The Future Of Retail Is In This Store


Forbes | May 17, 2021


The key question facing retailers right now: what’s the future of retail stores and do we need them at all? Ben Kaufman, the founder of a retailer called “Camp,” the five-store retailer opened in 2019 addresses this question head on.


Retailers have to “event-ize” their stores, “it’s got to be something to do, it’s not a chore ... [it’s an] activity, a way to ... have fun with friends and family ... a place to watch a show or let some energy out.” It’s not about stuff, he says, it’s about activity.


Camp stores are focused on families and have products and activities for kids on their own and with their parents. Changing events gives families a reason to keep coming back, both in-store and virtually. The data indicate the strategy is working. In a recent survey of their customers, Camp found that 57% of customers come once a month or more, 25% come more than once a month and 16% come once a week or more.


Camp also sells sponsorships to corporations that relate to its activities and products. That has given branding and marketing opportunities to large companies like Kroger, Scotts, Ally Bank and others in an environment where they can stand out, and it gives Camp an additional stream of revenue.


Selling products, for children or anyone, means you have to make it interesting for consumers to come to your store or website. If Camp can expand successfully to multiple cities, it raises a challenge to almost every other retailer: how can we create a unique way to bring customers into our stores that makes it entertaining and fun for them? Camp is presenting one path that, although it is complex, it works and retailers who can do it will move into the future successfully.


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