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How does the rise of the multi-brand affect the customer experience?

Posted 03 May Allan Gallop

Following an interesting analysis from Retail Week, without doubt, there is still a significant strain on high street retailers and at retail parks. Since the rise of etailers, it has become essential for big brands to solidify their place in the market with new innovative ideas.

Over the years, we have seen technology as a key driver instigating change in Retail. Cue a host of innovative technology: digital signage – menu boards, 4K (Ultra HD) video walls, click-and-collect kiosks, smart watches and tablets for staff members, all designed to rival convenience of an online purchase. Technology has changed the customer experience and early adopters of this will be in full swing. Now it’s time to tackle the next section of the audience, by adding more value to their purchase experience.

The multi-brand concept is not new to the industry. Traditionally we think of a large conglomerate owning multiple brands who don’t sell directly to the end user. Companies such as Unilever and Mars who own multiple brands within the same category who generally sell through distributors rather than direct to the customer. Now, there has been a shift in this concept where you see the likes of Sainsbury’s owning multiple brands such as Habitat and Argos and Dixons Carphone with their ‘three-in-one’ strategy – merging Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse stores. Whilst these brands will occasionally find themselves in direct competition, the added value concept that Sainsbury’s and Dixons Carphone have put together is now being replicated.

This focus on the multi-brand ultimately is because of declining sales and retail estate pressures. Therefore, by housing the likes of Habitat and Argos in store, Sainsbury’s can make a significant saving, likewise for Dixons Carphone. This shift also encourages shoppers to divert their trollies and increases the likelihood of an added purchase.

Sainsbury’s and Dixons Carphone aren’t the only brand to take this approach, as we see the likes of Tesco adding more concessions to its offering in larger stores, such as Holland & Barrett. Arcadia are also aware that they have massive stores with decreasing footfall and need to realign themselves in the marketplace accordingly.

Whilst this does raise a red flag over retail real estate in both the high street and retail parks, this is an innovative new direction retailers will be adopting to compete against online sales. Only time will tell how this will impact sales, but is definitely an area to watch.In terms of customer experience, combined with new technology, it enables customers to do more in one trip. Enhancing the chance of multiple purchases both planned and spontaneous, it will enable a customer to focus on their experience of convenience aided by technology.


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