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Bringing the outdoors in: what can retailers learn from The North Face?


Why is The North Face the one to watch on high-street?

The North Face recently opened a new UK flagship store on London’s Regent Street which will pioneer new features for its customers as well as setting a framework for competing retailers.

The American retailer partnered with store design consultancy Green Room to create a new concept store layout which inspires a love of the great outdoors among shoppers.

The new layout, which will be implemented internationally, includes features such as sky windows that adapt to changing weather patterns, digital boards promoting broader The North Face activities and the use of living components.

The 400sq m space aims to mirror the natural world with large tree trunks that reach the sky windows and the creation of a space it has called a ‘progressive playground’.  The outdoor retailer strives to create more than just a place to shop with specific materials used to encourage the store’s visitors to touch, smell and see new things. The brand has further employed this concept and been successful internationally with the use of virtual reality devices. Shoppers were encouraged to try on The North Face garments and enter a virtual reality simulator which allowed them to visualise the usage of the products in a real outdoor environment.

Moreover, the store has been divided into sections entitled ‘live’, ‘train’ and ‘explore’ rather than according to product type alone and looks to promote enjoyment training and discovery for its customers.

A separate section of the store has also been allocated as a space for events, speeches from experts in the field as well as product launches. The retailer goes beyond its primary purpose and encourages shoppers to engage with the brand to a greater extent. While attending events, customers are likely to browse and purchase The North Face goods as part of their visit.

“Green Room has created a holistic view of our target consumer and developed an understanding of how they relate to our brand in retail. They have worked with us to create a dynamic space on Regent Street that answers this consumers’ needs and future aspirations” said Stephen Cherry, Senior Director Retail EMEA at The North Face.

Ultimately, it is evident that while looking to promote its products, the outerwear retailer is looking to provide an experience and sell a lifestyle. Like global giant Apple and more recently Hunter and Ted Baker, concept stores emphasize the idea that we are far from the death of the high-street. 

Published on Tuesday 10 November by Talya Misiri

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