August 2011 - To Open or Not to Open?
As retail consultants at Retail Concepts and avid shoppers, we wanted to respond to your blog post in the NYTimes. To jump right into it, the most important thing to remember is that retailing is an "all in" game. If TerraCycle tests a retail venture in a rent free location, they will not get the perfect match for the concept nor reach their target customers that the ideal location would provide. By simply testing and feeling out a temporary location (pop-up), it can be assumed that investments in the proper amount of branding, design, and merchandising have not been taken. Such things are absolute necessities to create the ideal experience that is so much a part of successful retailing. Additionally, there may not be the commitment to staffing and training employees if the shop is perceived as simply temporary.
The subliminal message consumers are receiving is, "TerraCycle does not yet believe in this enough to do it right" which consequently translates to the consumers lack of trust and the failure of the retail location. In the current difficult economic climate all purchased related activities must be "justified and validated" for consumers of all economic levels. For retailers, this means stores must be great in all aspects so consumers are confident in their purchase. Such things require the highest levels of commitment, planning and implementation.
TerraCycle is a superior concept operating in a very desirable category at the very right time. The ideas for the store are both excellent and innovative. We believe if you "went for it" as the full package TerraCycle is, TerraCycle would become a true success. By working with experienced retail professionals (like us) to create a plan that would demonstrate competitive advantages and lead to a properly designed experience, TerraCycle would see what customers would see and how they would thus respond with their wallets. If done to the fullest like Lululemon, American Girl or The Apple Store, TerraCycle has the opportunity to succeed at record breaking levels.
We see incredible promise with TerraCycle and hope you do not give up the retail battle.
All the best,
The Retail Concepts Team