Whether shopping in store or online, omni-channel retail aims to provide customers with seamless retail experiences. As it’s popularity begins to grow, customers are beginning to raise their standards to expect more from a single shopping trip. 

In response to this, retailers with complimentary offerings are beginning to form partnerships. These partnerships aim to increase order values, time spent in store and conversion rates for the partnering businesses. One savvy approach to forming these partnerships and increasing footfall is through the use of retail concessions.

What are Retail Concessions? 

Retail concessions are businesses or stores that operate within another businesses premises e.g a store within a store. An example of a retail concession would be a department store. The department store is owned by one business but is home to many brands, each of these brands and the spaces they have within the department store are known as concessions. 

What do the retailers think? 

Retail concessions aren’t anything new and have long been the domain of department stores. But there is a new push of retail concessions from well known high street brands. More high street brands are looking into concessions to offer their customers more. 

Unlike a number of UK rivals, Quiz is continuing to open new stores amidst the huge rise in online shopping. “Stores and concessions in the UK continue to play an important part in our strategy to expand Quiz by driving sales, building awareness and showcasing the brand. Our stores not only showcase the brand and the product, but as a true omnichannel business model, the customer can shop in a way that suits them whether that’s online, in-store or via concessions,” comments Ramzan. 
 
He says the retailer believes a shop should be more than just the products it sells – it should engage the customer. “When we design our stores, we ensure that they are visually engaging so the customer wants to spend time there.” - Sherez Ramzan - Quiz 
 
House of Fraser have signed a deal with tech firm Popertee to launch a new localised concession scheme in some of its UK stores. The aim of this deal is make use of  ‘dead’ space by offering retail start-ups pop-up concessions where they can launch their brands and products.  

Lucinda Kelly, founder and CEO of Popertee, said: “The retail sector is currently at a crossroads, where technology and changing consumer habits are forcing profound change across the board. This kind of experiential offer back can help drive footfall and retain spend. Using analytics to track and measure engagement will become part and parcel of the physical retail environment over the next few years.”
 
House of Fraser said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for House of Fraser to trial a series of pop-ups, and to present its customers with new brands and experiences on a regular basis across key stores.”

Examples of retail concessions 

Vashi - Westfield 

Britain based luxury jewellery brand, Vashi opened their third retail outlet in London's Westfield shopping centre. Based in the heart of the shopping centre’s Luxury Village their new open plan concession store provides customers with a personal hands on experience. 

Two private consultation rooms surround the central diamond bar where customers can view the diamonds on display. The lab is the heart of the store, where customers can see Vashi’s master jewellers at work. This concession store fits perfectly within Westfield and breaks the mold for Vashi as its their first concession store. 

Sainsburys - Habitat 

Sainsburys are the second largest chain of supermarkets in the UK and have turned to retail concessions to help support their multi-channel growth strategy. Habitat the UK furniture retailer have rolled out 10 concession stores that feature within Sainsburys stores across the country. 

The stores known as ‘Mini Habitat Stores’ showcase a range of over 600 products including furniture, lighting, homewares and textiles to customers. Further products from Habitat’s product range can be viewed in-store through digital screens and iPads. 

Managing director of Habitat, Clare Askem said:  “We’ve learnt lots of lessons from our six trial Mini stores in Sainsbury’s this year and these have been addressed in our upcoming store openings. We’ve refined our product range based on customer feedback, while our in-store visual merchandising and service proposition has been adapted to what customers want on a ‘weekly shop’ basis.”

“Our customers increasingly want choice, flexibility and speed and we are evolving the brand into a truly multi-channel business that allows customers to shop how and when they want – be that online, in-store or a combination of the two.”

What can we learn? 

Although retail concessions sound fairly straightforward.  There are any factors which businesses consider when looking into retail concessions and whether they could work for them including:

Location: Both the location of the concession store and the host store need to be considered. Choosing a busy host store, in a popular central location will benefit both businesses more than it would in a quieter local host store. The location of the concession within store also needs to be considered to ensure it stands out and attracts customer attention at the right stage of their shopping journey. 

Design: Creative store design is what makes concessions stand out in busy shopping environments such as department stores and shopping centres. Within these busy environments space can be limited using striking graphics, innovative lighting and clever displays can help concession brands stand out in smaller retail spaces. 

Lighting: Although it's sometimes overlooked, lighting has a huge affect on how customers feel within a store. Integrated lighting helps make the most of space and graphic lighting such as LED lightboxes combine lighting and promotional displays together. So deciding what kind of lighting will work and what atmosphere wants to be created within the store is all part of the design process. Find out more about our retail solutions here. 

Products and product display: Customers visit concession stores to view a range of products on offer. They visit want to be engaged by what they see and to be influenced to browse the store further. Just as the products that are on display need to be considered. They way in which they are displayed matter too. Modular displays work for both aesthetic and reconfigurable purposes by allowing the retailer to redesign the display layout and maximise space. Find out more about our retail displays systems here. 

Exclusivity: Concession stores need to have a air of exclusivity. Offering customers something that they can’t get elsewhere will drive sales. Customers like to feel appreciated so offering exclusive products, offers and freebies will increase brand awareness and encourage shoppers to visit the store. 

Here at Unibox, we bring design concepts to life. We collaborate with retailers and designers to create eye catching retail displays and spaces that drive traffic and sell products all year round. For more information or advice on how to create an effective retail space, get in touch.