In 2019, Landmark Group’s Centrepoint announced the launch of its ‘store of the future’ marking a significant step forward in the company’s customer-centric omnichannel strategy. Equipped with open and clear walkways with digital interfaces and LED screens, mobile cashiers to enable faster and easier checkouts, an exclusive mother and baby room, and even dedicated on-call personal stylists within the stores, it seemed like the revival of the retailer to cater to its new generation of more demanding customers. Home to some of the leading homegrown brands including Babyshop, Shoe Mart, Lifestyle, Centrepoint continues to push forward and experiment with strategies to ultimately be where its customers want it to be.
“We opened 13 stores in the last 12 months. We have not just blindly added space, but have also worked towards creating a whole new experience at Centrepoint stores,” said Simon Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Group.
The new Centrepoint stores are a lot more open, a lot less congested, and very fastidious, which helps in driving convenient shopping journeys for customers. By integrating all its flagship brands under one roof, Centrepoint is reaping huge benefits by means of larger basket sizes and enabling customers to cross-shop experience, which has resulted in an increase in traffic by 25%-30%.
The brand has focused on optimising its physical retail space while using technology to improve shopping experiences. Having over a thousand screens in the stores has helped customers navigate through different sections and products and the introduction of the self-checkout aisle, which is now used by 10% of its consumers has helped increase productivity.
While the past year saw many retailers closing stores and downsizing, Centrepoint managed to strategically increase the number of stores during the pandemic. On one hand, the retailer leveraged data and market research to open stores and on the other they reduced the size of various other stores to comfortably suit the hyper-regional demands and maintain revenue generation.
“Before we even go in to open a store, we do a lot of analytical work, to understand what size and what footprint we need in a particular location. I’m always looking for a level of productivity in each location, which can deliver the profitability we need,” he said.
The number and size of stores do not always translate into sales but it does give an indication of the productivity achieved in the store. For instance, the retailer downsized its store in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, and by doing that, they were able to continue making the same revenue for half the store size.
“A few years ago, brands focused on status, size, and credibility. As of right now, it’s about the productivity of each store placed in a convenient location and its accessibility for the customer,” he added.
Centrepoint have also been capitalizing on click-and-collect, which accounts for 30% of the business today. “We’ve got six and half million sqft. of retail space and we service about 270 million customers online. One of our biggest opportunities today is real estate, because it’s driving nearly 30% of our business with click-and-collect in-stores.”
The retailer is galvanising its online platform to guide customers in to its stores. This has had an additional 20%-25% conversion rate when customers shop in-store. The company also tackles the issue of returns by having customers visit the stores to return the product, and therefore having a single point of control, making the process superfluous.
Self-checkout and RFID integration has also been received well by the convenience-preferring customers.
“Customers are looking for convenience, and when you’re walking through a big Centrepoint store, self-checkout proves to be a convenient option. The use of handheld devices by our store staff where they’re being able to personalise the connection with our customers and order the product online using these devices in the shop and also pay for transactions in-store was another welcome change we introduced.”
The personal interaction with customers and understanding their individual needs and requirements facilitated by access to data has helped Centrepoint achieve its personalization goals. Landmark Group has the advantage of having the most extensive loyalty program in the region, Shukran, which helps in the process of personalization. The group’s refreshed omnichannel strategy seeks to blend the best of online and offline shopping solutions to create a truly immersive retail experience for customers, and prioritizes customer convenience.
Words by Farimah Moeini, Snapchat Head of Industry – Retail and Travel TheJuly 5, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau
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