Toy Kingdom, South Korea
Toy Kingdom, a specialty toy store concept from Shinsegae — the largest retailer in South Korea — boasts a store environment that is larger than life and highly experiential.
Designed by Chute Gerdeman, the store creates a vibrant and playful world, with a story line presented through a group of friends (imagined characters) that have very different personalities and forms, but all live together in the Toy Kingdom. Each character’s interests relate back to the store’s four primary product categories — imagination toys, ride-on toys, building toys, and smart toys — and bring the spirit of play to life for every child.
The primary design element is a special entrance that allows kids to enter the store through kid-sized tunnels, complete with interactive flooring. Each key zone within the store has a supporting interactive element where kids can play and escape with the brand. These key experiential touchpoints combine physical, analog, and digital elements that reinforce the immersive and transportive quality of the space.
Photo opportunities are strategically placed throughout the store to encourage word of mouth marketing as parents snap photos of their kids and share on social media.
Apple opening three new stores in March
Apple will be busy on March 25.
The company will open three new stores on that day, including a flagship at Brickell City Center, a new mixed-use development in downtown Miami. It will be Apple’s fifth location in the Miami area.
The new Miami store will have 13-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, and a forum space with an oversized video display, according to TechCrunch.
On March 25, Apple will also open a store in Cologne, Germany, and one in Nanjing, China.
RetailNext: Stores not dead but do need to be reinvented
Despite the growth of online shopping, brick and mortar stores are still critical to retail success.
“Retail stores are not dead,” said Shelley E. Kohan, VP of retail consulting at RetailNext Inc. “The retailers who continue to embrace change in their business models will be well positioned for today and in the future."
With digital shopping behaviors firmly established and store sales continuing to decline according to the company’s latest Retail Performance Pulse report, many brands in the United States are crippled with too many stores and too much space, according to Kohan. Consequently, “it's critical for stores to be reinvented in order to blend seamlessly with a brand's established digital touchpoints,” she explained.
Kohan cited the case of formerly online-only brands such as Amazon, Warby Parker, Bonobos and Rent the Runway that have opened brick-and-mortar stores in the last two years, resulting in profitability and low-cost customer acquisition.
"This is not a case of 'build it and they will come.' Instead of opening stores in areas where traffic needs to be driven, brands should invest in building out attractive stores in areas that already have high traffic,” Kohan advised. “Use the traffic-driving budget instead to deliver an exceptional in-store shopping experience and market toward shopper retention and loyalty.”
Also, the same actions toward addressing shopping trip abandonment online need to be applied in-store through customer service to eliminate friction points for the customer and achieve higher conversion rates.
“While each shopping touchpoint, digital or physical, has its inherent advantages, none will ever be able to do it all alone,” Kohan said. “The reinvention of stores to integrate with online platforms is essential to a brand's future success."