by Aglaé Dancette
May 05, 2019

The secret of the American retail : being creative

Urban Outfitters, New York

In the US, retail relies mainly on concepts, ideas and on a true vision to be competitive and make the difference with the other brands. There is a lot of niche businesses, but the success of the American retail also comes from unusual products or services and a special user experience. American brands seem to beat the others thanks to their creativity. Here are a few study cases that are interesting.

 “It can be a mistake to try to seduce a mass of customers, because trying to satisfy everyone means taking the risk to satisfy no one in the long run”.


Urban Outfitters, an unique concept

Over the last 15 years, Urban Outfitters has become a reference as a creative brand and has been more and more profitable worldwide. To the CEO’s point of view, 3 things can explain this success.

First of all, the brand targets a very specific audience on purpose. It can be a mistake to try to seduce a mass of customers, because trying to satisfy everyone means taking the risk to satisfy no one in the long run. Urban Outfitters made the choice to target students in priority and the company does everything to seduce them.

Also, the brand mostly hires people coming from design and art schools. As a result, there are employees with a good sense of aesthetic at every level of the hierarchy, from management to the set up in the shops. UO guesses that these people are more sensible to the concept of the brand thus more inclined to have some new ideas and to take some initiatives.

The company decided that all the UO shops around the world could be different as well. Managers don’t have any restriction or direction to follow to arrange the shop they are in charge of. They can use the logo the way they want, they can set up the products the way they like and that way, every store can fit the local target best.

Storefront at Henri Bendel
Bergdorf Goodman
Anthropologie store
Boutique Goop, New York

Target and its partnerships to make the difference

For years, Target uses some collaborations to differentiate from the competitors and create some leads towards its shops. In 2011, Target released a limited collection in collaboration with Missoni. The company also makes sure to make most of these collaborations continue over the years. Everytime, the goal is the same : the will to offer something different, and the ambition for some well-known designers to provide good products at a good price.

At the occasion of Christmas 2012, Target set up a partnership with Neiman Marcus and 24 famous designers like Marc Jacobs, Caroline Herrera, Diane Von Furstenberg, to supply 50 novel objects. Target also collaborated with Jason Wu for a limited collection of clothing and accessories, with the interior designer Berkus or even with the brand Champion. In the end, Target succeeded in showing an unfailing creativity.


Some brands with a creative concept

The US is well-known for its unusual and even unlikely concepts.

  • Dollar General has been very successful by providing a big chain of stores where everything is sold for 1$.
  • In another field, Big Lots is a chain of stores specialised in clearance sales and wholesales.There are 1500 stores selling products of all kind of brands around the country.
  • Cariloha is a textile brand that sells products made out of bamboo fiber. The concept is being declined in a big number of franchises.
  • In a Rent-A-Center shop, you can rent anything for the housing : beds, sofas, artworks, computer equipment. What you can find there is endless and there are close to 3000 stores in the US.

At the end of the day, American retail makes a difference by transforming all the ideas and concepts into a really strong and profitable businesses.