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What Is the Definition of a Flagship Store?

As a retailer, it’s important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of having a flagship store. Understanding how a flagship store works can help you determine whether having one can help you grow your business. Keep reading to learn more about flagship stores—including their advantages and disadvantages. You’ll also find examples of famous flagship locations and frequently asked questions.

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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.

Related:Maximizing Warehousing Space for Your Small Business

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.

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