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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.

Instagram has come a long way since its debut in 2010, priding itself on being a top-performing platform for mobile discovery.

And now, the beloved platform has broadened its horizons even more – it will soon allow users to purchase products directly from an image. That’s right, Instagram is joining the mobile shopping revolution. This new feature is ground breaking for brands who rely on their online sales.

Mobile shopping has become a consumer favorite, making up 30% of all e-commerce sales. In fact, it is estimated that more than 84 percent of smartphone owners use an app or web browser to view products. This is a HUGE untapped market of potential buyers who use Instagram to follow their favorite brands.

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According to Instagram, this is how shopping will work: 

  1. Each post will have a tap to view icon.
  2. When a product is tapped, a price tag will appear.
  3. If the consumer is interested, they can select to view the product details.
  4. Then there’s an option to shop now, which takes the user to the ecomm site to purchase.

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Unfortunately for those who want to jump right in, the new experience is still in its test phase. Instagram partnered up with brands like J-crewKate Spade, and Warby Parker for the beta version, gaging ease of use and depth.

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When it does go public, we at Cercone Brown are especially excited to see how brands like Garnet Hill and Stonewall Kitchen will enhance engagement with current and prospective users. Either way, our wallets are sure to be lighter.

There’s something to be said about a weekend getaway to America’s wine region, Sonoma County. Breathtaking countryside, endless vineyards, the finest farm-to-table cuisine, all tucked into the rolling hills of Northern California. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and unplug – or to simply indulge in amazing food and a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

For 24 editors spanning a variety of lifestyle publications, this blissful vacation daydream became a reality during CBC’s Cooking Cottage experience from April 29-May 4.

The CBC Cooking Cottage is part of our House Program series and was born from the desire to provide editors and bloggers the opportunity to engage with a variety of brands in a tangible, meaningful way. Representatives from publications like Good Housekeeping, Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Women’s Health, and more attended the organized oasis and left with a weekend experience they won’t forget.

Each day featured a new set of socially-engaging activities, each hosted by a different brand. The agenda included events like a wine and cheese at Arrowood Vineyard with President Cheese, an exclusive poolside yoga class with Clif Bar, tours of two Jackson Family Wines vineyards, a Pinot and Potatoes Paint Night with Alexia, and many delicious meals in between.

The Cooking Cottage experience gave participants an enchanting taste of the rich Sonoma culture, as well as an insider’s look at highly-coveted brands like Omaha SteaksSambazonStonewall Kitchen, and Simply Organic.

But don’t just take our word for it. Scroll through the amazing photos posted by our guests on the hashtag #CBCcottage on Instagram.

Until next year, Cooking Cottage!

There’s something to be said about a weekend getaway to America’s wine region, Sonoma County. Breathtaking countryside, endless vineyards, the finest farm-to-table cuisine, all tucked into the rolling hills of Northern California. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and unplug – or to simply indulge in amazing food and a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

For 24 editors spanning a variety of lifestyle publications, this blissful vacation daydream became a reality during CBC’s Cooking Cottage experience from April 29-May 4.

The CBC Cooking Cottage is part of our House Program series and was born from the desire to provide editors and bloggers the opportunity to engage with a variety of brands in a tangible, meaningful way. Representatives from publications like Good Housekeeping, Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Women’s Health, and more attended the organized oasis and left with a weekend experience they won’t forget.

Each day featured a new set of socially-engaging activities, each hosted by a different brand. The agenda included events like a wine and cheese at Arrowood Vineyard with President Cheese, an exclusive poolside yoga class with Clif Bar, tours of two Jackson Family Wines vineyards, a Pinot and Potatoes Paint Night with Alexia, and many delicious meals in between.

The Cooking Cottage experience gave participants an enchanting taste of the rich Sonoma culture, as well as an insider’s look at highly-coveted brands like Omaha Steaks, Sambazon, Stonewall Kitchen, and Simply Organic.

But don’t just take our word for it. Scroll through the amazing photos posted by our guests on the hashtag #CBCcottage on Instagram.

Until next year, Cooking Cottage!