Leadership & Communication / Other

Innovation in Retail – How Stylerunner are Disrupting the Industry

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Hefty competition from overseas players and a turbulent economic climate, mean that Australian retailers are having to fight harder than ever before to achieve targeted rates of sales growth.

With this in mind, Australian sportswear curator Stylerunner have certainly been packing a few punches recently, with a number of inspiring and innovative PR ventures.

Stylerunner, who offer a curation of the world’s best sports brands in a single platform, have been creating quite a buzz (not to mention profit!), with their latest marketing efforts.

The idea of a “concept store” came about in Japan when Stylerunner Founder and CEO Julie Stevanja fell in love with the way certain stores had created different zones to showcase their products. She felt a similar aesthetic was needed to do justice to the 70 plus brands within Stylerunner’s repertoire.

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Stevanja opened up an eight week concept store, and has been using it as a space to house events like hip-hop yoga, high-intensity interval training, and celebrity lock-ins. The events, which have been monetised through sponsorship from various brands curated by the store, offer an immersive, unique and engaging experience and have been generating an enormous frenzy of interest both from loyal and new customers.

“The concept stores are just a short term project, but they are able to provide a lot of data, which we can use to create permanent stores”, she told Informa. “The variety of the events we are hosting are also helping us to lure in different demographics, which is important given the variety of the brands we stock”.

Stylerunner have also put a creative spin on other marketing mediums. “We felt the concept of a traditional blog was old and ‘daggy’ and couldn’t see our customers getting passionate about subscribing to a retailer’s blog” she said. Yet the company was already responding to their Instagram following at least ten times per day and knew that there was a sufficient level of engagement to warrant one.

They instead launched a branded online magazine “Triple White” – covering everything from style to sneaker releases, health and fitness, technology, beauty and celebrities – which allowed them to communicate with their audience in a meaningful and interesting way.

Stylerunner’s innovative flair has even permeated their use of fashion photography. At first they differentiated from other brands by applying a dewy ‘sweat-like’ sheen to the skin and hair of models and, when other sportswear retailers began to imitate, further experimented by using hair braids and ‘warrior’ marks to add uniqueness to their imagery.

“It was a risk to our reputation”, says Julie, “but it really paid off. We received an enormous amount of positive feedback and saw a big increase in customer engagement and profits.”

Hear more from multi-award winning Julie Stevanja (pictured below) about innovation and disruption in retail at the Australian Financial Review’s forthcoming Retail Summit.

Julie will sit on a panel alongside the CEO’s of JB Hi-Fi and Temple & Webster, discussing the future of the sector and what key reforms are needed to encourage world-class innovation, productivity and competition.

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