Are Concept Stores Keeping Physical Stores Alive?

by Ed Smith, Freelance writer. 

It’s no secret that physical high street stores are struggling to survive. As online shopping continues to rise, the number of physical stores being closed down is also growing at an alarming rate. This has led to a lot of concern over how long physical stores can last in this new digital era.

However, major businesses around the world are finding clever ways to save their physical stores. High street stores are now being adapted into concept stores and they appear to be doing well. So, are concept stores the secret to keeping physical stores alive?

What is a concept store?

A concept store is based around providing a unique shopping experience. They provide a range of different products, alongside entertainment opportunities. For example, as well as stocking products, these stores will also incorporate cafes and virtual reality experiences. They offer so much more than a standard shopping experience.

They have started to be developed in a bid to save the high street store. Statistics show that one if every five pounds that is spent, is spent online. This has had a significant impact on bricks and mortar stores across the country. The concept store is being hailed as the saviour for physical stores, changing the shopping experience to match modern consumer demands.  

How can brands create successful concept stores?

Brands who want to continue thriving offline will need to adapt to the concept store offering. However, there’s definitely challenges associated with the development of concept stores.

The key challenge is ensuring it doesn’t actually feel like a store. It should focus more on consumer experiences than products. For example, a home interior décor company could launch a concept store which is laid out in the style of a home. The products can then be displayed as they might look in a home environment.

Another successful factor of running a concept store is making sure the products change frequently. This keeps customers coming back and provides a more exclusive feel.

Examples of big brand concept stores

While concept stores can be challenging to develop, inspiration can be found from some of the major global brands. Popular fashion brand Belstaff has launched several concept stores recently. They include stores in Glasgow, Munich and most recently, Regent Street in London.

DW Fitness has also successfully launched into the concept store sector. After acquiring over 60 gyms from Fitness First, the company introduced pop-up gym sessions and run labs in some of its stores.

These are just a couple of examples of major brands that have successfully launched into the concept store sector. Although they do require a lot of innovation, concept stores do have the potential to save physical stores across the globe.

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