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  • “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” - Scott Cook

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  • “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” - Seth Godin

    Seth Godin

23 September, 2014

Retail and leisure; nowadays mentioned as one sentence

The ‘stereotype shop’ at the entrance and exit of amusement parks and zoological gardens. Often a small and simple shop, filled with a lavish range of plush cuddly toys, key chains and other  small gifts. However, the role of retail in leisure environments changes. There is a shift from the ‘stereotype shop’ to ‘experience shops’ that really adds value. Because of all trends and developments the management of parks and museums should invest more in retail and catering. It is clear that a full retail concept (including the physical environment and the assortment) can tremendously contribute to the (desired) positioning, identity, values, experiences and the amount spent per visitor.

Who does not recognize this situation? Visit the souvenir shop to buy a souvenir after a visit to a park for yourself, for your child(ren), brother, nephew or niece. Retail and these souvenirs, the merchandise, have a lot of advantages for the leisure environments. It can be a promotional tool or serves as a reminder for the visitor, to relive the environment at home. Merchandising is recognizable, forms a unit, evokes memories and creates an experience. In extreme cases, it becomes a hobby to collect all merchandise products of a specific environment, character or brand.

Disney merchandising
Retail Disney merchandising originated in 1929 when Walt Disney was approached by a businessman who wanted to place an image of Mickey Mouse on the cover of a notebook. Meanwhile, Mickey Mouse is a popular character in any Disney Park that sells extremely well and is internationally recognizable. Once at people’s home, it becomes a reminder and partly re-creates the experience of the park. Besides retail in the Disney parks, Disney builds strong relationships with (Dutch and international) partners outside the park to strengthen – in meantime of multiple brands and associated characters – the positioning. The right branding for the right partner creates added value because brand experience is created in other places, the amount of fans may increase and due to this sales and profit raise. A good shelf position at these partners stores is essential. Examples of Disney’s partners are Albert Heijn (AH Disneyweken), Free Record Shop, Carrefour and Bart Smit.

Mickey merchandise
The Efteling and Toverland also manage retail (and catering) successfully. The Efteling opened several pop-up stores in some  large cities like Breda, Eindhoven, Batavia Stad and Maastricht. The Efteling brings their products and experience to people by the retail concept of pop-up stores. A pop-up store is a temporary store in an often temporary location. Efteling products, including products from the famous Sprookjesboom-, Raveleijn- and Pardoes line, are offered for sale at attractive prices. The shop is decorated with recognizable Efteling decoration and at various moments Efteling entertainment creates an extra experience. Every Efteling shop visitor can request a song to DJ Fee from Efteling Radio or make a picture with Fairytale Residents.

Temporary Efteling shop
In 2010, Toverland has replaced her shop of 50 square meters for a new store of 200 square meters and implemented the Arabic theme. This Bazaar stimulates all senses, through the Arabic music, the shiny objects and the smell of incense. The assortment has changed significantly. Besides the existing product categories, the assortment expanded with products such as oriental cushions, lamps and water pipes (for adults) and costumes (for children).

Ingang Bazaar Toverland - kopie

The success factor of these parks is that they anticipate to present-day trends and consumer needs regarding retail and leisure.

Retail strategy with sustainable existence
A new, innovative and unique retail concept can ensure distinctiveness in the market, which helps to create a sustainable existence.
The important first step towards the realization of a full retail concept is  to develop the concept broadly and to determine the framework for the strategy. What kind of experience do consumers need to encounter? What are the starting points for the brand? Which products  have to be used and what is the positioning of the products? What is the accompanying brand and  the perception to be expected. What is the potential role of catering?
These are just some questions which have to be answered in order to build the strategy. It is important to describe all retail marketing P’s which are relevant for the strategy. P’s as a presentation, packaging, prices, distribution are essential.

For pictures of inspirational retail concepts in leisure environments, you can visit our Pinterest page. Stay tuned to keep informed of trends, developments and remarkable retail concepts that we observe in the market.
Are you looking for a sparring partner (both on an interim and/or project basis)  who advises and inspires you and is able to assist you in developing a retail strategy in leisure environments? Or might support you in the realization of the strategy? Please send a message to info@preneurl.com and we will contact you to get acquainted without any obligations.

Monique Plantinga