Caine’s Arcade: A True Global Retailer of the Year

There were many great and successful retailers in 2012, but Caine Monroy was probably global ‘Retailer of the Year’. Caine was just 9 years old, but his creativity & determination earned him more than 10 million YouTube views, as well as global TV stations picking up his story. Forbes magazine explained why Caine will be a future billionaire and Justin Timberlake tweeted “my new favourite entre­pre­neur”. If you haven’t come across his story yet, visit Caine’s Arcade online and get your own shot of inspiration.

Store Closed But Top Store Ranking is Secured

The retailer of the year needs to grow up, so his store is closed in the meantime, but his inspiration continues. We’re sorry that we missed the store because going by our online observations, he would have got one of our highest store assessment rankings. Sure, the store location is not where you normally would go, but the key is to look at the appearance of it and what he made out of it regardless.

Caine's Arcade

Caine in front of his arcade (Photo: Caine’s Arcade)


Community support that launched his brand (Photo: Caine’s Arcade)

Visual merchandising, consumer engagement, salesmanship, customer service, creative pricing, promotional specials – wherever you look from a professional perspective, it’s all there and it’s what makes the store such a great experience. Situated in a non-descript location, with a store appearance that your normally wouldn’t dare to put your brand on, Caine managed to transform it, by giving it all the colour and excitement possible. It’s this that made people from around the world take notice, watch and get inspired. Caine’s story is a modern Internet fairy tale and the inspiration he created is at least as interesting as the boy’s story. If you have some time, check out the story of how Caine’s arcade went viral, or when Bill Clinton’s bodyguard breached security rules. Possibly his largest action was inspiring kids in more than 50 countries to start their own cardboard challenges.

Did Caine Inspire Pokémon Go?

We can’t say how much the developers of Pokémon Go copied from Caine, but for sure Caine got people to go out and meet at weird places, long before Pokémon did. If you consider the creativity he triggered without an app and with zero marketing budget, it really was a great job. Above all, it’s a story about a store and if the store is unique and you’re dedicated to creating great experiences, people will talk about it.

Let’s take a last piece of advice from him and see what Caine noted* about his retail experience:

  1. Be nice to customersWH8Pw
  2. Do a business that is fun
  3. Do not give up (Caine circled and underlined it three times)
  4. Start with what you have
  5. Use recycled stuff

*Noted on an Air France sick bag when returning from a trip to France in the summer of 2013.

Caine, we hope you come back to retail, create more great experiences for all of us and maybe even become the Retailer of the Year in 2031. We promise we’ll come to see that store!

About the Author

Guido is a brand & retail manager who has been working for 25+ years with small and high profile retailers & brands in Europe, Asia & the Middle East. As founder of Team Retail Excellence, he assisted entrepreneurs and managers to successfully grow their brand distribution. Guido is currently working on a book of global best practices for brand growth management, while he continues to coach brands on their strategic growth path. You reach him best by email or see more from him here.

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