The firm that employed me until my retirement last year is set to open a new retail shop in our city in the next few weeks. Note the specifics of that sentence. ; ” in our city ” and “next few weeks “. These are established, as the premises are undergoing the shopfitting process right now. The opening date may be a bit fluid, but it will be within a month to start catching the Christmas trade.
What is less clear is whether the shop will be new in outlook as well. Photographic retail is undergoing difficult times now in respect of supply and demand. The first can be at the mercy of increasingly uncertain manufacturer’s supply lines and the second is dependant upon people’s confidence in their own futures. Of course we have just had the giant biennial trade show in Germany and have seen a number of wonderful toys displayed, but we also have the sobering thought that the goodies seen may not be actually on shelves for six months. That’s a worst case scenario ( or, being a German show, wurst case…). Will the shop be badly affected?
Will the customers who visit it expect the same pricing as they can see at discount warehouses? They haven’t gotten them at the main store, but I’ll bet that there are a number of the regulars who will show up at the door trying to compel the management to provide ” door opening specials ” or incentive pricing. They may be holding back from dealing with the main premises in the hope of this.
And there will be a number who arrive claiming co-sanguinity, co-religion, and companionship with the owners of the shop. You can view that as you wish…
Will the new shopper be more of a casual entry-level type? I initially thought this would be so, but a flood of encouraging emails that the shop received upon announcement of the new place leads me to believe it may turn out to be the opposite. There are a lot of photography enthusiasts who work in the city and who may have had difficulty getting out one suburb during business hours – the new shop will offer lunch-time and after-work trading.
We are always being bombarded by advisers telling us that internet shopping will replace the physical store. I, for one, don’t believe it. People still want to see and feel and they need to ask questions that cannot be answered in an email. If they are told about the new premises, and if the new premises can operate on an efficient basis, I’ll be willing to bet that they’ll go there and come away happy.