Top 10 Concept Stores For Staying Ahead of the Game

Our top 10 concept stores will aid you in the fight against online shopping. In the battle of bricks versus clicks, store retailers are fighting back against the rise of online shopping by creating experimental concept stores.

Inspiration for these innovative concept stores can come from anything from the media to museums and usually involves a clever combination of virtual and physical shopping as well as design elements which play on a more experience-related retail environment.

At Mills Display, we understand your need to stay ahead of the game when it comes to creating attractive and innovative concept stores and we can help you get to grips with everything from general design and layout to the nuts and bolts of signage, presentation and pricing.

So if you’re interested in creating a new “concept” look and experience for your store – or you’re planning a new concept store from scratch, here’s out top-10 Concept Store list to give you an inspirational head start.

Story, Manhattan

We love this idea: the 2000 square foot store is inspired by the story-telling world of magazines. It changes its display and content like an art gallery, but still sells things just like a normal store. In reality that means completely revamping the shop’s design and merchandising every four to eight weeks around a different theme, trend or issue and then building the retail into those styles. This means they have been able to market everything from smartphone controlled air con units to designer dresses! If you want a non-stop gallery of inspiration for your concept stores, you can visit Story’s website here.

Concept Stores

Nestle’s Kit Kat Boutique, Tokyo

If you want to go all out on using a retail space to market a single product you could do worse than looking to this “chocolatey” store in Japan. Kit Kat is apparently a cult product among the Japanese because its name sounds like kitto katsui, which means “you will surely win”. As well as the in-your-face design and overwhelming marketing style, the store also pushes limited edition flavours of the product such as “Sublime Bitter”, “Special Chilli” and “Special Sakura Green Tea”.

Nestle’s Kit Kat Boutique concept store

Club Monaco at Noma, Copenhagen

This is probably the perfect example of teamwork – a pop-up shop for the chic and stylish men’s clothing and accessories store inside the Michelin-starred Scandinavian restaurant. The combo suits both brands and leads to clever crossovers between hospitality and retail including Nordic materials with smooth timber surfaces, fur rugs and foliage dotted around the store, creating an organic, natural atmosphere for shoppers.

Holland & Barrett, Chester

Pick a theme and run with it … that’s the lesson from UK health food retailer Holland & Barrett, who have just launched their flagship “free-from” store in the leafy north-west UK county town of Chester. The soaring interest in food allergies and intolerance’s has meant a huge leap in the number of mainstream products which are dairy-free, gluten-free etc. etc. and Holland & Barrett have sought to cash in with a concept store devoted to what has previously been seen as a niche market.

Nemika, Tokyo

Treating your retail space like a piece of art creates an environment tailor-made for a specific section of society and helps you tell your “retail story” before the customer even gets to the products. A great example of this is this Nemika store for Japanese high-fashion brand Leilian, which has been designed by artist Kohei Nawa around the concept of a garden (Ne means “root” in Japanese, mi means “fruition” and ka means “flower”). Wooden floors represent earth, sinuous walls evoke flowing water and display shelves and wall mirrors are reminiscent of minerals. Custom-designed furniture is arranged as stones and rocks would be in a Japanese garden and roses are grown in their own flowerbeds.

Nemika Concept Stores

The Petit Bazar, Paris

There’s a non-too-subtle art to selling to children – make it fun for the kids and simple for the parents. This Parisian store is beautifully kitted out with products suitable for both children and parents but also offers a café where families can meet up, a space for nursing young children, and frequent events to keep the kids entertained.

Original Unverpackt, Berlin

Even with a huge concept like trying to change the world, you need to start with the basics. This supermarket in Germany started with the simple idea of having zero waste and not selling anything which came with disposable packaging. In reality this means using bulk bins and inviting people to bring their own containers to fill – a message which is very easy to get across and a concept which is easy to fulfil.

Original unverpackt

The Store, Berlin

Those Germans really get simplicity! Their second entry in our top-10 is The Store in Berlin which uses untreated surfaces and stark, simple display cases to sell everything from fashion to furniture and plants to plates. Their concept stores are even more simple, create a space where people can come to eat, meet and work – even enjoy some entertainment or see some art – and then let them browse and buy things too.

Farmacia Concept Store, Bucharest

Just because that bricks-versus-clicks battle seems to mean everything has to be hi-tech in the world of retail, doesn’t mean that there isn’t still room for great old-fashioned visual marketing. We love this pharmacy in Romania for its honest and simple approach and the way it mixes the clean, modern displays with the more traditional elements of selling pharmaceutical treatments.

