellery and engagement rings collections, designed and crafted exclusively by ROX.
Shopping is not just what you buy, but the thrill of the experience. Throughout their journey, ROX has strived to create the ultimate shopping experience that goes beyond luxury. Their stores resemble an opulent hotel lobby where shopping goes hand in hand with a glass of Moet & Chandon Champagne in a relaxed atmosphere, where you can either ask for advice or have the option to make your decision privately, all while sipping your champagne.
As part of its 20th-anniversary celebrations, ROX will open what will be their seventh store in October, so they know a thing or two about launching and running successful high-street stores. In light of this, ROX’s co-founder Kyron Keogh shares 7 things you should know before opening a store:
Location, location location!
The first thing to consider when opening a store should be location. This may seem obvious, but is something all too often overlooked in favour of cheaper space for rent. Without a prime location that suits your brand, it can be difficult to attract your target consumer and niche market, thus making your store ineffective in generating income. Ensure that you survey and study the local area for stores offering similar services; this allows you to rethink your location based on the locality’s supply and demand needs.
Behind every brand is a story that has influenced creative decisions when forming final product designs: with everything from material sourcing to unique craftsmanship that only your store can offer. If you don’t stay true to your brand when launching your store, you will immediately fall short when compared with competitors.
It is critical to define what makes your brand stand out. When creating a brand identity, consistency is key to ensure a cohesive brand and reputation. This means your physical store must adhere to the imagery and tone depicted on your online store; this consistency will enable you to become a brand customers recognise, trust and admire.
Kyron Keogh, Managing Director and Co-founder of ROX comments: “With ROX, we’ve created a whole story behind our branding. Diamonds & Thrills isn’t just a catchy slogan – it’s a way of life. It’s important for consumers to connect with brands and build relationships. By telling your brand’s story, you create emotion within your audience and establish trust. Brand storytelling can help you distinguish yourself from competitors and ensure your audience remembers you.”
You are selling an experience, not just a product
Physical retail stores demand an experience beyond the product itself, so ROX recommends formulating a specific in-store experience tailored to your brand. From the moment you open your doors to the public, you are exposed to scrutiny and public perception; it is up to you to present a version of your brand that will get people talking (for all the right reasons).
As we all know, online shopping has undeniably become the norm for shoppers. To entice customers away from the screens, you must make it worthwhile for them to come in to make a purchase. In-store shoppers are looking for a human connection, so providing compelling customer service must go beyond just the act of selling. It’s not just about the warm welcome anymore. It’s about understanding what the customer needs as soon as they walk through the door, whether it’s more hands-on consultation or a more relaxed atmosphere where they feel in control.
Retailers can achieve this through relatively simple measures. Whether through one to one in-store and personal shopper options or impeccable customer service. Through creating a memorable experience, you will increase your proportion of repeat customers which over time will generate customer loyalty and positive word of mouth.
“Our mission at ROX has always been to create a truly memorable shopping experience. The value and charm of purchasing a piece of jewellery or a luxury timepiece are undeniable. Jewellery shopping should reflect the monumentality of what you’re buying, whether it’s a diamond engagement ring, wedding bands or a simpler silver piece.”
Have a strong marketing plan
There are several ways to market your store and covering multiple touchpoints is essential. A solid marketing plan is incredibly important, and there are reams of activities that will support the launch of a new store.
Investing in advertising on multiple platforms will help ensure your content reaches more people, you can try paid adverts in local regional media outlets (both print and digital), radio or even TV adverts, should your budget allow it.
You might also want to consider hosting a launch event: this would be the ideal time to showcase your brand and introduce your vision to a target audience. Plus, it’s a great way to gain some press coverage, which will contribute to your overall brand awareness. You can invite journalists to visit and experience the store, as well as publicise the grand opening by inviting relevant celebrities.
Having a good PR strategy set in motion for your new store opening will be a great opportunity to generate positive media coverage and word-of-mouth buzz. Consider creating campaigns that will bring customers to the store and increase your online presence too. Furthermore, email marketing allows you to maintain and maximise your customer relationships – you can encourage in-store customers to sign up for emails, offer email receipts, and have different email-exclusive promotions.
You should also think about offering in-store offers and discounts. You can get people interested in your products and services by holding a prize draw. Besides shouting about what you do, it also gives you the opportunity to build your customer marketing database.
Leverage social media to help you build a reputation pre-launch
Social media is the most common way in which your clients will discover your brand and product. Study the different social media platforms and features they have to offer, as well as what content works best for each platform.
On Facebook, videos work better than images so consider posting marketing videos, product videos, presentations or live videos. Twitter is mainly used for keeping up with news so focus on posting news or updates about your industry, business, products or events.
Instagram is a more visual platform so sharing good-quality visuals would be most important, along with staying active on Instagram Stories. It’s all about creating a mix of good quality content, that is visually appealing but also brings value to your audience. For example, along with stunning product images, ROX often features style guides on their Instagram account, while on Twitter they share more industry related news.
Promote your store opening with a branded hashtag and use local, trending hashtags. Branded hashtags can help you build recognition, while using existing hashtags can help you jump in on conversations that are already happening.
Influencer marketing can also be a very effective tool for reaching your marketing goals, if done correctly. Follower count isn’t everything when it comes to influencers. It’s better to consider engagement rate when determining whether or not to partner with an influencer.
Ensure your in-store staff share the same vision of customer service
Value consensus amongst your staff team is crucial in establishing a professional, healthy working environment as well as forming a positive customer experience – not only this, but it will create a great workplace culture, which customers will sense when they’re in-store.
You will see your sales skyrocket by providing a personalised shopping experience rooted in patience, empathy and understanding. Beyond this, equip your in-store staff with a toolkit of knowledge so they can effectively sell your service or product. Staff who can answer detailed questions about functions, features, designs, and new releases will generate a ‘wow factor’ from customers.
“Customers are more likely to trust a brand that exceeds their expectations every single time. At ROX, we are set on taking the customer on an unforgettable journey designed to thrill, excite and inspire. Jewellery shopping should be an experience like no other and should reflect the value of the precious items you’re purchasing.”
Seek advice from other entrepreneurs
No matter how advanced you are within your field, there is always room for growth. There is no shame in seeking advice from others who have embarked on a similar business path to you. Through discussion of shared challenges and successes, both parties can lead to greater success. So, make sure you attend networking events and don’t be afraid to reach out for advice.