Getting to the beating heart of retail

  • Opinion
  • October 21, 2015
  • Juanita Neville-Te Rito
Getting to the beating heart of retail

I’m conscious it’s been a few drinks between blogs but as is the way on the rollercoaster of retail advertising and communications, we hit a few corkscrews and blogging fell by the wayside. However I am back with renewed lust for retail insights.

In my last blog I recounted a golden retail journey in Build-A-Bear. It was magical; connecting the trend of "me-tailing" with an unforgettable, signature experience, something all retailers should be aiming for.

With my daughter grinning from ear to ear and having fallen in love with a bear and a brand, for this blog we jump just a few doors along to another master of me-tailing and extracting a pretty penny, Ridemakerz, a destination for building customised remote control cars.

This award-winning American retailer, (Best Attraction Retailing in 2008), was founded in 2007 by Larry Andreini and Maxine Clark of Build-A-Bear fame.

Rudimentary research on Ridemakerz uncovers a tale of “being committed to the importance of play in the positive development of kids…..inspires self-expression through the creation of one-of-a-kind toy cars or Ridez.”

“Here, here!” cry droves of parents desperately attempting to pry devices from their offspring’s sweaty grip.

We entered the store one balmy evening after a day at Disneyland. It was hard to imagine how you could top the experience of a day in the happiest place on earth, but this did.

The store exterior is a beacon to remote control car fanatics. Crossing the lease-line, running if you are a 9-year old boy, you are welcomed by an endless choice of inspiring Ridez. The customer journey is not dissimilar from Build-A-Bear where you choose a car body starting at $25 and then select all the elements to customise it including remote control, tyres, wheels, accessories, you name it. 

You then take your carefully selected components to the assembly area full of power drills and other tools you need to build. The RZ Crew Members are trained to coach and work side-by-side with the Customisers (shoppers) enthusiastically including games, skills test and never ending compliments. “What a great choice!”  “How cool are those tyres?”

They are clever, well trained and with every Customiser wearing a name sticker, it’s easy to create a great bond by using names during conversation. Even the youngest or most uncoordinated Customiser leaves feeling like an accomplished champion.

The Ridemakerz experience is specifically designed around the Five C’s of RZ which they live and breathe every day. These principles are the pathways, the arteries, to their CX Heart, which is where the magic comes from.

1.     Choice – to experience choices and options in life instils in us a sense of optimism and possibility. Customising a RIDE is an exercise in choice: body, style, tyres, rims, spoilers, you get the picture.

Your one of a kind creation is an expression of your individuality; your style and your personality.

2.     Unleashing Creativity

Ridemakerz believe that everyone is born creative and expressive and through their process they provide car customizing artists with all the high quality parts and accessories to create the unique vision of their dreams.

3.     Fostering Confidence

“Does success build confidence, or does confidence build success?” Ridemakerz says, of course, YES. The cycle of success and confidence is critical for this experience – through freedom and guidance young people learn the important aspects to drive their own success.

4.     Encouraging Collaboration

Working together, creating a customized vision of perfection, with the assistance of others allows customizers to realise the art of collaboration. Guidance, coaching and achievement are important aspects of creating happy and healthy kids.

5.     Instilling a sense of Community

Through the building process we learn that initiative, creativity, collaboration and cooperation come together through connecting with others. Connection is critical to all of us to make the most of our lives on this wonderful planet we share. Ridemakerz brings people together and creates communities through a shared experience.

This is a growing retail concept I admire and embrace as a mother and retailer. Using principles of growing healthy and happy young minds in an engaging way, Ridemakerz have created a retail ecosystem of wonder. Embracing the rational, functional and emotional aspects of what makes shoppers tick, they have created a highly experiential, memorable, magical retail moment.

Ridermakerz have a powerful CX Heart which everything maps back to. Their Five C’s are the arteries feeding the experiences and decision making. Every retailer should aspire to unleash their own version of this authentic, differentiated and unique connection with the shopper.

Post-shopping note: this was also a goddamn expensive remote control car. The end result was $140 as all the extras including the battery (good/better/best price points), remote control, wheels, rim, and sticker and so on add up. The car sits with pride of place in one very delighted young boy’s bedroom but because mum didn’t shell out for the “best” battery (US$28 from memory vs the $10 version I bought), the $10 Kmart car actually gets a better workout. But it was worth it and, given the chance, I would most definitely visit again, armed with a better budgeting plan. 

  • This post was originally published on Juanita's blog, Retail Geek.
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