How Liquor King is championing experiential retail in NZ
Liquor King decided it was time to break the mould. Uninterested in competitive price wars or excessive advertising, Liquor King formulated a strategy to win long-term business by providing top-notch, innovative experiences that would meet customers in their buyer journey and guide them towards the right purchase.
“Shoppers have changed. They expect frictionless and customised experiences over just picking a product off the shelf. We wanted to ensure we developed a store environment that was not just different but also enjoyable,” explains Fiona Kerr, marketing manager for Lion Liquor Retail.
Together with the Liquor King team, we designed a new retail concept with fun, memorable and targeted zones tailored to real-life customers.Rather than organising the floor by product categories, we designed dedicated experiential zones, based on customer preferences – putting the emphasis firmly on people, not products.
One such zone, The Conservatory is more than just a location for gin, sparkling and white wine. It’s a place where customers can learn how to make a new cocktail or select the right garnish for a drink. Dangling ivy and polished brass tapware complement the fruity and floral flavours sold and sampled here.
The Distillery, on the other hand, is tailored to whiskey lovers and fans of spicy, warm or smoky flavours. Deep leather arm chairs lend themselves to relaxed conversations and there’s a library to read up on the art of serving and drinking such beverages. This is where shoppers can unearth the difference between Scotch, Irish and Single Malt whisky or discover the perfect gift for a friend.
With customised, informative and enjoyable experiences, customers are guided towards a purchase in a memorable and entertaining way. Activities not only encourage shoppers to dwell longer, but also guide them towards a larger, more informed purchase. There’s a strong hosting element to the new concept – customers are looked after and taught how to recreate the experience at home.
With the first concept store we designed, now open and trading in Carlton, Liquor King is well on its way to transcending the liquor store experience in New Zealand. They’re currently trialing the Conservatory and Distillery spaces, soon to be expanded into the Brewbar and Deli, with a provision for a food-truck market and heated outdoor seating area. They’ve conceptualised ten distinct zones to be rolled out at flagship stores across the country.
“The Liquor King flagship model is about putting people first – shifting the focus away from products and onto customers,” explains lead architect Natalie Snowden. “The experience of buying alcohol is often very similar everywhere you go. It tends to be predictable and there’s not much being done to help you along in your customer journey. If you walk in undecided, you’d likely leave just as unsure.
Liquor King has changed all of that by creating a flagship experience that’s focused on shopping behaviours, customer journeys and tactile activities. They’ve set customers up for a fun and informative shopping experience. As they journey throughout the store, there are countless opportunities to engage with products in a meaningful way. It’s a liquor store you’ll want to visit and re-visit regardless of location or price,” concludes Snowden.
We’ll drink to that.
This content was supplied by Context Architects.
This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 760 February/March 2019