Anthropologie Opens at Jordan Creek Town Center in Des Moines

Anthropologie DressesWhile often viewed as a women’s fashion retailer, Anthropologie is best-described as an urban lifestyle brand. The company offers a diverse blend of stylish fashion and apparel, home decor, gifts and accessories. The newest store in the chain just opened in the Jordan Creek Town Center in Des Moines. I am definitely not a part of the company’s target market, but visiting new retailers in Des Moines gives me first-hand perspectives that I can share with classes.

Anthropologie Competitive Advantages

As an urban lifestyle brand targeting young adult women women, Anthropologie already operates in a relatively niche retail sector. However, a key point of distinction even within its specialty markets is the company’s “found” items. These are refurbished decor and style items displayed on the sales floor and walls. Interestingly, these items are integrated directly into the visual merchandising strategy. When a customer comments on a particular item, or expresses interest in it, it creates a value-added selling opportunity for an associate.

Culture and Atmosphere

The culture and atmosphere inside the Jordan Creek Anthropologie, and the chain in general, are very charming and inviting. The store is very well lit, with beautiful aesthetics and displays, and a well-spaced layout. Efficient wall utilization and quaint rooms carved out for pantry items and sales add to the charm. Scented candles are used to fill the store with pleasant smells as well.

Anthropologie Wall

Anthropologie vs. Urban Outfitters

If you ask someone to describe Anthropologie, it is highly likely a knowledgeable respondent will note its comparisons to Urban Outfitter. The similarities aren’t ironic, as these chains are both owned and operated by Urban Inc. The parent company also owns Terrain, Free People and BHLDN.

A central difference between these two retailers is their price points. Anthropologie targets a slightly more upscale buyer; a young professional interested in a particular style and lifestyle. Products purchases are simply the result of a consumer recognizing the way in which the brand appeals to their individuality. Urban Outfitters has slightly younger female audience, and more traditional product marketing tactics are employed.

My Customer Experience

I was fortunate enough to receive a personalized tour from a supervisor when visiting the Des Moines Anthropologie store shortly after it opened. I have a student in class who works there as an associate. While you don’t need a personal connection to request a tour of the store, it was fun to experience the store and its atmosphere in such a way. I definitely got a sense for the genuine passion for the company and its brands from the management team and its workers.

Conclusions

Among specialty fashion retailers, Anthropologie definitely stands out as a unique lifestyle brand. Even if you don’t have a direct inclination to shop at the store, the customer experience delivers a lot of great insights on consumer psychology. Plus, the decor and “found” items have appeal beyond the primary audience.

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Neil Kokemuller

Neil Kokemuller has been a Professor of Marketing at Des Moines Area Community College since 2004. Prior to teaching, he worked as a marketing specialist and retail manager. He holds an MBA from Iowa State University

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