Traditional retail experiences are evolving. Evolving alongside them is the degree of accuracy and specificity that consumers have come to expect when finding and engaging with business locations, from online search to offline visit.
What is a store within a store?
A store within a store occurs when a retailer or venue rents a section of its space to another company, allowing that company to run an independent shop on its property. A common example is a clothing store within a mall, or an ice cream stand at a sports stadium.
Not long ago, shoppers accepted that walking directions to that mall clothing store would only take them as far as the mall's front doors — they knew they'd have to look for a directory sign once inside. They would willingly hunt amidst the clothing racks and fragrance stands for their favourite department store bakery, and ride several escalators before finding the coffee counter in a chain bookstore. But today, both businesses and consumers increasingly recognise these kinds of sublocations as stores within stores — locations within locations, often within broader locations still — each deserving of its own public-facing information to help people find it more easily.
Familiar retail concept, new approach.
Stores within stores. Places within places. Shop-in-shop. Hybrid places. Nestled locations. It goes by many names, and while the concept itself isn't new, retailers in recent years have begun experimenting with it more and more — taking the trend to a whole new level. And digital marketers are now beginning to tap into the rich potential of stores within stores to help drive more foot traffic from online search channels, and to deliver unique in-person customer experiences.
The challenges of marketing a store within a store.
Today, consumers simply expect that the answers they see in search results will relate to their positioning and context in the physical world. A student seated on a university lawn searching for "latte near me" is likely hoping for directions to the nearest campus cafe, or to find out if the library coffee cart is still open — and not for directions to the famous bakery fifteen blocks away from campus.
75% of local mobile searches result in an offline business visit within a day (with nearly 30% of those visits resulting in a purchase), so it's extremely important that businesses of every kind make it simple for searching customers to find the specific place they're looking for — not just the general area. This means maintaining accurate and consistent information for the many stores and locations within your business venue — be it something as encompassing as an airport or convention centre, or as finite as a shoe store.
It all starts with accurate — and specific — data.
What hours does your store within a store operate? Are they the same hours as the parent store or property? What are its specific geocoordinates? What is the kiosk's or shop's official name? Does it have its own phone number? Its own menu? Update and maintain accurate business facts and attributes for everything from opening hours to special events, and implement a consumer review strategy which includes brand, product, and location reviews right down to the individual location level.
Supply as much information about each store within a store as possible to the many search engines, maps, apps, voice assistants, and directories that consumers use every day to search. Some publishers like Yelp and Facebook even make it possible to establish nestled relationships between business entities. So if customers want to find the drone guy in your mall (or perhaps they're trying to avoid him), they'll know exactly where to go.
Want to learn more about the different ways major brands are using stores within stores to improve the customer experience?Watch New Locations: Making Space for the Hybrid Place.