These Companies Are Reshaping Brick and Mortar Retail with Innovative In-Store Concepts
While technology will continue to play a huge part in the brick and mortar renaissance in 2017, there’s something to be said for good, old fashioned ‘thinking outside the box.’ Several industry big-wigs have caught our eye with their innovative approach to physical selling. Are they staking their claim as pioneers of the next era in brick and mortar?
Let’s Get Personalized: Bed Bath & Beyond Debuts a New Store Format
Earlier this month, Bed Bath & Beyond debuted “BEYOND at Liberty View,” a new store format for the big box retailer in Brooklyn, New York.
The concept store will house all four of the company’s brands under one roof, including Bed Bath & Beyond®, Face Values®, buybuy BABY® and Cost Plus World Market®. In a press release, the company revealed that BEYOND at Liberty View was designed to “offer a high level of customer service that is inspirational, along with expanded offerings, in-store experts, and more differentiated product, services and solutions.”
Shoppers can take advantage of new and improved services and a wide assortment of products across multiple verticals such as home and housewares, baby, personal care and beauty, and health and wellness. Digital tools and in-store experts are on standby to help provide assistance as well as a more seamless and personalized customer experience.
In addition to a food hall-style restaurant, seasonal market food stalls, and an event space, BEYOND at Liberty View also boasts “The Beyond Room” – an area where customers can access concierge services like personal shopping, registry, and decorating services.
A veritable playhouse filled to the brim with whatever the average consumer could possible want or need, it’s hard to see how BEYOND at Liberty View can possibly fail.
Go Big or Go Home: Adidas Takes Experiential Marketing to New Heights
Back in December, Adidas opened up its New York City flagship – an impressive 45,000 square foot, four-story ode to a place that most athletes and sports fans have felt at home at one point in their lives: a high school stadium.
The flagship is Adidas’ largest store in the world and a prime example of a trend that is already sweeping the sportswear nation – the stadium retail concept.
Visitors are welcomed into the store via a tunnel entrance, similar to the ones athletes must go through before finding themselves out on the field. Bleachers set up between the first and second level give off the feeling that one could be watching a live-game, and traditional fitting rooms are replaced by locker rooms. Juice and snack, personal fitness consultation, and the cleverly named “Turf” and “Track” (where shoppers can test products before purchase) are all areas that, while separate, perfectly set the tone.
Click and Collect: Walmart Tests Giant Vending Machine for Deliveries
In October, Walmart shoppers in Bentonville, Arkansas walked in to find what appeared to be a giant vending machine towering above them at the entrance.
As it turned out, in an effort to provide ultimate speed and convenience to their customers, Walmart was testing out a new click-and-collect system, hoping to bridge the gab between their e-commerce and brick and mortar location.
With this new “automatic pickup machine,” online shoppers could make a quick trip to the store, enter their order numbers into machine and watch as it spat out their package. Representatives noted that it drastically cut down on the time it took shoppers to pick up orders through customer service, and saw the number of users continue to increase, day after day.
Given his vast experience working with major retail giants, we asked @RetailPhil what his expert opinion was on these new ventures, and what it could mean for the industry as a whole. “It’ll be interesting to see what these retailers accomplish with these new strategies,” he quipped. “Every time we’ve seen campaigns like this, the goal has always been more experiential, not solely to drive sales (like pop-up shops). These new ventures make me think that retailers are now telling a story in order to sell products, as opposed to letting the product sell itself. This is the new age of product marketing.
“In Adidas’ case, the story of being back at the high school stadium is what’s selling the product. But in Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart’s case, the consumer’s story is what sells the product. For BEYOND shoppers, all they have to think is, ‘what do they want out of my shopping experience today?’ And Walmart’s strategy may not be as fancy but it is utilitarian. Shoppers using the pickup machine are likely thinking, ‘I want to shop at Walmart, I want the value, but I need to get in and out as fast as possible.’”
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