Pop on your skates for Christmas

There were two good pieces of retail research released this week. The Magna Global retail report and the closer to home emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) from Ipsos. The latter detailing its latest product insight report on Australian retail. Both give good insights into what is happening at an international macro and a national detailed level.

So what does emma have to say about how we Australians shop?

The emma research found that we Australians are a just like the rest of the OECD, a nation of shoppers, with three-quarters of us shopping online and almost one in 10 of us visiting a bricks and mortar stores in a shopping centre in any month. On average, we spend more than $1000 a month on consumer goods, with a simplistic split of 15% on grocery, 10% on clothing, 10% on home furnishings, 10% on electrical, 8% on gardening and  8% on IT products. The balance of 40% is, I guess, being spent on cars, out-of-home dining and entertainment, and our ever-increasing utility bills!  

Our key national retail brands were all named as being the most popular places for us, including the overarching Westfield brand above the big roofs of our big malls, with Bunnings, Big W, Kmart, Target and Officeworks cited as the most popular big stores.

So while this gives us a good big picture view of our big retail brand shopping habits, what about at the micro, small business end?

Well I don’t have any detailed research. However, my store and mall walks all point to shrinkage in owner-operated stores. There are more empty storefronts when I walk cities and towns in Australia. Gut feeling, as with any recessionary period, is that many smaller retailers just run out of puff, and cash, just before interest rates drop and shoppers start to spend. If that’s the case I would recommend trying a pop-up store in the run up to Christmas to try to get back into the market.

While in LA earlier this year, I came across the XCVI pop-up shop. A store tucked at the back of a Santa Monica mall in a low footfall area. These are the areas of a mall that lease for less and fail earliest. Unless there is a reason to go to the back of a store, or a mall, we don’t. We are lazy by nature.

Walking into the store all the fixtures were clean, white wood, collapsible and on wheels. I’ve shown a couple of photos below.

Now, I truly do love this store. It is a women’s clothing store, and you can tell that all the clothing and accessories have been bought and sourced by one buyer. A passionate and keen-eyed retailer. I was travelling with two women, who had shopped their way through the mainstream clothing stores, but who both, upon entering the store, were wooed by the layout, clothes and the outstanding service. And they bought more. It just felt like really ‘honest’ small retailing.

The honesty continued with the returns policy which said: ‘Because of the temporary nature of the pop-up shop, we will accept clothing items in unworn condition with all tags attached for a full refund with 24 hours of purchase. Within 30 days of purchase we will offer store credit/exchange on clothing items.’

As we run into our biggest selling period, a time when we will all comfortably exceed spending $1000 each month in November, December and January, it would be good to see previous retailers re-entering the market via pop-up stores. If you choose to set up a pop-up store, and because this clothing one worked using these fixtures, rather than reinvent the wheel and design your own, email me and I will send you through more photos to build from.

Good luck.

CROSSMARK CEO Kevin Moore looks at the world of retailing from grocery to pharmacy, bottle shops to car dealers, corner store to department stores.


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