Each week in association with retail and marketing consultancy Pragma, MarketingWeek.co.uk looks at a high-profile UK brand, assessing its performance against a range of criteria and offering suggestions to improve its overall score. Marks for each section are given out of five stars, while the overall rating is given at the end of the review.
Paperchase is the leader in design led and innovative stationery in the UK. It has been trading for over 30 years, has 100 outlets in the UK and is now opening stores in the USA. It also has two huge London and Manchester flagships (3 floors each and coffee shops) and is becoming widely known as the quality card and gift store. However, whilst it is has consolidated its market, more brand building is required as competition increases from non-specialists who are attracted by the high margins and the space-saving nature of the product.
The experience does vary according to whether it is a standard Paperchase store, flagship store or concession (found in Borders and House of Fraser stores). The two flagship stores are a haven for customers wanting choice and a stylish environment. Concessions, of course, are smaller but provide easy to access to popular ranges. Railway station stores are a little cramped. The Paperchase brand represents design and quality and while some stores are too small to enjoy the full range of products, the experience is nearly always a positive one.
Paperchase is great at capitalising on special occasions. During the lead up to Valentine’s Day the stores took on a red/pink theme coupled with an excellent range of Valentine’s gifts and stationery.
The product is quirky and fun and sits well in the concessions. Surprisingly 3 floors of stationery, cards and gifts in the flagships does not seem too much as thoughtful merchandising and displays adequately fill the stores. Products are bright (e.g. multicoloured notebooks, and gift wrap) and useful (Muji-esque storage boxes). With occasion-themed gifts that offer a modern alternative to the standard high street fare, the only concern is that the product has a limited appeal.
Value Positioning ***
Paperchase is not aimed at the value conscious who can pick up much less expensive stationery at their local supermarket or high street retailer. What these stores cannot offer is the same quality of design or innovation, or even the breadth of range. Paperchase is not cheap, but it does offer some value for money. You can purchase better quality cards and stationery at Paperchase for less than the premium ranges of its competitors.
• Aim to widen customer base with ranges for the more mature market.
• Innovative marketing aimed to attract new customers and promote the Paperchase experience.
• Eliminate some of the ‘gimmicky’ gifts that may distract from the overall offer.
• Consider some new ranges to stimulate interest.