The World’s first New Balance Experience Store

Located in Beijing’s upscale and historical Qianmen Avenue, the Worlds first New Balance Experience store was proudly showcased over two floors in August 2009 with a planned 1,000 more outlets to open throughout China. With veteran experience of 103 years, the century long brand started out in Boston, the city of marathons, with a goal to reinvent running shoes with better arch support systems for its runners. As New Balance continues to lead in innovation while remaining firmly rooted to its heritage, this has become the inspiration behind this store’s concept.

The store’s ambiance is very nostalgic with interior design drawing heavily from the 1950’s and 60’s.

The walls are adorned with archival photographs, vintage New Balance advertisements and brand paraphernalia dating as far back as 1910. A DNA ribbon leads the consumer through New Balance’s
chronological journey.

Equal Strategy has helped transport consumers back in time and invokes a sense of history by inviting customers to a complete sensory engagement by using music, fragrance and audio messages.
As the brand connects with its customers five senses, it creates resonance and establishes long-term loyalty.

With its bold move from a wholesale to a retail mentality, the store needs to reflect the brand’s essence not just visually but also through the sense of smell and hearing.

The New Balance signature scent

Equal Strategy worked together with New Balance to define a scent which would be reminiscent of a mid-20th-century shoe shop which leads to the development of a fragrance with natural rich woody notes and a touch of leather which is diffused throughout the store.

Best Background Music For Retail Stores:

Styled background music

The 1950’s atmosphere was further complimented by this era’s “bebop” music with the sounds of Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis being played as consumers shop and bop.

In addition to this, Equal Strategy have pre-recorded interlaced messages which direct customers to check out the merchandise on the second floor, and repeatedly highlights New Balance’s unique performance DNA concept.

The Worlds first New Balance experience store was all about conveying the brand’s history and heritage over a century of business, and create this ‘time capsule’ look and feel. The customer and management response has been hugely encouraging as sensory branding has fast become the brave new world of retail.

Results speak for themselves
  • Over 200 Million hits on sneaker, fashion, and social networking websites!
  • US$ 2.5 Million of PR value generated in just 4 weeks. Less than 20% of that value was spent on building and marketing the new store.
  • Footfall increased by 2 ½ times from 1,000 to 2,500 per day
  • NB’s experience store’s average transaction value (ATV) is double the rest of NB retail in Beijing.
  • Items sold per transaction (IPT) is 50% higher than the rest of the first quality NB stores in Beijing.

Darren Tucker (Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific Region) says
“Qianmein Dajie for us has changed the way customers – both retailers and end
consumers view the brand New Balance in China. The importance of the concept in taking the brand up a few notches in their eyes cannot be underestimated.”

Bob Neville (Regional Retail Manager, Asia Pacific Region ) comments
“We are very pleased with the way the music, messaging and specially formulated New Balance ‘aroma’ integrate within the built three-dimensional aspect of the New Balance Experience store. We want to create a brand experience that is totally reflective of the brand essence and as such this has to go beyond what you see and encompass all of the human senses.”

Michael Wellman (Managing Director, China) shares
“After Qianmein opened, some of the top developers, have approached us on their own wanting to get this concept opened in their developments.”