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  • Best of Vancouver Retail

    What does beautiful Vancouver have to offer shoppers?

    What can we learn by looking at what great retailers do well?

    A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of hosting a couple of guests from Great Harvest Bakery head office in Dillon, MT. We spent the day on a tour of the best Vancouver retail. What a fabulous way to spend the day – visiting stores, talking retail, snacking on the best baking in town, and making new friends.

    I learned what a fabulous company Great Harvest has created. Their stores are all franchised, and they have a deep commitment to their store owners, and communities.

    We visited the well-known born-in-Vancouver success stories – MEC, Lululemon, Aritizia, and many more examples of retailers who are doing what it takes to deliver what customers want. Our day was jam-packed with stores. Some of them had so much to see we had a hard time leaving to move on to the next one!

    Some of the things these retailers do well:

    • Tailoring each store to fit the community. Many of these stores are NOT using the cookie-cutter chain approach to store design. They might have many locations, but the best of these retailers are demonstrating to their customers that they are active and involved in their local community. The stores maintain a strong brand and identity, while adapting it in each location to reflect the personality of the neighbourhood.
    • Great signage. Shoppers are hungry for information. The best retail examples have strong signage to help customers find what they are looking for – quickly and easily – and make an informed decision.
    • Good lighting in key areas. Lighting enhances texture and colour. Lighting displays well makes them sparkle, and draws the customer in.
    • Positioning displays to attract attention. Displays are used throughout the store – always keeping in mind the customers’ point of view. What does the customer see when she walks in the store? Stands next to a table? Waits in line?

    These are just a few of the many points we noted on our tour. Stay tuned…we may just open up the tour soon so you can join us…and get one of our fabulous swag bags of samples too!

    The Great Harvest team with me at the end of our tour, in Coal Harbour:

    My new associate, Marie-Claude, (on the left) joined us for the day as well:

    Photos courtesy of Kaylee, Great Harvest Bakery.

    I hope to see some of you on the Best of Vancouver retail tour soon!


    3 Responses to “Best of Vancouver Retail”

    1. Alison says:

      Awesome! Looks like fun.

    2. kate ord says:

      It has been just over a year since Kaylee and I, from Great Harvest Bread Company, enjoyed a tour of Vancouver's best retail. Melanie and Marie-Claude were outstanding. They heightened our awareness merchandising best practices — the orchestration of a multitude of elements that make a retail space pop. What I really appreciated was the ability to ask questions and delve deeper into challenges unique to our franchise. This is a hands-on experience I recommend highly to anyone who wants to advance their understanding of the art and science of merchandising!

    3. Chantal says:

      Great post!
      As a local vancouverite myself, I've definitely found that some franchises here hit the nail on the head when it comes to a strategic marketing plan. I recently came across a great article of the importance of marketing within the retail field, I thought it tied into your post quite well!