This is a follow-up to the blog titled “Why relevance is critical” and it sets out to convey how both retailers and brands can remodel their retail environments and displays without significant investment in order to maintain customer relevancy.

Creating a compelling and immersive in-store experience every time a customer interacts with your brand is critical to building an emotional connection. It is this emotional connection that ultimately builds brand loyalty and keeps the customer coming back time after time. To establish and maintain this emotional connection, it is imperative that the brand “pays it forward” and by this I mean it always provides something of value. To achieve this, the brand needs to continually contribute value to the customer and to do this in a way that is as relevant for each single visit.

Clearly, the changing retail landscape no longer allows brands to stand still. The only way to ensure continued customer engagement is to constantly refresh the retail experience in order to maintain interest, build knowledge, achieve immersion and ultimately solve customer needs.

Introduction to the FLEXstore concept

Two leading companies in the retail fixturing and Point of Purchase industry, LG&P and LeanPie, have collectively developed a new concept called FLEXstore with the aim to help both retailers and brands address this challenge of customer relevancy. It is based on transforming the traditional approach of remodelling a retail experience to one that is based on refreshing the experience on a more continuous and dynamic basis. The benefits to this change is that there is a significantly lower cost, a quicker time to deploy, reduced disruption and it can be undertaken on a far more frequent basis.

The basic principle is that there are standard merchandising and display units that can be overlaid and clad with highly flexible add-ons that transform the look, feel and experience delivery of the overall display. The standard units focus on maximising shelf inventory and ease of dispensing whereas the add-ons focus on creating the brand theatre and providing the customer with the experience they are seeking. It is these add-ons that improve the level of connection with the customer as they invite engagement through information, demonstration and interactivity.

In addition, refreshing a store display will not only enhance the emotional connection with a product category or brand but it can also be used to introduce seasonal and festival themes, that enhance the overall store experience. It is this combination that ensures that both the retailer and the individual brands can work together to create the most compelling experience possible. One that ensures your loyal customer will come back again and again.

How FLEXstore transforms retail

The FLEXstore concept provides a real upside for retailers and brands as new more frequent, relevant and differentiated experiences can be created to enhance the in-store experience. All this is achieved at a fraction of the cost of a traditional remodelling programme.

Key characteristics

  1. More dynamic refresh schedule – Shopping behaviours are changing very quickly and sustaining interest and relevancy in retail display has not kept pace with customer expectation. The FLEXstore concept can be deployed to significantly increase the update schedule.
  2. Minimise out of stocks – By continuing to use the standard display units you ensure that you maintain the most efficient stock inventory and dispensing system for the display, whilst still being able to transform the overall experience through the add-ons.
  3. Improved speed to shelf – It is easier to introduce new categories and products into the retail environment as it only requires new cladding to be introduced. This enables an improved speed to shelf.
  4. Displays become easier to shop – The add-ons provide an opportunity to better connect and engage with customers and to more precisely convey the information they require to make the right buying decision. This reflects the level of information and support that shoppers have in a digital world and which is now also quickly becoming an expectation in the world of bricks and mortar.
  5. Reduce display clutter – Displays can be overwhelming when there is so much choice and there is limited help provided to the shopper to understand the choices that are available. The FLEXstore concept helps the customer make the series of decisions required to find exactly the right product and in many ways acts as a virtual shop assistant.

Here are some examples that convey how the FLEXstore concept can be applied, but they are really just touching the surface. When you then add in the possibility of digital integration, the opportunity of creating a highly immersive but constantly refreshed in-store experience is significant.

  • Educational programs – Where you clad and re-merchandise the unit to help consumers understand how to use the product and what items need to go with what. This approach promotes co-selling in a highly beneficial way.
  • Upgrade programs – Where consumers are informed about how to upgrade from an existing product and why they should consider the decision to buy a product with enhanced capabilities.
  • Compare and contrast programs – Where consumers are able to compare and contrast different products side by side. This enables the differences between the products to be highlighted and it makes it easier for the customer to find the product that is absolutely right for them.
  • Trial programs – Where the consumer is able to test or try out a product, where safety and health issues are managed or where its application is demonstrated in a way that clearly conveys what the product can do.
  • Seasonal programs – Where there is a focus on products that are more applicable to specific seasons or times of the year. In many cases these would be climate or weather related themes.
  • Best seller programs – Where consumers understand the popularity of the products through ratings and customer endorsements. This very much brings a key foundation of online shopping and delivers it within a bricks and mortar environment.

When retailers and brands successfully execute on the FLEXstore concept, what you create is a compelling in-store experience, every time that a customer visits the store. An experience that is built on immersive engagement, delivered through information sharing, demonstration and interactivity.

Key learnings

To take advantage of the FLEXstore concept, it is imperative that you are able to decouple the conceptual design process from the actual sourcing of the materials. The reason is that when a single supplier is responsible for both design and sourcing they will always seek to sell you more new fixtures rather than to find ways to maximise your return on previous investments.

Secondly, you need to establish base merchandising units that are flexible enough to be overlaid and clad with add-on units, that look joined up and fit for purpose.

If you would like more information on how LG&P and LeanPie can support you in the successful implementation of the FLEXstore concept, please feel free to contact David at LeanPie at david.newberry@leanpie.com

Author: Carlos Kassner

Industrial Designer by degree, with manufacturing blood and an engineer soul. Proud father and eager athlete.