Using Culture Segments to shape retail offers

Since 2014, the Retail Operations Manager at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki has used Culture Segments to inform product range and development, something that’s proven particularly useful for temporary exhibition ranges.

Through commissioning MHM to carry out formative exhibition testing and conducting simple in-house qualitative research, the Gallery has been able to match up suitable products with the segments most likely to attend specific shows.

The retail preferences of the Culture Segments

The Gallery’s core retail segments are Stimulation, Essence and Expression.

Stimulation are spontaneous, pay close attention to design features and like products that reflect well on their self-brand. Product development for this segment is influenced by international, edgy design and limited editions.

Essence are the bigger spenders, with a preference for exclusive products inspired by the collections. In response, the Gallery develops higher price point products, often through collaboration with artists. Examples include limited edition perfume and hand-crafted pearl earrings for the 2018 The Corsini Collection: A Window on Renaissance Florence exhibition.

As the Gallery’s core segment, Expression are always a key consideration. Typically more price sensitive than Essence, they pay attention to provenance and how a product ‘feels’. They don’t want plastic packaging and look for local items made in a sustainable way. A brown recycled box is much better than a shrink-wrap.

Positive impact on revenue

Between 2016 and 2018, shop turnover has increased 20%. Although several factors have contributed to this success, the Retail Operations Manager identifies Culture Segments as having a significant positive impact.

The system helps the Gallery to think outside the box when it comes to the product range process, considering a range of purchase needs and motivations and positively supporting its commercial sustainability.

Photography David St George. Courtesy Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki