At FiveStone, we believe design can change the world, and we work with organizations that think the same thing. This post is part of a series of case studies featuring some of the work we’re doing to help positive impact organizations tackle big challenges and build strong brands.
Legacy stores are facing new challenges as they try to engage new customers in a changing retail environment. A decades-old retail store came to FiveStone with just such a challenge. They had a committed legacy customer, but as that customer aged, sales were slowing. Meanwhile, the new generation of shopper was less likely to visit the store. To compound things, this retailer had a mission to serve the community through the storefront. Declining sales meant less community impact.
Addressing this challenge meant the chain needed to attract a new, younger customer to their stores to increase foot traffic. All of this while making sure their current customer didn’t feel left out.
To start, FiveStone toured client stores across the country and visited other types of retail stores for inspiration. Then we got to know the audience by conducting in-depth interviews and surveys with current customers and aspirational customers. We asked about their values, attitudes in shopping preferences, and daily habits and routines.
Through our research, we uncovered the specific needs and desires of each audience. In doing so, we learned that both current customers and aspirational customers shared a set of overlapping values that drove their shopping habits and routines. For example, while current customers tended to be more loyal to a specific set of stores, both current and emerging customers were generous in gifting to loved ones and supporting local and global causes, and highly valued community and connection with others.
This value set fit perfectly with some of the chains’ existing, but understated, values. FiveStone ideated on retail experiences that captured those values and helped fit the store into the daily routines of current and aspirational customers.
From store layout, services, partnerships, and product offering, all the way to the stores’ locations, FiveStone cast a vision for a new way for both current and aspirational audiences to engage with the store. This new vision converted the store from a place just to buy things into a destination.
This project was a great example of a few best practices for innovating to appeal to a new customer.
Find common ground.
It’s tough working with audiences who are puzzled by each others’ choice of jeans and rarely share a checkout line. So, get well-oriented in each audiences’ non-negotiables as well as their shared values. While they certainly will have some unique qualities, they may not be that different after all.
Be open to change.
The “way you’ve always done it” may not be the way of the future. In fact, when it comes to reaching new audiences, it’s probably not. Figure out what stays — the things that are fundamental to your brand — and what can evolve with the changing landscape.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Your solution may not be a single silver bullet, but is likely multifaceted to address audiences’ holistic brand experience. Be open to implementing solutions across the audience journey and pilot multiple possibilities for the challenge.