At the tail end of November Christmas shoppers in Victoria Square had still got that flush of enthusiasm before the novelty of slogging round crowded stores has turned to weariness .
A glossy addition to Leeds city centre shopping, Victoria Square brings a stack of high end retailers together in a luxe space made all the more glitzy by Christmas decorations (very tasteful ones, naturally).
One of a number of retailers in the development opening their first store outside of London, Bailey Nelson eyewear have made the move with a cool, calm space amongst all the overt glamour. I’d not heard of it but was drawn to its sanctuary of blonde wood, neutral palette and clean lines. It has to be said though that it was noticeably empty in contrast to the buzz outside.
The only real communication in the window is their unique pricing method of £98 every day for every style. But after chatting with the sales assistant it became clear that Bailey Nelson has a great story to tell – it just doesn’t seem to want to share too much of it with passing customers.
She was a great ambassador for the brand, telling me how each frame is handmade and includes all the extra stuff high street opticians often mark up for, such as anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings.
What’s more they only ever make fifty pairs of any one style. Think about that: you’re buying a handmade, limited edition pair of glasses. But the only way you’d know that was if you were inclined to enter the store in the first place and wanted to hear the assistant’s sales pitch.
As a key element of Bailey Nelson’s offer why aren’t they shouting louder and sooner about it to help drive footfall?
A store’s design can and should go some way towards projecting an offer to customers to help draw them in; implying certain brand positioning and values depending on how it looks, how it’s merchandised and put together.
But shoppers still respond to stories and are hungry for the “why” as much as the “what”.
So if there’s something you can communicate to customers that might just make them cross the threshold, why wouldn’t you? It doesn’t have shouty and garish signage – it can still reinforce and enhance the brand – but it does have to be clear, straightforward and easy for passers-by to “get” very quickly.
You’ll never appeal to everyone (and should never try) but I’d put money on there being more than a few shoppers in Victoria Square that day who would happily been diverted away from Christmas shopping and upped Bailey Nelson’s footfall if they’d known more about what was on offer.