Monday, August 30, 2010

Retail Store Locations

From our experience looking at retail store locations, if we choose to go ahead there's a simple decision we need to make. Do we want to pay a higher rent for a high foot traffic store location, or a lower rent for a lower traffic store location. As an example of how much rents can vary, prime space in Sydney's Pitt St. Mall is expected to rent for around $12,000 per square metre per year once the new Westfield development opens. Space literally 50m away upstairs in the Dymocks building on George St. rents for $500 per square metre. We think about 70 square meters would be the ideal amount of space.

We're hoping that we're more of a destination retailer in that people will have heard about us online and will go out of their way to visit our store, so we can rent something not in super prime space. In order to get our share of foot traffic we should aim to be amongst other stores who attract the same target market as us, professional women.

We're also thinking that renting a store with office space attached to it would be very convenient. So we're on the look out. Let us know if you think of any areas in Sydney that would be good for us.


  1. I'm not sure that a premium high pedestrian traffic CBD location is going to be useful for you unless you are looking at actually going into mass producing off-the-shelf shoes.

    With high pedestrian traffic locations, its all about the volume. ie. Selling the most amount of product, in the shortest amount of time to the largest amount of people.

    Hence, the advent of "Fast Fashion" stores in the CBD.

    That may not happen if you have to introduce people to the concept of bespoke shoes and teach them how to design and order it.

    And besides, as you already know, you have the benefit of having a product & brand with enough awareness (ACA effect) that people will go and find you.

    I think your retail presence may be more like a showroom where customers can touch & feel the shoe components before buying online at home or in-store.

    As cliche as it is, Paddington may be a good location? I know that there's at least three spots currently available on Oxford Street at the moment due to major brands moving back to Westfields. ;)

    Oh... And, Ed Hardy is under administration, so that Oxford Street retail spot is available too. :)

    Good luck..!! Its a big commitment...


  2. Hi Michael. For footwear and clothing, I like the idea of bricks and clicks. They each cater to different consumer needs. To use an analogy, it's not a matter of backing one horse or the other but rather backing both to pull in tandem to win the race.

    Good luck finding the right spot!

  3. Hi Michael, It's interesting SoP are approaching offline as I have been toying with the same idea for a while. I have found part of the reason for low conversion rates is attributed to not being able to try the products before purchasing online. Quite a few online co's are still going offline in Aus for more exposure with the touch and feel experience.

    You have a good following, and are always in the top 5 pages on my site so I would agree with Dan that a showroom (and maybe some office space behind) would work. I think many shoe lovers will come to your store/showroom regardless of where you are, especially if they can enjoy the experience of seeing and/or even designing their shoes there.

    And if you don't have to pay premium rent, all the better. Hope you find the right place!

  4. You've said the 3 spots which came to mind when you mentioned the idea of a shop- Westfield Bondi Junction, Oxford St Paddington and the CBD.
    I think people will come to find you, so a place in a location away from the main strip might be fine. I'd find somewhere with something special nearby eg. a garden courtyard or a women's day spa. I just like the idea of slowing down and enjoying the process of selecting shoes.

  5. Hi guys, thanks so much for your thoughts. It's interesting and pleasing to hear your thoughts are along the same line as ours have been.

    Dan - Agreed, we should steer clear of the expensive, fast fashion rents and go for something a little more off the beaten track. I actually talked to the agent leasing the old Ed Hardy store on Oxford St. the other day! Great spot for us but it's a little larger than what we'd need. I think that's getting close though.

    Chris - Couldn't agree more, different customers shop in different ways so it's good to be able to offer them the ability to shop online or offline depending on which they prefer.

    Dee - Thanks for your kind words and I've also been reading about quite a few other online retailers trying offline stores. I think the move makes sense and as you and Dan say, a showroom type shopping experience with office space attached would work well for us.

    Frances - We've been looking in those exact 3 locations you suggest! Agreed that they would be best for us and being away from the main strip would be fine too. We have a few places we're looking into in more detail so hopefully we have something soon, though we're trying not to get too excited as we don't need to rush.

    Thanks guys.