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What lessons can you learn from a discount fashion retailer?

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Two headlines caught my eye today as they appeared side by side in my newsfeed.

On first glance, they seemed contradictory.

The first was that the UK lost nearly 2,500 shops and stores last year and the second is that discount fashion retailer Primark has just invested £70m in a new store in Birmingham.

This new store covers 161,000 sq ft over five floors and features a Disney-themed cafe, a beauty studio, a gents hairdresser and a Harry Potter themed section.

If the UK is closing thousands of stores, and a recent department store has just fallen into administration why would a brand invest £70m in a new store?

The answer is that they are not building a store, they are building an experience.

It's clearly not enough to just stack products and open the doors anymore. You have to offer more to entice people in through the doors.

This is why Toys R Us failed in the end. I maintain that if they had reduced shelf space and installed soft play, cafes and product demonstration areas, they would have had a chance at turning around their failing business.

Primark has learned from other's mistakes. With themed "shops in shops" and child-friendly cafes, they are offering more than discount clothes.

It is exactly the same as your community. Offering a space to facilitate conversation is often not enough unless you dominate your niche.

Are you known for well thought out reviews? Perhaps you write valuable articles that get people to your site.

Or you might be focusing on building an audience with a photo competition as Helen from The Dogly Mail has.

What are you doing to encourage more people through your doors?

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