If you go down to the shops today, you’re sure of a big surprise. Look along the high street, and you might see some amazing new retail propositions. Let me highlight a recent new proposition, ArkHive®, the identity shop from one of our oldest and most loved retailers, Timpson. Oldest? They do not come much older than established 1865. Most loved? A regular top 10 in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For.
New kid on the block
Let’s take a look at ArkHive, from the outside in. Let’s see what it says about the high street, and a reappraisal of bricks and clicks combined.
From the kerbside in, we can work out some of the driving forces behind ArkHive. A large retail estate, over 1400 shops, to defend and develop. Timpson’s photo subsidiaries Snappy Snaps! and Max Spielmann were both facing a ‘PESTLE’ problem with a capital P, but have turned it into an opportunity.
Politics. The state is driving more of us to transact online. For this, millions of us will need to verify our identity. Timpson must be keeping a close eye on this. ArkHive seems like a good place for them to explore what services people are going to need, related to access and identity.
ArkHive does what it says on the door.
An identity store.
Economic reasons are also forcing a rethink in having a retail presence. Local shopping for local folk has made a surprising comeback. Austerity has led us to shop locally, on foot and more frequently. Circumstances now favour the brave.
Old and new brands making a move
And Timpson is not alone. Some of the newest and brightest brands are back into bricks, with creative retail propositions. Virgin Money is investing £3m a year to create home comfort Lounges, intended to drive up customer advocacy and drive down the cost and risk of acquisition marketing.
How to create retail breakthroughs
Here is my take, on what retail propositions like ArkHive remind us of:
- Think where customers are heading, get there before the others – and own it.
- Design a great experience (place, process, and people) and execute it brilliantly.
- Make all channels work from the start, without bias and not as an afterthought.
- Build trust from doing one thing well, say what you mean and do what you say.
Time for bold retail propositions
All of this means that the high street is ready for some bold retail propositions, and thank you ArkHive for showing us that a 150-year-old Timpson can be as innovative as any of the newer, edgier challenger brands.
Welcome ArkHive, the identity shop by Timpson.
If you go down to the shops today, you’d better not go in disguise.