Brands turn to experiential retail in response to new-generation of online shoppers

As consumers continue to favor the convenience of online shopping, brands are turning to experiential retail as a way to repurpose their store’s space.

And we’re happy to report that brands have really taken the concept of experiential retail and run with it. Particularly, beloved department store Nordstrom.

On October 4, Nordstrom opened its first concept store in West Hollywood, California called “Nordstrom Local”. The store will employ retail experiential tactics tailored to the customer including individual consultations, styling sessions, and alterations – even a fully-stocked bar and beauty salon. Even more interesting, instead of merchandise, the store will sell to consumers via personal stylists who will order inventory for clients based on his/her personal taste.
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This streamlined experiential retail strategy is a response to the growing demand for convenience. 50 years ago, department stores were valued for offering a one-stop shop; however, the times have changed, and today’s consumers seek more efficient alternatives to digging through a 140,000 sq ft department store.

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Other retailers have experimented with experiential retail tricks too. Target recently opened small format stores that cater specifically to their respective locations and demographics (i.e. college campuses and urban communities). Instead of stocking all of the customary Target product, these small format stores stock specific items such as extra dorm room accessories and school supplies.

CBC has been an advocate of experiential retail for a while now. In August 2016, we launched apparel brand Garnet Hill’s mobile boutique, an 880 sq ft converted shipping container that showcased Garnet Hill products and hosted lifestyle events.

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Another CBC client, Stonewall Kitchen, prides itself on experiential retail as a way to ensure that its York, Maine flagship location is more than just a shop. In the Stonewall Kitchen Company Store you are able to taste any of the brand’s jams before buying, and it even has a one-of-a-kind cooking school onsite intended to inspire customers with confidence in the kitchen.

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The road has not been easy for brands. Today’s consumers expect the best of both world: a fusion of the convenience of online and the tangible experience of in-store. For apparel bands, experiential retail goes a long way.