MOBILITY

Nasty Gal makes its move from clicks to bricks

BY Marianne Wilson

LOS ANGELES The wait is over: Nasty Gal, the teen-fave online player with a cult following, has opened its first retail store, on Melrose Avenue in the heart of Hollywood, California.

"We've been having a dialogue with our gal for eight years this month and to celebrate that, we're taking the conversation offline," said Sophia Amoruso, CEO and founder of Nasty Gal, and author of the best-selling #GIRLBOSS book.

The 3,500-sq.-ft. store store is as offbeat and boundary-pushing as its founder. It is centralized around the try-on experience, with a mirrored glass structure at the center of the space which houses five fit rooms. The rooms will allow voyeuristic shoppers to try on clothes behind two-way mirrored doors, allowing them to see out with complete privacy.

The retail store offers a curated selection of the brand’s signature fashion-forward apparel, shoes, intimates, accessories, tech and gifting items , as well as exclusive vintage pieces. Other features include a shoe salon and magazine library—and a live cactus garden.

Designed by architect Rafael de Cardenas, the space takes inspiration from concert stages with reflective surfaces and open, cage-like structures that suggest both exhibitionism and privacy.

After speaking with fans on her book tour, Amoruso decided it was important herself and the Nasty Gal brand to engage with customers in real time.

"We are engineering shareable moments, both visual and experiential, into our stores," Amoruso explained. "We are creating real-life social media by engaging the community we have built purely online. Where that goes is truly limitless."

Nasty Gal is known for regularly updating its website with new offerings. The policy will continue in the retail space with new merchandise arriving several times a week. Store merchandising will not only focus on the Nasty Gal heritage, but promote key product themes of the season.

"We have always been about bold personalities, a strong look, and a specific sound, and this is the first time we will be combining all of those elements into a real life, physical experience," said Amoruso.

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MOBILITY

Analysis: Zappos goes brick-and-mortar

BY CSA STAFF

The news that Zappos opened its first freestanding store caught by the industry by surprise. Here are two expert views:

"It’s no surprise that online-only retailers are seeing the value of physical stores. Shoppers love stores, and most shoppers prefer stores for certain parts of their shopping journey—test and trial, returns. Many shoppers like to “discover” online, but for many categories (like shoes) a physical store is more fun.

So now Zappo’s gets the best of both worlds: a great online experience with fun and efficient discovery and delivery as well as a physical store for discovery and test and trial—and in Las Vegas? What’s not to like?

Most shoppers are realizing that online and physical stores are not either/or. Macy’s and Sephora are great retailers because they have great stores and great online experience. And now amazon.com and Zappos are better because they not only have powerful online positions, but cool stores as well."

–– Michael Moriarty, a partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm

“Based on our research and discussion with retailers, online-only players increase their web sales in the areas where they open stores (from as much as two times to five times). Drivers of the sales increases are not only brand awareness but also the fundamentals of how consumers prefer to shop. Even when transacting online, two-thirds of shoppers rely on the store throughout their shopping journey.

We expect this trend to continue, as online only players discover the value of digital + physical retailing.

Zappos is not an exception, but another player that confirms the trend of on-line only retailers venturing into the physical space Bonobos, Athleta, Ministry of Supply, Warby Parker and of course Amazon.”

–Andres Mendoza-Pena, principal in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney

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News

Top 10 holiday spending myths revealed

BY CSA STAFF

With consumer surveys and holiday forecasts a dime dozen this time of year, Customer Growth Partners CEO Craig Johnson offers his take on some of the biggest fallacies regarding retail spending.

Customer Growth Partners, a consulting and research firm focused on retail and other consumer industries has determined that the top 10 biggest holiday myths of 2014 are:

10. There is no “must-have” Holiday gift this year. Wrong. Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus model remains very hot, and even Apple stores typically sell out by noon on days shipments arrive.

9. Apple iPhone 6 will be the most common gift. Wrong again. Year-in and year-out, sweaters remain the most frequently gifted item.

8. Toys are passé as kids as switch to electronics. Wrong. At least for girls, “Frozen”s various incarnations, notably talking or singing Elsa’s, are routinely sold out online and in-stores.

7. The interval from Thanksgiving to Christmas can alter total sales. Poorly performing retailers use late Thanksgivings as an excuse, but November-December always has 61 days.

6. Opening on Thanksgiving will increase sales. No. Expanding your opening hours during the Black Friday weekend does not increase the demand pool—it simply shifts it forward.

5. The “Christmas Lull” is itself a myth. In fact, the growing Black Friday hype, now into earlier November, pulls demand forward from December into November—without boosting total sales.

4. “Cyber Monday” is the biggest online day. Cyber Monday is a creation of the e-Retail trade association. Dec. 20, the last day for Amazon Prime Christmas arrival, will be the big day.

3. Falling gasoline price are boosting Holiday sales. Gas prices are 9% below last year, saving consumers about $5 billion this season—but that decline is more than offset by food costs which are up about $10 billion from 2013.

2. Thanksgiving will remain a treasured American tradition. Not after dinner. Mom is now shopping the stores online, dads brave the crowds for the hourly deals, kids have made the evening and midnight shopping a social occasion, and Black Friday madness is now spreading to England, Japan and China.

1. Well, at least Black Friday is still the biggest shopping day. Wrong. Black Friday has been hollowed out, with the big specials at Walmart, Best Buy, Target and others also pushed forward to Thanksgiving evening, if not a week earlier. The last Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 20, as consumers continue to buy closer to need, particularly luxury and online shoppers will be biggest.

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