Farmacia Concept Stores

Mad Butcher, Mosgiel

The last in our list of concept stores is the good old Mad Butcher proving that “concept” can also work with scale, and doesn’t have to rely on a change of style. The Mosgiel store has just opened and other versions have been mooted for Te Awamutu, Taradale, Havelock North and Palmerstone North in an attempt to push a well-known brand into smaller communities.

Contact Us for more Information about Concept Stores

For more information on how Mills Display can help find the perfect solution to your concept store, contact us online, call us on 09 634 5962 or call in to our Auckland showroom at 327A Neilson Street, Penrose.

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Competitive Advantage in the Retail Industry is crucial for Success

Building a competitive advantage in retail industry is key if you’re fighting against a rival. So many big stores around New Zealand look and feel very similar – so how can you build a competitive advantage in retail industry over your rivals and how do you make your customers coming back for more?

Mills Display has the experience and knowledge to make sure you have all the basics covered in terms of retail store layout, shop fittings and display products, but we also have a great creative team to help you come up with new ways to sell your merchandise and attract and involve customers.

So, if you’re fighting a retail battle against a rival, here are our three key points to break the deadlock and see you forge ahead.

competitive advantage in retail industry

3 Tools for Building a Competitive Advantage in Retail Industry

Building a competitive advantage in retail industry is not easy. We want to help by sharing three areas you should focus on in order to help your business gain an advantage over your rivals.

1. Innovative Displays

Innovation and competitive advantage in retail industry go hand in hand. Innovation doesn’t always have to be tied to technology – one of the best ways to beat your rivals is by creating a better relationship with your customer and setting up a dialogue with them in the store.

Your displays don’t have to be one-sided conversations, why not get the customer to interact with them by creating some sort of feedback on certain products either at point of sale, or coupled to the display. Custom-create display shelving which shows customers how they can use the products – either by incorporating images or video, or by creating how-to guides which can be supplied alongside the product.

2. Strategic Marketing

Build competitive advantage in retail industry through strategic marketing. Don’t just sell products – become the authority on those products. Find yourself airtime on radio stations and in local media talking about aspects of your business or themes linked to your company; hold events where customers can learn more about your products; create campaigns linked to your local community or your area of business.

3. Creative Store Design

One of the key elements for attracting and keeping customers is to help make their experience more enjoyable. By working through your store layout you should be able to help customers skip queues and also point them towards shelving and displays more easily. Or you could jump in with both feet and create café areas, children’s play areas, rest areas or entertainment areas to help turn your store into an “experience”. Check out our blog post for the top 10 ways to create the perfect retail shop design layout to learn more.

competitive advantage in retail industry

Contact us and we’ll help you build a Competitive Advantage

For more information on how Mills Display can help your business build a competitive advantage in retail industry, contact us online, call us on 09 634 5962 or call in to our Auckland showroom at 327A Neilson Street, Penrose. Stay up to date with our latest news by following our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google + pages.

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How to Open a Store Successfully: Your Basic Toolkit and Six Creative Solutions

How to open a store successfully? Remember, in retail, it’s not just what you’ve got – it’s how you flaunt it.

So, even though you’ve more than likely spent weeks or months making sure your store has all its displays, signage, point of sales merchandising, staffing, shelving and stock all sorted, you’re still going to have to signal your grand opening with a main event.

At Mills Display, we can help you kit out your new shop to make sure everything runs like clockwork on a day-to-day basis. We are also your first port of call when it comes to creating the perfect first day of trading. Read our guide to ensure you know how to open a store successfully in New Zealand.

How to open a store successfully

How to Open a Store Successfully: The Fundamentals

There are some basics about planning a new store’s opening. Here are 6 things you need to be on top of:

  1. Set a fixed date to give yourself enough time for planning and setup,
  2. Fix your budget for your opening,
  3. Have enough staff hired and working that day to ensure people can get served,
  4. Be aware of all the local council regulations surrounding your opening and your business,
  5. Tell people you’re opening and advertise the event,
  6. And, most importantly, open on time!

But, as well as the basics, a successful new store opening relies on making an impression – right from day one. And to do this you need to find some innovative ways to help your store and your event live long in the memories of potential customers.

Six creative solutions for launching your Store

There are many ways to get creative with your store opening. The more creative you are with your day one opening can result in a very successful launch for your business. Check out our top 6 creative solutions for successfully launching your store.

1. How to open a store? Turn the opening into an event!

You may well decide to have a soft opening to test all your processes and make sure the store “works” but nothing spells success like a good old-fashioned flamboyant opening ceremony. You don’t have to hire a marching band (although, if it fits your “theme”, why not?) but you can tailor an event to fit any budget – think billboards, balloons, bunting, catering, visuals, music, food… even throw a street party if you think it will cause a stir.

