Yes, You Can Get Satisfaction: The Rolling Stones and RS №9

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Carnaby Street epitomizes London culture and lifestyle

A brilliant move in retail was just announced last week.

At a time when so many other stores are closing, the Rolling Stones will soon be opening their first flagship store, dubbed RS №9, at 9 Carnaby Street in London.

The store will sell t-shirts and limited-edition vinyl, but it’ll also showcase more aspirational items: chairs and scarves designed by The Soloist, raincoats and hats from Stutterheim, an official “Stones Red” color collection developed with Pantone, and Baccarat crystal glassware engraved with the band’s tongue logo. (More on an alternate definition of baccarat next week.)

“More than just a store, RS №9 will be a fully immersive experience for fans of all ages,” the band said in a statement.

They’re being bold and decisive in spite of the pandemic because they have a story to tell, and they have people who want to hear that story.

And they’re right to do so. Telling your own stories in your own spaces is the strongest position for a brand to be in — and it’s the future of retail.

In the past, a retailer’s key goals might have been to make sure people thought they had the best merchandise, the right price/value equation, and a convenient place to shop. Today, it’s also crucial to ensure that shoppers make an emotional connection with your brand.

Part of that is about future-proofing.

Consumers have learned during lockdown that they don’t have to go to a Walmart store when they can just click on a button and have everything they need delivered the next day. And that’s not going to change.

Still, most of us would rather eat a fine meal at a restaurant than just pick it up in a paper sack and take it home.

So to survive as a retailer, you have to offer an encounter that’s much more elevated than just selecting a product off a shelf or off a hanger.

That’s what the Rolling Stones are saying: I don’t want to just be on a hanger or on a couple of shelves — I want to create an experience around my brand that has great value.

You have a story. You should be bold enough to tell it on your own.

Doing so isn’t just about selling merchandise — it’s about getting your brand aligned with the consumer’s personal brand.

Part of that means not cramming your store with product. RS №9 isn’t going to stock 1,000 units of those Baccarat crystal glasses — the glasses are aspirational conversation pieces designed to prompt shoppers to think about what the Rolling Stones mean to them, and to lead to conversations with salespeople.

Those glasses exist for stories to be told.

To make those kinds of conversations possible in your store, you need to give your salespeople digital tools that free them to have personalized conversations, instead of making them memorize product attributes — so they can focus on making a connection with the shopper, sharing their excitement about your product and your brand, and fulfilling the shopper’s unexpressed desire for your brand to fit into their personal brand.

That’s what The Industrious stands for: re-enabling the salesperson and creating human connections in retail by letting technology take care of the building blocks.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly here with any questions or thoughts, or click here to download our white paper on responding to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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