originally uploaded by Anthro_Creative.
When you think 'retail innovation,' what comes to mind? I immediately think of Urban Outfitters. I routinely refer to them in presentations about the retail experience and strongly encourage retailers to spend time visiting any of their stores - Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Leifsdottir, Terrain... - for inspiration.
Inspiration of all sorts. In terms of how to create a retail experience within a store, how to be truly customer-centric, and how to celebrate events both locally and nationally.
[Note: Imagine having a store concept so engaging that photos of your windows get posted and viewed online.]
Urban Outfitters' CEO, Glen Senk, intends to "cap growth for each division at approximately 250 stores... rather than saturate the market with cookie-cutter stores." Additional expansion would result from new retail concepts instead.
[Another PSFK article - Urban Outfitters gives artists a window for a message - further describes the company's commitment to creativity and community.]
This Fast Company interview with Melinda Davis and Glen Senk: Do You Offer Your Customers What They Really Want? further puts Urban Outfitters into perspective. Senk considers his organization 'customer experts' rather than 'category experts.' What a major difference. He refers to his stores as offering a sensorial experience and telling a story. His stores are like a community where people come to connect.
Stores are places where people come to connect.
Wow! I consider that not only inspiring, but really unusual. Imagine if flooring stores became customer experts rather than flooring experts. If people came to connect in these flooring customer stores, how would that look?
For additional perspective on CEO Glen Senk, read Vignette on Urban Outfitters' CEO Glen Senk from Effortless Anthropologie; 1stdibs Introspective - Style Compass on Glen Senk and Keith Johnson; and from Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni, No Advertising... and Thriving, Retail Style.
For historic perspective on Urban Outfitters, read Forbes' Urban Cowboy by Heidi Brown from 11.01.04; it refers to Glen Senk's appointment as CEO. Finally, Metropolis Magazine published "A Stitch in Time" in the May 2007 issue describing the company's new headquarters in Philadelphia's decommissioned navy yard.
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