Retail is dead … or is it?

Julian Jones
December 16, 2013


Retail is in trouble. Everybody knows that. How can high-street businesses compete with the myriad online stores now offering an abundance of cheaper options? Every man and his glow-in-the-dark dog bowl is selling online these days.

As our offices are located in a fashionable inner-city retail strip, I’m constantly walking past stores and lamenting the number that sadly proclaim CLOSING DOWN from their windows.

But recently a new business opened in one of these vacated stores, which won’t have to compete with online competition.

Take-away tattoo, anyone?

Well, not quite take-away, but think about it. This is a purchase that relies totally on the in-store experience. Sure, a little online research beforehand is a good idea just to see what the latest B-grade celebrity or sporting personality is wearing down one arm, but ultimately you will have to go in-store with head down and bum up (figuratively speaking, in most cases).

Although we used to think of tattooists working in some murky hovel in a gritty neighbourhood, it’s not surprising that one has opened in a trendy suburb, replete with all the trimmings of a designer brand. Given the conservative popularisation of this ‘must-have’ accessory – a literal emblem of our current era of personal branding – it could just be a perfect fit. They have targeted their demographic, offer a unique service for this particular location, and provide not just a desirable but mandatory in-store experience.

So next time I wander down to Country Road I may just drop in and pick up a No.13 from the new store’s beautifully presented menu, to go with my new chinos. Come to think of it, maybe I can snag a holiday special. I missed the Halloween promotion they had going, but maybe I can pick up a Santa sleeve cheaply on Boxing Day – if only to show my support for a traditional icon in a changing world.

Julian Jones is a Senior Designer at Wellmark

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"Something the locksmith had not grasped, but which the IT company and consulting firms understood all too well, is the role played by justifying bullshit in the modern economy." Brilliant stuff from Rory Sutherland, as always.

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