After a surprise profit warning from DFS last week and other homeware retailers reportedly feeling the squeeze in spending, 2017 looks set to be an even tougher year for the UK Home market. In an increasingly fragmented environment with an increasing number of smaller players and disruptors trying to take a slice from the big names we took a look at how one of the UK’s most recent entrants, DUKA, is faring. DUKA entered the UK market last year with its first store in Brent Cross. It sells Scandinavian-inspired kitchenware, glassware and gifts and plans to open a further 10 stores in the UK over the next year. Our research showed that whilst there’s big appetite for Scandi-inspired living, DUKA needs to ensure the in-store experience and product design differentiate enough to get to stick around.
Store experience needs to immerse shoppers in more ideas and new news
The DUKA interior definitely comes across as modern, but it errs on the side of feeling too clinical and bland for shoppers. The sheer amount of product in the store makes it tricky to convey a slightly more premium, minimalist feel that the price points appear to be demanding. Whilst some appealing products capture the eye in windows and front-of-store displays, overall there’s desire to see more love put into inspiring shoppers to tempt them to keep browsing. The store experience relies heavily on product to add colour and interest versus fixtures, and with a lot of white wooden product it then becomes doubly tricky to create bold talking points. In the few seconds it has to convince shoppers that there’s a reason to keep browsing, DUKA needs to work harder to use more interesting display mechanics and bring to life more ideas for refreshing the home.
Design needs to be braver to stand out
It’s hard for shoppers to easily gauge what this brand is about and the reason for buying into it when browsing the store. The product doesn’t instantly shout out Scandi nor does it feel like there are clear colour stories or trends. Whilst there’s lots of ‘nice’ items in-store it’s hard to gauge how this brand is different from anywhere else and why it warrants the price. The location in Brent Cross doesn’t help with this challenge, situated next to Fenwick’s and close to John Lewis, both with strong homeware departments at similar price points. For example, DUKA’s tableware is all white and lacking variety; a stark contrast to John Lewis who are introducing more colourful ranges. To really make an impact in a market where there are already strong players with classic, quality and well-priced ranges, innovative products with a sense of uniqueness are needed.
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