STORE SPACES

Bedgear ‘pops up’ to help consumers sleep better

BY Marianne Wilson

A bedding brand that partners with the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks is opening its first freestanding location.

Bedgear will open a pop-up shop on Newbury Street in Boston, on April 13. The store, which will be open for three months, will allow shoppers to test drive the brand’s pillows, mattresses, sheets, blankets, and other products. It offer personalized fit assessments so that consumers can find the bedding products that best suit their sleep position, body frame – even the temperature at which they sleep best.

In addition, interactive kiosk screens will showcase the latest technology in sleep innovation, including the brand’s patented ventilation fabrics that are designed to increase air flow and shift heat away from the head, neck and shoulders. The breathable fabric technology, used in all Bedgear products, prevents overheating in bed, ensuring less tossing and turning for the most comfortable night’s rest, according to the company.

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STORE SPACES

Fred Segal gives new meaning to window shopping

BY Marianne Wilson

Window shopping has gone digital at Fred Segal’s store on the famed Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

Digital display window technology has been embedded into the storefront window of Fred Segal in conjunction with the store’s ‘Rock ‘n Roll Holy Land,’ an immersive exhibit on the history of Sunset Strip. The interactive shopping environment is the first in a series of activations that MasterCard will collaborate on with Fred Segal.

The digital storefront windows makes the store shoppable even when the physical space is closed. Through the window, shoppers can browse and interact with merchandise, place items in a cart, and make a purchase from their phone using a link that is pushed to them via text message. The items will be shipped to the address specified during checkout.

“For over 50 years Fred Segal has led the way in experiential retail and we are always looking for unexpected and unique elements that add to the shopping experience,” said John Frierson, president, Fred Segal. “Partnering with MasterCard allows us to bring our customers an exciting new way to shop that reflects today’s digital environment and takes it to the next level.”

In addition, MasterCard is working with Snapchat to offer unique experiences for MasterCard cardholders by connecting Snapcodes directly to retail moments.

MadeWorn, the LA-based brand specializing in handmade, American craftsmanship, is at the helm of conceiving the all-encompassing experience around the month-long Sunset Strip exhibit. It features exclusive merchandise from the brand and artists along with special appearances by performers throughout the event.

As part of the exhibit, the store is featuring a curated selection of products, including a variety of eccentric relics, photographs, and other treasures ranging from a complete 50-ft. tour bus to historic neon signs. An extensive collection of over 300 vintage and custom garments provided by MadeWorn is also featured.

“Fred Segal is a retailer known for offering its customers an innovative and differentiated shopping experience,” said Sherri Haymond, executive VP, digital partnerships, MasterCard. It makes them an ideal collaborator to bring to life the latest in experiential retail technology, like our shoppable storefront windows.”

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Brookstone to debut new store concept—with a nod to tech inventors

BY Marianne Wilson

Brookstone is launching a new retail platform that gives tech brands and emerging product makers in the space easier access to stores in U.S. malls. And the retailer is using its existing store base as the launch pad.

The retailer will unveil its first Brookstone Makers Showcase store on April 21, at Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City, New York. The 4,236-sq.-ft. pilot location — a converted Brookstone site — will put a spotlight on products from online collaborative invention platform Quirky and crowdfunding website Indiegogo, as well as new tech brands from around the world. It will also feature a selection of the best-selling products at Brookstone.

“It’s the best of three worlds,” said Paul Donovan, creative director/copy, Brookstone, which in 2014 was sold to Sanpower Group Company, a Chinese conglomerate whose primary businesses are engaged in technology and modern service industries.

The retailer plans to open at least 10 Makers Showcase stores this year. All will be remodels of existing Brookstone locations.

“We may have some variations on the theme and category,” Donovan said.

Brookstone said the Makers Showcase concept will help emerging products makers and brands sell products in A-level malls at low-cost structures that are competitive to selling through online marketplaces. The business model will offer flexible options for the makers and new brands that include display margin and consignment models.

“We will work out arrangements with each organization that are the most cost effective,” Donovan said.

Makers Showcase is designed to give customers a hands-on experiences with new products. It will feature a dedicated product demonstration stage, and a sound-dampened “Voice Box” room where customers can try out such voice-centered innovations as Zolo voice-activated speakers.

In addition, the store will host frequent “Meet-the-Maker” events during peak traffic periods where product makers can interact with customers.

“We’re bringing more than 50 years of retailing expertise to new makers,” stated Tom Connolly, VP of operations. “We’ve helped launch brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Parrot, iRobot and Segway. Getting people to experience new technologies and have fun is in our DNA.”

The format will combine advanced store traffic analytics with feedback from and reporting from in-store customer interactions to help makers quickly gain insights into their products. The smart store analytics platform, from RetailNext, will analyze customer traffic patterns, dwell time and conversion rates.

“Comprehensive shopper data allows both Brookstone and its makers’ brands the ability to measure shopper engagement and utilize those metrics to take continuous improvement actions on everything from merchandising to ongoing product development,” said Alexei Agratchev, co-founder and CEO, RetailNext.

Brookstone will also host a series of “innovation competitions” at universities in which makers can present their products to industry experts. Winners’ products may be featured in Brookstone stores worldwide.

“Makers often experience sticker shock when trying to sell their products through brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Nick Vyas, founder and executive director at the Center for Global Supply Chain Management at the USC Marshall School of Business. “Selling through traditional retailer agreements quickly eats into their margin. Profits go down. Prices go up. What the Brookstone PLUS platform does is create an efficient platform that lets makers sell in A-level malls with flexible, lower-cost structures that are competitive to selling through online marketplaces.”

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