As many ready-to-wear retailers are struggling (C&A, Kiabi…) and disappearing from medium-sized towns, a new kind of store, that could be described as “neo-bazaar”, seems to be in quite a good shape. Neo-Bazars sell everything at affordable prices. Their products are not always useful but they’re always trendy. In this group you’ll find the Dutch brand Hema (180 retail outlets in France), the Danish Flying Tiger Copenhagen (about sixty stores in France) and Auchan’s Little Extra. Normal is also part of the family. It has just opened its first Parisian address, at Passage du Havre, right next door to Saint-Lazare train station, and two other stores just outside the French capital. Last – of this list – but not least comes Action, a stock clearance specialist, unknown to Parisians despite 450 stores located on the outskirts of cities without any advertising (Action is the current third favorite French brand behind Decathlon and Leroy Merlin…).

These brands sell similar products (home and cosmetics in the foreground, food in the background) supported by rich, yet neat, visual merchandising and sharing a common ambition: to trigger impulse purchase. This has long been the fuel of consumption and needs to be resurrected because it is dying. Indeed, impulse buying is decreasing because of ever-changing offers, permanent sales and ongoing questioning to the point of stopping the act of purchase (where do these products come from, how were they processed, are they environmentally friendly?).

To achieve this goal, the solution is to know how to stage rare and surprising products in order to constantly give customers new reasons to buy. This is the spearhead of neo-bazaars. Getting away from the mere promise of low prices is absolutely inevitable. Tati’s recent withdrawal from the market is a terrible reminder. While price accessibility is obviously the key of success, it is not in the spotlight. It comes after the feeling of discovering an offer that sticks with the moment’s values and codes without looking as if it was designed for a particular target.

No form of consumption should recall an economic or social reality. That makes the difference between “discount” and “smart discount”…

So What ?

Visual upgrading in order to avoid being seen as a crisis business and reaching the most diversified customers as possible with the feeling of "letting go without breaking the bank": this is the winning equation of neo-bazaars.

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