The Mass Merch Scaling Challenge: Urban Shoppers - Medallion Retail
Strategy, Retail Marketing, In-Store Marketing

The Mass Merch Scaling Challenge: Urban Shoppers

POSTED ON: 03/20/18 mass merch scaling

Mass merch scaling. It seems like everyone is headed for the city, mass merchandisers included. Typically suburban-based, megastores like Kmart and Costco have traditionally subsisted on a broad swath of the population buying anything and everything within their doors.

But now these physical giants need to expand their thinking and their store portfolio. It’s time to truly target the next golden generation: the millennials who are building their lives in big cities. It’s time for mass merchandisers to start reaching them with more compact urban stores, and create authentic shopper moments that work on both a large and small scale.

[bctt tweet=”Setting up these urban shops opens a new horizon of possibility.” username=”medallionretail”] To pull it off and maintain brand continuity, companies have to dig deep, optimizing signage and displays that can stand out in a massive footprint, and scale down so as not to overwhelm a tighter floorplan.

Scale down and scale wisely

Some mass merchandisers are already leading the charge in urban moves. This past fall, Target launched a location in Herald Square, a neighborhood at the peak of foot traffic. The store boasts 43,000 square feet. Working with a third of their usual square footage, the retailer had to make big decisions about what products and brands earned a place in this urban locale.

To do this, the company had to be extra discerning. Clearly, not every piece of merchandise from their usual vast store could fit and perform effectively in this smaller footprint. So Target had to tap into a deeper understanding of their New York City shoppers – both for what they need and for what they crave – carefully curating their mix of products to generate maximum revenue per square foot.

But there’s more to urbanization than merchandising considerations. Beyond strategically deciding on products, brands can find success cross-promoting their locations. With clever, well-positioned signs (we’re talking both physically placed and strategically messaged!), retailers can entice shoppers to seek a broader experience at a larger store farther away.

It’s important that both large and compact stores retain the same look and feel to avoid brand image confusion. Scale your branding down for the urban “concept store,” and have it work seamlessly with the larger store experience.

Keeping this continuity across scales can be tricky, though. It requires a strategic eye that works beyond the creativity of developing branding materials. Tapping a specialty shop trained in scalability is a must for the suburban/urban mix.

Impress your audiences at every level

 Companies need to also consider the different shopping habits of this new, younger demographic. City dwellers are known for their fast-paced lifestyles. Leisurely shopping is still a hobby, but when it comes to megastores, urban consumers are generally on a mission and less inclined to wander.

Though 43,000 square feet is smaller than the typical Target outpost, it’s still a lot of ground for a shopper to cover. City shoppers want efficiency mixed with an impactful dose of surprise and delight. Make shopping time-saving as well as entertaining, and you’ll find shoppers who will come back for more.

One of the easiest ways to wow a shopper? Displays that are creative in design and functionality. With an urban store, this doesn’t mean bigger. Think outside the endcap box, play with dimension, and present a logo or product in an unexpected way. Break out of the norm and put everything on the table for consideration. A great display concept will also allow you to scale up or down depending on the store size.

Expanding your retail brand from suburban mass to urban compact takes strategic thinking and a mind for continuity. At Medallion Retail, we work with every size – from the boutique to the big-box. Email Michael Decker at, call 212-929-9130, or check out our portfolio at

Share this Article:

Ready to connect to your customers in a more meaningful way?