Think back to the last time someone recommended a store to you. What did they say? Probably something along the lines of, “you have to check out this store! It’s super cute, they have the best stuff and the nicest staff.” Sounds pretty straight forward, right? Actually not so much. The person who is recommending this store to you most likely had a great experience there. They enjoyed the aesthetic of the building and the layout of the store. They had pleasant conversation with the staff and were maybe offered a cup of coffee while shopping. Something happened to make them enjoy their time spent there enough to bring it up in conversation later on. Or better yet, something happened to get them to put it on their social media for 500 of their closest friends to see! This is the future of retail.
In comparison, nobody ever talks about their pleasant experience going to the hardware store. You don’t need to. Hardware stores are built on necessity. You need screws to hang up the new painting that you got in the cute store in the next town over. You need paint to repaint your bedroom after you bought new sheets at the cute store across the way. But retail stores are not this lucky. Retail is built on experiences
For example, I don’t know one person that loves going to Walmart. They go because the prices are right and it’s conveniently located. But I know tons of people who love Target. They’re more expensive than Walmart but their stores are generally cleaner and, for the most part, people aren’t dressed like bums in there. The overall experience at Target is just better than Walmart.
How did this topic even get brought up, you ask?
I was reading this article on Vogue.com about Nordstrom opening a new flagship store in NYC. This new flagship store is seven stories tall and features seven food & beverage offerings, massages, blowouts, Botox, a leather shop to repair shoes & purses, a place to donate your gently used clothing and a personalization studio so that you can customize your new purchases. Oh, and clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.
Each floor is equipped with it’s own experience.
In the shoe department you can grab a drink at the Shoe Bar, because who doesn’t need a drink after you realize how much shoes cost these days! They have created an entire Burberry TB monogram hallway. Get ready for all of those Instagram pics! I say that sarcastically but that is their point. They want this hallway all over Instagram, it’s free advertising!
Oh and I don’t want to forget to mention that they have an area where you can buy something online, try it on in store, and return right there if you don’t like it. All in the name of saving you time.
In total honesty, I love this whole idea. Nordstrom is trying to create an experience that caters to the customers who are always “busy” and who want to kill seven birds with one stone. They are creating the future of retail.
Nordstrom’s entire goal with this store is to create an experience around shopping.
Another reason this topic was top of mind this week was because of the #SaveBarneys campaign taking over my Instagram feed. I’m sure that you all have heard by now that Barneys is filing for bankruptcy and the current highest bidder wants to close the remaining seven retail locations and license the brand name to Saks Fifth Avenue. Well, now there is a campaign to get investors to come together to save Barneys as a New York institution. Even going so far as to calling it a cultural protagonist. Which I can’t disagree with. But that’s the point of all of this, Barneys the protagonist played a roll in hundreds of movies and tv shows based in NYC. But what Barneys the store didn’t do was create an actual experience for their real life customers. They didn’t adapt to what is expected of a store in today’s society. Barney’s failed to become part of the future of retail.
The #SaveBarneys creator wants to change all of that and return Barneys to its original glory. His slogan says it all, “Boring is dead. Retail is not.”