What is a flagship store?
A flagship store is a retailer’s primary location. While many consider it to be a store’s first retail store, retailers often reserve this title for the store that’s the most notable. A flagship store is typically:
- The largest store in a retailer’s chain
- The retailer’s most popular or busiest location
- The store with the most inventory
- The store with the highest-priced items
- The store that sells the most merchandise compared to other stores in the chain
- The most unique or experimental store in the chain
- The store with the best design execution and attention to detail
- The store that best embodies the retailer’s brand
Where does the term “flagship store” come from?
Flagship stores borrow their name from the ships in the front of a fleet. These ships are the largest, newest and most notable, which are characteristics shared by flagship retail establishments.
Examples of flagship stores
Many well-known brands have flagship stores that have become popular tourist attractions. Here are some examples of flagship locations in the U.S.
- Macy’s, 151 W 34th St, New York, NY
- Apple, 767 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
- AT&T Store, 600 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
- Tiffany & Co., 727 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
- LEGO, 630 Fifth Ave, New York, NY
- Tommy Hilfiger, 157 Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
- Lululemon, 114 5th Ave, New York, NY
- Gucci, 725 Fifth Ave, New York, NY
- Nordstrom, 500 Pine Street, Seattle, WA
Pros of a flagship store
Here are some advantages of having a flagship store:
- Moreflexibility:Often housed within large buildings, flagship stores allow you and your team a greater amount of flexibility when creating new and innovative concepts. This helps you create unique experiences while allowing your brand to evolve.
- Additional press:Opening a flagship store often generates buzz with both local and national press. In some cases, companies have a large ribbon-cutting ceremony. Overall, flagship stores help gain the interest of prospective customers and allow you to introduce the brand to the community.
- Increased customer loyalty: In addition to increasing brand recognition, a flagship store can increase customer loyalty. Flagship stores can be used for special events and sales to bring in new customers and keep current ones coming back.
- Branding benefits: A flagship store can be used as a branding and merchandising example for other stores. This helps retailers stay on brand and ensures customers have a consistently high-quality experience at every store location they visit.
Cons of a flagship store
Here are some of the drawbacks of a flagship store:
- Finding a location:Since many flagship stores are located in a big city’s high-end area, they’re often in historic districts. This means that instead of building a flagship store from scratch, you have to abide by certain district guidelines.
- More competition: Often, flagship stores are located in high-profile locations with other retailers’ flagship stores nearby—as can be seen on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Retailers may have more competition when close to a store that sells similar merchandise.
- Greater expectations:When you designate a flagship store, customers expect enhanced experiences. Creating a unique retail location costs additional time and money.
FAQs about flagship stores
What does it mean to be a flagship store?
Though there are several definitions of a flagship store, it’s mainly known for being a retailer’s primary location. Flagship stores often offer exclusive merchandise and a unique experience for tourists and regular customers.
Why is a flagship store important?
Flagship stores are important because they set an example for the rest of the stores in the chain. They’re essentially a physical representation of the retailer’s brand and often have noteworthy features and special promotions to attract customer and media attention.
What is a flagship model?
A flagship model involves a retailer’s strategy, business model, design and overall concepts. It uniquely blends a company’s service and sales in innovative ways. There’s no single aspect of a flagship model that’s the most important. Customer service and store staging, for example, are equally crucial to a flagship store’s success.
What are some tips for creating a flagship store?
Take the time to find the right location, determine if it provides enough benefits for you as a retailer and ensure you will have sufficient customer traffic—including tourists and regular walk-ins. It’s just as important to have new customers visiting your store as it is to have those who regularly shop there.