A Winning Retail Format in Just 100 Days
Ranking 10th among the world’s largest economic powers and fourth in Asia, South Korea’s retail market may be fast-growing, but so is the influx of competitors.
Emart, the country’s largest retailer and Korea’s first hypermarket, wanted to ensure it could maintain its competitive advantage and provide customers with novel new ways to shop. Besides sharpening the value proposition of its hypermarket flagship, Emart knew it needed to explore new retail concepts to achieve transformative growth.
Prophet worked with Emart to explore alternate retail formats that would resonate with consumers’ unique and evolving behaviors. One of the three new businesses our team developed was a warehouse shopping concept to compete with the likes of Costco and Sam’s Club launching in the region. The biggest challenge? Emart wanted to launch the warehouse format in just 100 days.
Prophet was tasked to develop the customer strategy, brand positioning and design the store concept. With just over three months to take the initial idea from the Chairman’s whiteboard sketch to the doors opening, Prophet’s agile team moved fast. We worked closely with Emart in weekly sprints to create the name, Emart Traders, and develop a differentiated brand identity. We then partnered with Emart’s implementation teams to build out the first store.
To stand out against the competition, Traders’ customer experience needed to make consumers feel like smart shoppers. It had to offer the emotional thrill that comes from getting a good deal on top-quality items. And it had to be fun.
Traders launched with a significant competitive difference – unlike Costco or Sam’s Club, it has no membership fees. The store features a warehouse aesthetic, including pallets, industrial fixtures and wood finishes suggestive of packing crates. The merchandising strategy is founded on a distinct shopping experience of discovering unbeatable offers. With right-out-of-the-box freshness in every aisle, Traders offers a tailored product mix seeing value-priced and high-quality store brands housed side-by-side.
The first Traders store opened with great success, generating $100 million in sales in its first year. It has subsequently grown to include 20 locations, creating a $1 billion brand in five years. With gross sales up 26.4% year on year, Traders has become a continuous growth engine for Emart, helping it outpace other retail formats in the market and contributing nearly a fifth of total revenue for the group.
USD Sales generated in the first year
Stores opened since launch
Dollar-brand created in five years