The retail landscape is changing rapidly due to digitalisation and changes in consumer buying behaviour. This calls for retailers to come up with new ideas that offer customers experiences which can only be achieved in brick-and-mortar stores. The paradigm shift in retail will foster new, exciting concepts combining excellent products, fantastic in-store experiences and first-class service to customers. One brand that is currently expanding is the Danish homeware store Søstrene Grene which sells interior accessories, kitchenware, furnishings, crafts and do-it-yourself.
Søstrene Grene offers a unique in-store experience and is sometimes called ‘the small Ikea’ because of its contemporary yet affordable furnishings with a distinctive Nordic feel. A refined and innovative product range which is constantly changing is a key factor: Every week the stores receive new products, and many of the products are only sold for a short time.
Mads Jensen, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at Søstrene Grene, explains the strategy:
What is your aim with your brick-and-mortar stores?
We want to deliver wonderful experiences for our customers and we want to set the scene for a cosy break from hectic everyday life. We believe in offering a universe that speaks to all the senses and is full of inspiration.
What does a brick-and-mortar store offer that online stores cannot?
It allows us to engage all the senses. We also believe that the core of life is all about valuable human relations. Communication is more authentic when it is done face-to-face.
Who are your customers? Why do you think they want to come to your stores?
In general, we see women of all ages as our primary consumer group and – depending on the category – it varies which age-segment we are appealing to the most. We also have quite a few men who like our concept. I think they like coming to our stores because we offer a lot of variety, Scandinavian design, reasonable prices, a cosy atmosphere, and surprising inspiration. That is what we are trying hard to achieve, at least – to touch the hearts of our customers.
What are the best locations for your stores?
It may vary from market to market, but in general we like locations with a lot of footfall. We want to be able to deliver reasonable prices, and therefore we also need to look at the cost side of our business. Therefore, we normally avoid the most expensive locations.
Which markets are you present in?
Currently, we operate in 16 countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Holland, England, Ireland, Austria, Northern Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The number of stores varies from one store in the Faroe Islands to 54 stores in Denmark. Our biggest markets are Denmark, Norway, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden and Ireland.
You have been nominated in the category of “Best Retail Global Expansion” in the Mapic Awards and in the “Best Retail/F&B Concept” category in the NCSC Sweden Awards. Why do you think you have received these nominations?
Hopefully because they believe we succeed in delivering wonderful experiences to our customers. That is what we are all about, and it takes continuous effort to deserve the time and interest from our customers.
About Søstrene Grene
Started by the two Danish sisters Anna and Clara Grene in 1973 with the aim of bringing ‘beauty to everyday life’, Søstrene Grene today has 241 stores in 16 countries.