Almost a year ago Europe’s newest concept store Wow Concept opened its doors for the first time, an innovative proposal that landed on Gran Vía boulevard in Madrid. It marked a new chapter in the career of Spanish businessman Dimas Gimeno who is the former president of department store chain El Corte Inglés and now founding partner and president of multi brand concept store Wow Concept. All of this in little over 365 days has led to a turnover of 50 million euros and Wow concept is on its way to a new round of financing with its sights set on a second establishment in the prestigious Serrano neighbourhood, also in Madrid.
The executive took part in the last day of the 2023 edition of the World Retail Congress which took place in Barcelona last week. FashionUnited has had the opportunity to take stock the first year of Wow Concept through an interview with its founder and visionary.
"Make a lot of mistakes, quickly but above all, inexpensively"
As in any new adventure, every step is full of difficulties: "setting up the project, choosing the locations, finding talent" are difficulties inherent to this journey from which it is practically impossible to succeed without making mistakes. You have to make mistakes "a lot", but also "quickly and, above all, cheaply", Gimeno recommends before confessing that in his case "it has not been as cheap as he would have liked".
In short, the first year of a project that was built from nothing has been shaped by "a lot of learning - which was foreseen - and has prepared us to face the present and the future in a far better way because we already know a little more than we did at the beginning".
A second Madrid location
The opening of the new Wow Concept, which will occupy the location of the closed El Corte Inglés on Madrid's Serrano street, is planned for the second half of the year. A somewhat hasty decision and one that has come somewhat earlier than Gimeno would consider "logical" as regards to the first location having been opened only a year ago. However, as the former president of El Corte Inglés told FashionUnited, "you have to take advantage of opportunities when they arise", and he is convinced that Serrano street "it is the best possible location in all of Spain", so "we could not let it slip away", he concluded.
The biggest challenge now, but also "the most beautiful thing of all", according to its CEO, is to ensure that two shops that are very close and have the same concept, complementing each other by offering something completely different.
Impulsive customers versus more thoughtful customers
Madrid’s centrally-located Gran Vía boulevard is a tourist destination, which means that the customer visiting the shop is predominantly international. When "passing through", consumers show "more impulsive" buying attitudes, which means that the organisation of the product offering and, in general, your proposal must be sufficiently powerful to "convince a customer who does not enter your store with the intention of buying anything".
It is therefore a customer who, motivated by an exclusive or differential product, cannot pass up the opportunity to buy that product, influenced by the idea that he or she will not find it again anywhere else other than in the city they are about to leave.
This learning process has resulted in a simpler offering at the store, which focuses on the world of streetwear and sneakers, as well as categories such as accessories and beauty, which "have worked very well", Dimas Gimeno assured FashionUnited.
In the second store however, to be located in the Serrana neighbourhood, they plan to showcase a more “toned-down offering” as they believe that the (mainly local) customer in the prestigious area of the capital will show a more reflective shopping attitude. But at the same time, Serrano is a street where "luxury is booming", Gimeno said, and this only attracts high-end tourism to the area, a trend that Wow Concept wants to take advantage of so as to enable different trends to complement each other positively.
How do you get a company's market value to around 50 million in one year?
Gimeno sums up the key to their success in having managed to create a brand in a very short time "that offers a unique, innovative and differential product offering", with the added bonus of a good location.
Although digital is currently at the centre of conversations in the sector, the executive, who has extensive experience in the retail sector, does not hesitate to say that, although they are motivated by obtaining their own unique and differential technology, "brands today are looking more for the physical rather than the digital aspect, because the digital is already more than covered" by a wide variety, which makes them more reluctant to participate in a digital venture that does not have any value for them.
Today, brands are looking to physical shops to help them "create community and approach customers in new ways", he concluded.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.ES. Translation and editing from Spanish into English: Veerle Versteeg.