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Rebel leads in experiential store design with two Inside Retail award wins

From shooting hoops and playing virtual games, to getting an athlete’s advice on the perfect running shoe, Rebel knows what customers want – a fully immersive and interactive shopping experience.

Step inside Rebel’s Parramatta new concept store, and you’ll discover an innovative and hyper-immersive shopping experience. From the indoor basketball court and virtual games like FIFA, to cutting-edge technology and passionate staff, the Rebel team has aimed to deliver everything a customer could want from a sports store. 

Now their efforts have been recognised at Inside Retail’s 2021 Retailer Awards, presented by Commonwealth Bank, where Rebel took home Best Store Design/Concept of the Year, along with the Customer Experience of the Year (Medium to Large Business) award.

Bringing the brand promise to life

Sylvain Baudens, Rebel’s General Manager of Finance and Portfolio Strategy, said it was a proud moment for the entire Rebel team.

“It was a huge cross-functional project that took a lot of time, effort and energy, so to be recognised by our peers and the retail industry was a really good feeling,” he said.

Opened last year in the midst of the pandemic, Rebel’s Parramatta store is the latest in its experiential retail offering and only the second in Australia to be launched as part of its new RCX (Rebel Customer Experience) strategy. According to Baudens, RCX is designed to make Rebel a frontrunner, not just in Australia, but globally.

“I think a lot of brands are really focusing on what customers are saying to make the retail experience better. With our RCX store concept, partnering with Nike and taking global learnings into consideration, we have repositioned Rebel among the best-in-class sports stores worldwide, and that’s no small achievement.”

The judging panel clearly agreed, recognising Rebel’s success in positioning itself as the ‘home of sport’. Panellist Jerry Macey, Commonwealth Bank Executive Manager of Consumer and Diversified Industries, said the store not only offered customers a fun and fulfilling retail experience, it was also a physical expression of Rebel’s brand promise. 

“This award is further proof that retailers who can offer an authentically fulfilling experience can continue to draw customers in-store, even during a pandemic,” he said. “Customer experience is something we’re passionate about, so we’re delighted to have this opportunity to back retailers like Rebel and help them bring their vision to life.”

Adding value through interaction

While recent years have unquestionably been challenging for bricks-and-mortar retailers, Sylvain said he is confident physical stores have a bright future – provided they continue to innovate. But he also said retailers need to focus now on adding value in-store, using a combination of technology and personalised interactions to create a truly unique experience.

“The retail landscape has been shifting for many years, even before 2020 and 2021,” he said. “Digital will take a bigger place, and this is only being pushed by COVID-19, so retailers need to offer an experience in store that consumers can’t get at home while browsing the web.” 

While that can mean harnessing technology, it also means creating engaging personal interactions that simply aren’t possible online. 

“The passion and expertise from the team on the floor, the range and presentation of products, together with technology like QR codes … you need to provide a real reason for people to visit. That’s why we’ve introduced interactive games, a soccer room and a basketball court where you can try the latest LeBron James shoes and have fun with friends. It brings life to the store.”

Gary Williams, Rebel’s Managing Director, said the next step for Rebel is to roll the RCX strategy out across their top stores around the country. If the Parramatta iteration is anything to go by, it’s likely to be a successful strategy, according to Macey.

“Rebel’s Parramatta store is a great example of what smart design can achieve when underpinned by genuine customer insights,” he said. “The retailers we talk to tell us that creating a personal connection with the customer is increasingly important, so it’s great to see an iconic Aussie brand put it into practice in such a compelling way.”

CommBank is dedicated to supporting Australian retailers to achieve their vision. For more information on how we can help your business visit commbank.com.au/retailinsights or email us at insights@cba.com.au

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