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Is In-Store Shopper Experience Delivering Your Brand’s Promise?

Many retailer ads are great at conveying what their brand is about and setting consumer expectations. But oftentimes, this doesn’t carry over to the actual shopper experience.  All that investment on a great ad with beautiful visuals– and the best mix of media spend– doesn’t always play out as shoppers hope, in-store.

Here’s some examples of ads I’ve seen recently that sparked my interest to investigate the in-store experience.   I went searching for the same excitement, sentiment and most of all, consistent brand promise that I’d seen on TV.

Here’s what I found…

Retailer Example #1: Target 

I recall first seeing this ad earlier this year, during award shows.  I anxiously awaited the release of the Prabal Gurung collection at Target stores in early February.  Given the high fashion designer name, I decided to seek it out at Chicago’s City Target on State Street (I previously mentioned that City Target here).

Wow… what a let down from Target on this one.  Here’s what I saw when I finally found the the Prabal Gurung section…

Prabal Gurung at Chicago City Target

I was disappointed by the lack of in-store promotion around the clothing.  It was mixed in with everything else and unless I looked closely, I would not have noticed that it was the Prabal Gurung collection.  It did NOT make me feel…Chic, Stylish, Romantic, or Breathtaking.  Just underwhelmed.

More importantly, I was not very inclined to buy since it did not seem…well, for lack of a better word…special (like in the TV ad).

…unlike the spectacular celebrity-infused New York launch party – which is what I was hoping to get a hint of at my City Target…

NYC Prabal Gurung Launch Party

Target really missed the opportunity to infuse some of the launch party ideas, in-store.  I realize that it can be investment, but if you live outside of NYC, it was difficult to find and/or distinguish this line from other clothing in the store.

Yet Target does a great job of delivering the experience of “Spring is near” — I’m hopeful as I write this post, ice pellets hitting my window in Chicago — with this fun, lighthearted TV ad…

Spring is definitely all over Target now, especially since Valentine’s Day is over and Easter comes early this year (March 31).  Target knows how to hit us at the right time to begin to think of the next season.

Target - Spring

Retailer Example #2: Crate & Barrel 

This ad from Crate & Barrel first aired in early Fall 2012. — and every season/holiday it’s reprised to touch upon current gathering moments and emotions.  This ad — with the renowned Crate & Barrel Helvetica font and a catchy song — makes you want to invite friends over for dinner and toast up S’mores in the fireplace.

And when I went into Crate & Barrel’s retail space, with this party in mind, I immediately saw interesting place settings, cocktail glassware, and other items for hosting a fun get-together.

C&B gets my gold star of approval for carrying their advertising message into the store; effectively providing a consistent shopper experience.

Crate & Barrel Chicago

The bottom line is…don’t be confusing…be CONSISTENT.  Make sure your brand message translates seamlessly across customer touch points — in-store and out. Today’s busy shopper expects a hassle-free experience — they don’t want to think too much or search too far for their desired merchandise.  Make it easy for them and set yourself apart from your competitors.

Can you think of retailers that do (or don’t do) a stellar job of translating their message to the in-store experience?  I’d love to hear from you.


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