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Great retail examples from UK attractions

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by Graham SpeakSpeak Consulting

If you’ve read any of my previous articles in blooloop, you’ll know I’m a big believer in retail being a huge opportunity for the attractions sector. There are many ways to go about this – from maximising retail fundamentals all the way through to stores becoming experiences in their own right. When executed thoughtfully, merchandise and retail can enhance experiences, engage guests, drive loyalty and increase visit frequency. And, of course, drive incremental revenue.

Bunker 94 retail alton towers

My poor family also know how I feel about this. “Lilly, can you mind out of the way so I can take a picture of that display?” A common occurrence on any family day out, surely?

I am sharing a few examples of great retail executions I’ve seen across the UK on our various trips this year. It’s not a comprehensive rundown of great retail experiences. But, hopefully, it will inspire and uncover some principles that you may find interesting.

Eden Project: a wonderfully curated, browsable retail experience

Located at the exit to the attraction, this retail store is huge and diverse in its range. That is not something I’d usually say is necessary for a successful retail execution.

The big standout for me is how well the merchandise has been curated. It doesn’t feel like a hastily assembled mishmash of products—there has been careful consideration to capture the essence of the Eden Project. Alongside this, there appears to be an understanding of audiences and their different reasons for purchasing an item.

Retail at Eden Project

Every product and range in the store serves a purpose, from locally sourced, small-batch product ranges that are fun to discover to Eden-inspired product ranges to educational toys that allow the discovery to continue at home.

The shop also builds on the messaging seen throughout the exhibits. For example, the operator has meticulously selected all products from an ethical and ecological standpoint. And, of course, being a charity, any purchases contribute to the ongoing funding of the project.

The retail experience is a pleasure to browse and explore. It is an extension of the rest of the Eden Project – and an opportunity to take a small piece home with you.

See also: Developing a successful retail proposition: five big factors to consider

The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh: extending storytelling into retail store design and product ranges

This myth-filled historic close, located under the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland, is a unique experience. It is brought to life through the stories of the real-life-based ‘resident’ guides. The main attraction brings together history, urban legends, and great storytelling, and it’s exciting to see it continue as your guide delivers you to the gift shop at the end of the adventure.

Retail at Mary Kings Close

Working with Lumsden, Continuum has turned a listed courtroom into an enticing retail outlet—one that enhances rather than jars with the rest of the attraction. Market carts, inspired by those found in Edinburgh in the 17th century, display products alongside set pieces, including a huge mannequin of the plague doctor (one of the main characters you encounter during your underground journey).

The space itself is fun (and relevant) to explore, and unique features referencing the tales heard throughout the tour enhance it.

Paul Nixon, general manager at The Real Mary King’s Close, says:

“The retail experience has become an extension of the tour itself, encouraging dwell time, points of engagement, overall satisfaction levels and the average spend per head. By implementing this approach, we have created a holistic experience where the retail component enhances rather than interrupts the guest’s journey through The Real Mary King’s Close.”

The products are carefully curated with exclusive collections and locally sourced ranges to provide distinctive and browsable collections. The offer combines merchandise to appeal to different audiences, from history lovers to quirky gift hunters looking for a memento of their experience. The combination of great storytelling and unique products makes it almost impossible not to make a purchase.

Hyporium at Thorpe Park: understanding thrill-seeker audiences and their retail motivations

Hyperia opened earlier this year as the UK’s tallest roller coaster, and riders want to be part of it, celebrate it, and share it. Understanding audiences and why they might want to buy is important, and Merlin has done that with the Hyporium store.

From water bottles and notebooks to brag about your bravery to friends and co-workers, to Hyperia stylised wings to wear, to collectable, limited-edition ranges designed with theme park enthusiasts in mind, the store has something for everyone to remember, personalise, and share their adventures. The store provides a great source of revenue. It is also an important marketing tool to drive awareness and excitement about the attraction.

Hyperia retail - wings

Discussing the importance of product, the head of Fastrack and retail at Thorpe Park, Josh Reynolds, says:

“We approached the merchandise and shop for Hyperia differently to any other we’d launched before. Capturing the celebratory and positive essence of the marketing campaign, we brought to life the concept of ‘Find Your Fearless’ with the iconic wings as inspiration, which resulted in us coming up with the concept of finding your unique set of wings.

“By creating multiple variations of the wing motif which could be mixed and matched to build your own look, it allows every guest to find something they resonate with. …



Read More: Great retail examples from UK attractions

2024-07-09 08:28:39

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