– Thoughts on Strategy and Management

Approaches for differentiation for retailers

Today we went to Cologne for shopping. Actually Cologne is a very good place for this, since you can find great many retailers in the centre of the city. (I have to explain this in brief: In Germany you will find many retail stores in the centres of cities. Shopping malls do exist, but they are less important in comparison to North America.) Hence we find retailers with similar products in the same place. It is possible to achieve a differentiation?

A very interesting approach can be observed with “Peek und Cloppenburg” (a clothes shop chain) in Cologne. Their target audience is the entire family. They sell own brand products (e.g. Montego) as well as up market brands like Strellson, Boss and Joop (just to name a few). Considering the floor space that is given to different price / brand levels it can be argued, that the focus is on branded clothes.

In order to attract customers and to fulfil its own expectations on reputation the retail store in Cologne used a set of instruments:

  • Place (the shop has an excellent location in an attractive pedestrian zone with a parking garage nearby),
  • Size (it is a huge 5 floor building with 14,400 square meters, enabling them to offer a large variety of clothes),
  • Design (the building is oval with a glass front, from star architect Renzo Piano, and had won an architectural design price),
  • Quality in everything (example: The in store-restaurant is under operation of “Fassbender” and can be compared with very good lounge in terms of quality and atmosphere. I can highly recommend the salmon and a glass of Riesling) and
  • Fancy gimmicks (Saturday a live DJ organises the music).

In summary this is a very interesting approach that gives the shop a unique look and feel.