Just remember that, if you’re throwing a party, you have to send out invitations – so compile a list starting with VIPs at the top and work all the way down to your neighbours.

How to open a store

2. Create innovative special offers and competitions

How to open a store successfully? Use innovative offers and competitions to get people talking. Get people involved with the opening by pushing special offers on your merchandise and holding competitions which sit within the concept of your business. If you’re a small corner-store business, then this might mean something as simple as guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar or holding an art competition for students at the local school. But if you have the budget for it, then giving away a big-ticket item like a holiday or a household appliance will certainly grab people’s attention.

3. Work with suppliers to add information to your merchandising

When you’re the new kid on the block, you need to gain a foothold in the community early on and the easiest way to do that is by becoming an authority on what you sell as well as simply being the seller. Talk to your suppliers about coming down to your opening and talking about their products with your potential customers – if you’re in food retail, this can mean getting farmers on board; if you sell electronics, you can have experts on hand to explain the latest advances in technology.

4. Work with local businesses

Teamwork usually produces better results than a lot of individuals going it alone. Working with neighbouring businesses always requires a good relationship and a mutually beneficial outcome. Set up business accounts for nearby firms and hold a few meetings to see how you can work together – and when it comes to your opening event, make sure they’re there meeting your customers.

Not only can this reap rewards when it comes to simple things like catering and entertainment (make sure you have the local café or bar onside for that one). You can also earn a lot of goodwill simply by being seen alongside other local success stories.

5. Host a charity event

Find a charity which relates either to you or your business and host your opening event to raise money for it. This works in three ways: it gives you a good angle to sell the event to local media and raise awareness among potential customers, it creates goodwill among your customers, and it presents a human side to your business.

6. Set up a media tie-in

Talk to bloggers, radio stations and tv stations to make sure they cover your event – but remember they’ll want something in return for all the great free advertising you’re going to get. Offer your time as a commentator on something to do with your business – for example, if you work with food, set up a weekly recipe slot, or sponsor the weather forecasts if you sell wet-weather clothing, or the sports report if you sell sportswear. Remember to take plenty of photos so that you can share memories of the event to your Facebook or Instagram accounts.

How to open a store

Learn How to Open a Store Successfully with Mills Display

For more information on how to open a store successfully from day one, contact Mills Display and we’ll help find the perfect solution for your store opening. Contact us online or call us on 09 634 5962 at our Auckland showroom at 327A Neilson Street, Penrose. Also feel free to download our Ebook for The Seven Hottest Trends in Retail.

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Retail Store Safety Tips for Businesses

Safety products are a must-have for every business. We have put this article to provide you with our best retail store safety tips.

Retail Store Safety Tips

Retail Store Safety Tips Broken Down Into Three Groups

To be a success, your business needs not only to make money but also be a safe and secure workplace. That’s why Mills Display stocks everything you need in terms of display and signage to help your customers. It is also your one-stop shop when you need to create a safe working environment for your employees.

Retail store safety tips can be broken down into three groups:

  1. Customer safety
  2. Food safety
  3. Employee Safety

Retail Store Safety Tips For Customers

In any business, there’s likely to be spillages or times when floors need to be cleaned during business hours. To keep your customers safe, you should consider getting caution signs and anti-slip mats. We stock caution signs, anti-slip safety mats and mats for checkout areas. This will ensure that, whatever your business has to work with, your customers’ safety is still seen as paramount.

Retail Store Safety Tips For Food

Both the hospitality industry and food retail need to source food preparation, presentation and display items from a company it can trust because all items will have to conform to strict food safety standards and regulations. Our best tip for your business is to use an approved, food-grade material.

All our presentation and preparation items – including barrels, impulse stands or platters, or simply bowls, dishes, plates and menu holders – are made of an approved, food-grade material. It is easy to clean and can cope with the temperatures and conditions to which they will be subjected. Ranges of colour-coded chopping boards and knives also allow you to construct plans for council inspections which show your awareness of issues surrounding working with food.

Retail Store Safety Tips For Employee safety

Workplaces can often be high-stress, busy environments that are operated over long periods of time. This means crockery, preparation equipment, utensils, presentation and display gear, needs to be hardy as well as stylish. Our tip for you is to provide your employees with the right safety equipment to carry out their tasks – for example using non-slip safety steps when restocking shelves.

Enquire about the Mills Display Safety Products Range

For any enquires, or to place your order please contact our friendly Customer Services Team on 09 634 5962 or send us an email to Use our online contact form below for further information. Follow us on Facebook and Google My Business for our latest products and NZ Retail updates.

Do not forget you can also Live Chat in real time to Customer Services with any questions.

Contact Us

For any queries about our range of products or a custom manufacturing project, fill in the form below and we'll get back to you.
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