After all, taking the clicks-to-bricks path can be a very smart move. According to a recent YouGov survey, 78% of 1200 shoppers said they like when online companies get physical. They grow fond of a brand online then they want to try it out in person. So, it’s no surprise that 86% of them say they like “experience stores” for that reason.
Online-first companies have one advantage over established retail. If their purpose going clicks-to-bricks is to showcase products, they don’t need real estate to keep a lot of stock. Their customers already buy online and their supply chain is already optimized to eCommerce fulfillment.
Perhaps this is why we see more and more examples of creative use of retail space. “Experience stores” seems to go beyond the showroom to provide context to the products and the brand.
Retail Space as Events Venue
Fully, a provider of high-design ergonomic furniture, opened a brick-and-mortar showroom in Portland, Oregon this year. The showroom doubles as a venue for talks, fundraisers, and events appealing to people interested in design. Thus, the showroom provides a greater conceptual and community context to enhance its brand.
Parachute, which brands high-end bedsheets, towels, and robes, opened their first store in Los Angeles. The store has played host to flower wreath-making workshops and other events that appeal to their customer base.
Retail Space as Living Space
Parachute had an even cooler idea than a showroom/venue. Instead of just feeling the products, why not let customers live in it for a night? Thus, Parachute set up a 2,200 square-foot penthouse hotel suite. For $600 a night, customers can put Parachute’s bedding, mattress pads, bath towels and bathrobes to the test.Yes, the price is a bit steep. But it makes sense considering the brand’s target market and focus on high-end products.
Retail Space that Lets You Play
Nike’s recent drive to sell direct to customers includes showrooms that let customers play. Last November, Nike opened a store in New York City with a miniature basketball court, a soccer enclosure and treadmills in front of screens to simulate running outdoors. These “Trial Zones” give customers a chance to put Nike footwear and sports gear to the test.
This is just a small sampling of showroom concepts popping up all over the place. Without the need to carry a lot of stock for volume trade, showroom retail space represents an opportunity to build your brand and sell more through existing channels.