The Best Ways to Brand a Retail Culture
Retail culture is a solid way to differentiate businesses in the marketplace. It’s the kind of “je ne sais quoi” that makes a business different from the rest. Retail culture comes in many forms, ranging from company values to workplace attire. Businesses also aim to differentiate themselves as smart, cool or interesting places to work. Companies such as Apple, Google, Starbucks and Nordstrom do it – and your business can too, no matter how large or small.
Companies such as Nordstrom and Starbucks strive to make the customer the most important part of the retail equation. These retailers work hard to institute a positive shopping experience coupled with easy return policies (in the case of Starbucks, they’ll remake your coffee for free if you’re unhappy). Because these principles are such a staple of any business retail culture, it’s important to make your customers aware of their importance to your business. Instituting a customer rewards program, an easy return policy and exemplary customer service is a solid way to brand your retail culture as a customer-focused establishment dedicated to a superior shopping experience.
Workplace attire is a gateway into your retail culture and how your business is perceived from the view of customers and employees. A retail culture can be branded through the formality or casualness of your required workplace attire. Jeans and a sweatshirt imply a casual atmosphere, while a suit and tie can establish formal traditionalism. You also can literally brand your workplace attire by having workers wear some sort of uniform.
Many would argue there’s something positively “cool” about working at Apple or Amazon. These retailers have done a solid job at branding themselves as the "it" place to work in a no-nonsense way. If your company wants to brand its retail culture as a cool place to work, start by assessing your employee policies and perks, including job titles. Apple is heralded for its job titles ranging from “Mac Genius” to “Expert.” These job titles are "cool" right off the bat, while lending a sense of ownership and respect -- a quality that can also help retain employees for the long haul. Amazon allows dogs at work and gives free bus passes to its employees -- qualities that work together to establish the “cool factor” of the retailer. Think of your employee policies, perks and titles. If they are ordinary and passe, revise and rebrand to further the "cool factor" of your retail culture.
A customer’s shopping experience should be an extension of your retail culture. Smart retailers know the imperceptible qualities of a store can transcend into sound, sight, touch, smell and taste. When branding your retail culture, think of how your store can fully encompass its core values through the five senses. A retail sales floor is the prime environment to engage the customer through the senses to create a desired experience ranging from a calm, serene environment to a vibrant and energetic scene. You can set the stage by positioning each quality onto the sales floor to further the branding of your retail culture.