Shopping Physical Stores: The New Fashion Retail Experience Is About Service, Not Products
We’ve been told the opposite again and again, but the truth is consumers still like shopping – and they still enjoy shopping physical stores.
In a survey of consumers across age groups and genders, 27% of all consumers found that shopping for clothing and apparel was the most fun, and across all age groups, about a third found that shopping in-store was more fun than shopping online.
Why? Because it’s an experience. And now, it’s retail theater.
[bctt tweet=”Fashion brands and stores are working harder to make shopping even more fun to compete with the convenience of Amazon and other e-tailers. ” username=”medallionretail”]Here’s how they’ve started this trend.
Blur industry lines to complete the sensory experience
When you are shopping physical stores, you’re confronted with sensory stimulation – the feel of the clothes, the look of the products and the sounds of the bustling store itself. Once food and drink enter the mix, you’ve hit sensory perfection – something that Amazon will never be able to offer online.
Cafés and even restaurants have existed within the expanse of department stores for years. But they’ve always been a little separate from the shopping experience. You’d have a coffee to go and then shop around, or complete your purchase and then sit down to eat lunch in a restaurant that may as well have existed in a separate mall shop.
Now, eating, drinking and being merry are far more integrated into the shopping experience.
A stand-alone Lord & Taylor in a Connecticut suburb now dedicates part of its parking lot and ground-level patio to a food truck court. Every day during lunch and dinner, a few food trucks park themselves outside the store’s doors, creating a fun food and fashion destination. And best of all, there’s hardly any cost involved for the department store – now they are able to deliver a rotating collection of trendy eats.
Other brands are going all-in on the restaurant experience. Designer Todd Snyder launched his flagship store with an in-house tapas bar (and haircuts from the in-shop barber). Snyder says that the bar “softens the place, making it less about shopping and more about community.” He’s right.
In many ways, in-store restaurants are changing the fabric of the shopping experience. Shoppers are having it both ways. Going in the store looking for clothes and then settling in for a coffee or lunch, or going for the food and staying for the apparel. It’s a new, innovative way to attract customers from every possible angle.
Channel the emotions of a pop-up with concept stores
Nordstrom has taken this retail experience to a whole new level. Their new concept stores, Nordstrom Local, are completely merchandise-free. They’re dropping the products altogether and instead selling and promoting services.
If you wander in, you’ll find tailoring assistance, stylist consulting, snacks and drinks, and even manicure services.
In fact, if you want to try on clothes, you’ll have to make an appointment first. Nordstrom is thereby separating the casual shopper from the intentional shopper. But it’s about more than just landing a sale. Nordstrom really wants to build brand loyalty and pamper its customers – hoping that eventually the shopper will buy and keep coming back to their full-line department stores (and sister clearance stores).
In this way, these concept shops share the same goals and ideas as a great pop-up shop. They emphasize experience over product, work hand-in-hand with the greater brand and leave consumers wanting more.
Neiman Marcus is following suit with their Idea Factory. The department store chain is launching Phase One of these dedicated experience sections in select stores, partnering with artists to customize sportswear, jeans, jackets and accessories. Phase Two will focus more heavily on food and beverage, wellness, social consciousness and beauty.
In doing so, the stores are not only giving the consumer lifestyle experiences, they’re creating the personalized products and moments that fashion audiences crave.
It’s not enough to just display the latest fashion trends anymore. To keep up with the changing landscape of retail and excite shoppers, you need to develop new, engaging and experience-driven strategies that deliver “retail theater”. At Medallion Retail, we can help. Experience how signage, display and pop-up retail can enhance your service concepts. Reach out to Michael Decker or Chris Gordon today at firstname.lastname@example.org.