One of Australia’s most innovative online shoe retailers, Shoes of Prey have gone from strength-to strength since their launch in 2009. Their website offers ladies a unique opportunity to design their perfect pair of heels from a choice of 12 core designs, which are then handmade to order and delivered to their door. Since their launch four years ago, this combination of exclusive and original service, coupled with a fresh marketing approach mean that the brand has experienced strong growth, proving extremely popular with online shoppers.
Whilst this online model has been very successful, recent feedback from customers highlighted a growing need for them to get physical – shoppers wanted to see the shoe styles, feel the range of materials used to produce them and try them on to see how they fit. So – demonstrating an impressively swift response to customer opinion – this January Shoes of Prey revealed an exciting new retail concept as they opened their first boutique on the fourth floor of Australian department store, David Jones in Sydney.
Michael Fox, CEO of Shoes of Prey describes the shift to omni-channel retailing:
“Women are able to try sample shoes on, see and touch the leathers and get great design advice from our Customer Happiness Wonder people in store.”
The aim was to create an exciting and original retail store design, as an extension of the Shoes of Prey brand, without emulating other international stores or current retail design trends.
By observing the established culture of innovation within the business, their retail design team were able to replicate the store’s existing online presence in a physical form.
Matt Newell, from store designers ‘The General Store’ describes the process:
“Firstly, custom designed shoes are still a niche concept in Australian retail. We needed to create a store that would attract shoppers from a distance and explain the concept in an inspiring way. That’s why we developed the striking two metre high flower sculpture that is made entirely of shoes. It celebrates the beauty of the product as well as the creative potential of the design tool…”
“Secondly, designing shoes in store requires high levels of dwell time, so the retail environment needed to be inspiring and immersive.”
The retail concept of the store is bold and dramatic with black walls and brightly lit neon coloured shoes arranged as bouquets of flowers. The centrepiece is the 8 foot high sculptural shoe-flower tree, set into a circular table where six iPads are laid out, offering customers the chance to design their own shoes. Staff are on hand to advise them, with access to almost 200 coloured swatches of the different fabrics and leathers used to create the shoes so that they can see and feel the different materials and see how the different textures and shades might complement each other in their chosen design.
The sculpture at the centre of the table also houses a set of built-in speakers and perfume atomisers, pumping out a specially composed sound track and the store’s own ‘Shoes of Prey’ scent.
The boutique is stocked with an impressive range of shoe sizes from a small 12 to a large 14 (European 31 – 49) in store for customers to try for size, ensuring that they get the right fit for their design. Once customers have finished their design on the iPad they pay for their shoes (prices range from around £100 to £250) which are then handmade to their specifications and delivered to their home within 4-6 weeks.