My opinion on Sostrene Grene Store in Paris
It is striking to see how the European home decor market has been disrupted over the last years by creative brands such as Muji, Zara Home, H&M Home or Hema. Now the time has come to get to know Flying Tiger and Sostrene Grene, both Scandinavian ambitious contenders that consistently pop up in French shopping malls since a few months.
In that context, Sostrene Grene has recently opened a store in one of the most sought-after mass market shopping mall in central Paris : Forum des Halles. Sostrene Grene’s French network comprises already 10 stores and its expansion is likely to continue in the months and years to come since we see how French customers react enthusiastically each time.
Created in the 1970’s in Denmark by two sisters, Sostrene Green has now around 180 stores in Europe, 50% of them still in its home country. The brand, now controlled by their sons, has recently decided to expand abroad aggressively and can rely on several competitive advantages to beat the market.
Let’s look at them in detail.
1 – Visual merchandising
At Forum des Halles, the store is made appealing thanks to a large and beautiful storefront where numerous coloured items are perfectly laid out in a neat and elegant artistic direction. The lighting has been designed to be 100% focused on products thanks to a net contrast with the dark coloured top and bottom walls.
The baskets near the entrance are there to remind you that Sostrene Grene is a place where compulsive buying is encouraged.
2 – The tone and the state of mind
Once you enter the store, you cannot miss the signage system that has been designed to immerse you in a positive mood. It’s like the Grene sisters are welcoming you in their own house. Thoughtful messages are displayed throughout the store whereas aggressive promotional posters are banned.
3 – The customer path
Sostene Grene’s store will remind you of Ikea or even Flying Tiger. You are “forced” to follow a unique path that winds around the shelves and the different sections. In addition, as all the items are disposed 50 cm above ground level, the store makes it easier for everyone to get in touch with them easily.
4 – The store concept
You may be surprised by the relatively small size of the store compared to the generous storefront that drags you in there. However, the amount of items available is pretty impressive. They are broken down into several dedicated sections: interior design, stationery, gift wapping, crafts, kitchen utensils, toys and a few food products. Each of them are renewed on a regular basis so that customers are encouraged to buy them quickly before they run out from the shelves. A technique that proves to be successful in the fast fashion business as well.
4 – Value for money
Sostrene Grene’s prices are so agressive that you can compare them to those of cheap home decor discounters that offer poorly designed items made in China. But at Sostene Grene, the products are neat and elegant thanks to their sleek Scandinavian design that appeal to almost everyone. The brand clearly targets home decor fans that usually find their inspiration in magazines and dedicated websites and who find there a fantastic opportunity to treat themselves. Without breaking the bank. Furthermore, the fact that the prices are not rounded-up also contributes to a strengthen the store’s price image.
5 – The brand DNA
Sostrene Grene is telling its visitors a pleasant and charming story. One of two Danish sisters involved in sharing the “hygge” feeling, a mix of happiness, comfort and warm relationships between people that only Scandinavian way of life is supposed to bring. And I can tell that you are on the verge to believe it. Once in the store, you feel immersed in a tale which would describe how the main character’s house is laid out.
My embedded opinion
In the retail world, experts are constantly declaring that physical stores need to be re-enchanted in order to survive against the relentless efficiency of digital commerce. Sostene Grene has got it right. And without any digital innovations and fixtures that are supposed to be vital nowadays.
However the brand is active on social networks to inspire, teach and engage their clients in its world. The right way to generate positive word-of-mouth and traffic to the stores.
At the end of the day, you leave Sostene Grene store with a smile on your face. And also with a little present for you or your friend that you carefully wrap up on the table near the check-out counter. Bravo.