Another way brands are partnering today, and they have for many years, is through stores (brands) within stores (other brands).
The concept isn’t new by any means, but it is being deployed in new and interesting ways. Think of your Clinique counter in Sears or the Bay, or Canada Post within a Shopper’s Drug Mart – the model subsists because it provides a better brand experience for the customer when they have a more robust product offering that a dedicated brand could offer, instead of a single set of stamps or an individual face cream from a brand.
One of the most innovative new store-within- store concept has been a partnership between Indigo Chapters and Joel Teitelbaum’s new venture, iStore. Teitelbaum is a seasoned brand builder, having worked on La Senza for the better part of his career.
Sounds silly, but when someone is making a $200 or $300 purchase of an item you want them to have a stronger emotional response to the product.
The iStore is an Apple authorized reseller, allowing them to sell iPhones, tablets and computers. But more than that, they provide a fashionable look at the gear and tools that you can use with those devices.
“We don’t just have a bunch of headphones in blister packs under lock and key, we let people engage with these tools, test them out and feel their weight,” explained Teitelbaum, whose innovations within his retail locations found in airports in across North America and soon to a mall’s fashion area near you.
It includes putting up a mirror for someone to actually see what the headphones they’ll be buying look like on their head. “Sounds silly, but when someone is making a $200 or $300 purchase of an item you want them to have a stronger emotional response to the product – sight is a big part of that and if you go into a Best Buy, nothing against them, you don’t get that experience.”
The iStore’s 18 airport locations are buoyed by the opening of the brand’s first full retail experience in the Rockland Mall in Montreal, Quebec and another 37 locations found inside Indigo’s across the country.
“Whatever business you are in, delivering a customer experience that is superior to your competitors is going to drive your success,” explained Teitelbaum. “We’re always trying to gain and understand who is the ‘Average Customer,’ and you think, they are this or that.”
Teitelbaum brought in a marketing consultant to speak about demographics and asked him about who his targets are.
“He told me, Joel, your average consumer has one breast and one testicle.”
Before opening the iStore, he realized his average consumer may not be that tech savvy, they don’t mind spending a little more money but they have very little time – they are buying things that help them look great and to accomplish a specific test of tasks.
Today we have more appendages and needs, we have Fitbits and smartphones, tablets and podcasts, all of these accessories.
“Since the dawn of man there has been an industry for shoes, we’ve needed things to cover our feet. Today we have more appendages and needs, we have Fitbits and smartphones, tablets and podcasts, all of these accessories. At the same time when you go to Aldo you can’t see a pediatrist,” he said.
For Teitelbaum he knew that he couldn’t try to compete with Apple in the customer experience of servicing Apple products, so he’s geared his shops to be based on the product knowledge of his teams, the speed and familiarity that they can get in and out of the stores and the physical space he’s given to displaying the products.
“If you look at an Apple Store, what you see is 80 per cent at the front is dedicated to hardware and the 20 per cent at the back on the walls houses the accessories. In our stores, it is the opposite,” said Teitelbaum.
The experience you see within an Indigo mirrors this and it has given the iStore brand a powerful partner allowing it to reach millions of more consumers, some of them completely unaware that they were leaving the Indigo brand experience.