September 18th, 2022

bricks-and-mortar retail strategies


Product ratings & reviews from a brand’s ecommerce platform

If your brand runs a product rating or review feature on its online store (which we are betting it does!), you will of course be able to identify which products are most popular among your customers. Chances are that these same products will too be popular among the customers of your bricks-and-mortar retail activations. This can be incredibly helpful when it comes to understanding which products your brand should be merchandising its space with, especially if space is limited either within your own brand store or on a shelf display or shop-in-shop within a larger retailer.


Whilst Amazon’s 4-Star stores have now, unfortunately, all permanently closed, it is not to say that the stores’ product stock choices based on their online data was inherently wrong – but instead, it was seemingly the store format in which the products sat. There is certainly a lesson to be learned from the mega corp’s 4-Star stores which used eCommerce data in the form of product ratings and reviews to determine which products to feature in the store out of a possible 12 million items!


Rather than stocking an entire product catalogue, a growing number of brands are, too, choosing to stock carefully curated product collections at their bricks-and-mortar retail locations. This is to reduce the number of sensorial inputs to which a customer is often subject, subsequently helping to reduce
decision-fatigue, and creating a more pleasant shopping experience for the customer. If this is something your brand aims to do in the future, it might be that the products you choose to stock are those that have received the highest ratings on your brand’s eCommerce channel.

bricks-and-mortar retail strategy


People who bought this also bought that

Another data-set from your eCommerce channel that you can draw upon to drive your bricks-and-mortar retail strategy is the type of products that are frequently bought together by your online customers. Similarly to creating carefully curated collections for space-saving and to reduce decision fatigue for your brick-and-mortar customers, carefully curated collections using data of products that are frequently bought together can also be used to encourage cross-selling.


To increase basket spend among shoppers of Halfords’ Car Cleaning category in their Halifax and Colchester stores, we highlighted “Perfect Partners” – a genuinely helpful category design strategy which recommends two or more products from their range that a customer can use together for optimal car cleaning results. Encouraging a self-served cross-sell, the ‘Perfect Partners’ POS is made up of a series of fun communication graphics inclusive of iconography which have the added benefit of assisting Halfords’ in-store advisors with a solution-sell approach.

bricks-and-mortar retail strategy


Consumer generated content/ online curators

No longer does the internet only display content from a select few. It is now jam-packed with user-generated content as more of us become online creators, subsequently providing entertaining and informative content that we genuinely want to consume.

Data regarding our content preferences is at the fingertips of every brand and retailer, making it possible for brands to get a clearer insight into the unique preferences of their customer profiles. This might include places in which customers are likely to spend their time both online and offline, and the
type of products on which they are most likely to spend their money. Thus, it is possible to curate a brick-and-mortar retail environment that is suited to a brand’s specific customer profile, with a strategy to match!


The Mood Hotel By Argos x Pinterest is a great example of this. The duo designed “The Mood Hotel” based on popular interior trends revealed by Pinterest engagement data, as well as Google Search Terms. This immersive, Pinterest-inspired hotel which was open for three days at the Town Hall Hotel in Benthal Green, London, housed shoppable Argos collections, including furniture and homeware from the Habitat range.

bricks-and-mortar retail strategy



A handful of brands and retailers are using data-sets to understand what is relevant to customers based on their geographic locations, thus being better able to respond to the consumer needs of the community in which the brand or retailer’s bricks-and-mortar store sits. This has come to be known
as “Hyper-Local Retailing”. Hyper-local retailing can better respond to customers’ desires for a more bespoke shopping experience that is tailored to their needs.


Responding to the increased consumer desire for localism, Nike introduced a new format to their store portfolio: Nike Unite. Building on the brand’s existing concepts, the format acts as a ‘community centrepiece’. With a focus on locality, information and data available to the brand is used to guide and inform product selection, store layout and location, staff, and community partnerships. This concept store showcases local culture and people, providing a platform for local heroes instead of global ambassadors. At each location, design elements highlight neighbourhood connections encouraging visitors to explore the area. We anticipate the opening of a new Nike Unite concept store which is coming to London very soon!


Another brand that has drawn upon data to better understand customer preferences when it comes to location and travel, and subsequently inform its bricks-and-mortar strategy is KAYAK – a world-leading online travel agency that has used its uniquely detailed insight to curate a Miami Beach hotel. This locally inspired boutique hotel is “located in the heart of Miami Beach’s vibrant cultural and culinary scene, and takes inspiration from its community while using tech to craft an amazing experience for guests”. Why did the travel agent choose Miami for the location of its first hotel? Because the city consistently ranks as a top 10 destination on Kayak’s annual reports. Everything about their move into the physical sphere is seemingly informed by data.

bricks-and-mortar retail strategies


A/B Testing

How can you know that your brand is pursuing the most successful bricks-and-mortar retail strategy if there is no other strategy to compare against? Many brands are constantly running a/b testing to understand the performance of their strategies, with the data very often guiding decisions about which retail strategy or business model to pursue. When applying this to the idea of using data to drive a bricks-and-mortar retail strategy, if a brand can collect data from two or more retail formats in order to be able to draw a comparison, the data could not be more relevant, and decisions could not be any more informed.


We have a huge amount of experience with delivering an array of retail formats, from window displays and pop-up shops, to shop-in-shops and whole store fit-outs. More recently we have been busy installing kiosks and pop-ups by VUSE in key shopping destinations across the UK as part of VUSE’s efforts to understand which retail formats and locations are bringing the vaping brand the most success. The measure of success will be based on the volume of sign-ups that VUSE achieve to their subscription model from each of their retail activations. We will be working closely with the brand in the coming months as they apply these learnings to their longer-term strategy.

A/B Testing



In recent years, ordinary people have been measuring their biometrics via a smartwatch or similar and sharing this data with companies such as Google, Apple, Fitbit and Strava to track and determine their day-to-day levels of health and fitness. Whilst there is still a long way to go and a lot to understand, we are now starting to see biometric data being used to influence and drive the bricks-and-mortar strategies of brands’ retail activations!


Have you ever been refused a purchase? This is what happened to shoppers during IKEA’s 2019 ultra-exclusive shopping experience. This was the 5th time that the Swedish furniture giants have run an art project in Belgium however this aimed to be the year to curb resell culture. The range in the gallery boasted unique rugs that had been designed in collaboration with the biggest names in contemporary design including Misaki Kawai and the late Virgil Abloh. Customers were asked to wear headsets that measured their biometric data to monitor how emotionally affected they were by the product to ensure customers were buying the rugs for the right reasons – and not purely for resell – “You can only buy it, if you feel it”

Whilst we can’t imagine that many more brands will measure customers’ biometrics to actively discourage the purchase of an item, this example provides a glimpse into what could be possible when biometric data meets bricks-and-mortar retail in the years to come.

Our thoughts


From implementing hyper-locality and A/B testing into your bricks-and-mortar retail strategy, to using inspiration from online creators and user-generated content for a data-curated store design, using data to drive bricks-and-mortar retail is very much here to stay (and something you should be  considering if you’re not already).

In fact, we don’t just think data-driven bricks-and-mortar retail is here to stay, but we think it will be even more prominent in the years to come, especially when we consider the ever-growing interconnectivity between the pillars of our lives. Not to mention our reliance on digital, and the subsequent ability to track a plethora of personal data based on consumer habits, demographics, preferences, and more.

If you’ve got some relevant data that you want to apply to your bricks-and-mortar activations for a more informed design and retail strategy, or if you want us to support with the trialling of two or more retail formats to understand which works best for your brand…

Get in touch