STORE SPACES

Study: Gen Z shoppers like physical stores

BY Marianne Wilson

The majority of Gen Z shoppers prefer to do their shopping in brick-and-mortar stores— especially when the locations are convenient.

According to a survey of Gen Z shoppers (aged 18 to 22) by prescriptive analytics provider Profitect, 42% of respondents prefer to shop in-stores vs online. A further 34% prefer to shop in-stores and online equally, while only 23% indicated they prefer to shop online only.

“Our survey of Gen Z shoppers found that the in-store shopping experience still plays an important role in the shopping journey, even with digital natives,” said Guy Yehiav, CEO of Profitect. “From price and deal shopping, to ease of returns, to interest in checking product availability, the data demonstrates that retailers should not neglect the importance of a strong in-store and online strategy.”

When asked what holds the most influence on choosing to shop at a particular store over another, 48% of Gen Z respondents selected convenient location. Additionally, 65% said that the most convenient method of returning an item they purchased online was to go into the store.

“With almost half of Gen Zers choosing convenience, especially when returning, more retailers should consider pickup and return through their network of partners, or their own brands,” said Yehiav. “While Amazon was quick to exploit this advantage through Kohl’s and Whole Foods, other retailers like ascena, Abercrombie & Fitch, and others with multiple brands are well poised to establish these channels.”

In line with respondents’ preference to shop in stores, the survey found that 46% of Gen Zers noted that browsing in-stores is their biggest influence to shop. Also, 67% of respondents indicated that the factor that mostly prompts them to add more items to their shopping basket is their feelings at the time.

In other findings, 40% said in-store displays influence them to add items to their basket. In a nod to the importance of retailers’ omnichannel presence, 33% noted that online and in-store advertisements influence them to add items to their basket.

“An interesting finding was that once shoppers are in the store, they tend to be influenced by their emotions and therefore an impulse buying strategy is critical, as well as in-store displays and advertisements online needs to be aligned,” said Yehiav. “To this point, there is a strong argument for retailers to get Gen Zers into stores in order to act on those impulses and expand their baskets.”

The survey results highlight that Gen Z shoppers may not place a significant emphasis on in-store associates as an influencer to buy, unless they had a negative experience, according to Profitect.

Asked to select the two biggest reasons to shop at a particular retailer, only 11% of respondents said that in-store experts or consultants who can help them shop was important. When asked what prompts them to add more items to a shopping basket, 19% selected in-store associates or salespeople.

However, while all responses about preference for in-store associate were relatively low, 57% said that poor customer service would be the biggest reason for them to stop shopping at a favorite retailer.

“While the data indicates that Gen Zers like to research their needs by themselves rather than consult an expert at the store, it also shows that the shopping experience can easily turn sour if experience with staff is poor,” explained Yehiav. “Given this information, retailers should ensure that in-store staff is properly trained and available when they are needed. Staff performance data can indicate which stores and employees are performing better than others so retail leaders can make smart decisions on training.”

In other survey findings:

• Half of Gen Z respondents reported that they would stop shopping at their favorite retailer if they were constantly out of stock on desired items.
• Sixty of respondents always or sometimes checking a store’s in-store inventory availability online before going to make a purchase.

“Twenty percent would never shop at the retailer again if a website said a product was available in-store, but it was actually out of stock,” said Yehiav.

“Given this finding, retailers should invest in solutions that ensure stock is up to demand and that websites accurately reflect in-store inventory,” said Yehiav.

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STORE SPACES

First Look: Canada Goose goes ‘cold’ in New Jersey

BY Marianne Wilson

Luxury outerwear brand Canada Goose has brought a blast of cold air to its newest location.

Best known for its signature goose-down jacket with fur-trimmed hood, Canada Goose opened a 5,330-sq.-ft. flagship at Short Hills Mall, Short Hills, N.J. The store, the Canadian brand’s fourth in the U.S., is one of the company’s first in North America to offer a “cold room.”

The refrigerated space, about the size of a large fitting room, offers an immersive experience where customers test parkas and jackets amid a range of different temperatures — including one as low as minus-13 degrees Fahrenheit. Canada Goose plans to add the cold room to its new store in Montreal, along with select future stores.

Designed to reflect the company’s roots and Arctic heritage, the Short Hill store is open and light, with a modern, minimalist look Signature elements include a cash-wrap carved from a single piece of marble and sourced from a British Columbia quarry. The 3,800-lb. desk has been left raw, with minimal polish to evoke the natural wear and polish of glaciers and icebergs.

Works of Canadian artisans are showcased throughout the space, including prints and drawings along with soapstone-carved sculptures that serve as nods to the company’s work with Polar Bears International. A striking, composite photograph that describes the slow movement of a Canadian glacier is displayed behind the cash-wrap.

The store features the full breadth of Canada Goose’s offerings for men, women and children (including toddlers), with more than 200 jackets and color combinations on display, along with accessories.

Founded in 1957, Canada Goose went direct to consumers in 2014 with an e-commerce site. It opened its first freestanding stores in 2016, with flagships in Toronto and New York City. It currently operates a total of eight stores in seven cities, including London, Toronto, New York, Boston, Chicago, Calgary and Tokyo, which is operated by its distribution partner. It sells online in 12 countries, and in goods are also sold through select department stores and specialty stores.

The company recently announced plans to expand in Greater China, including opening stores in Beijing and Hong Kong, launching e-commerce via Alibaba Group’s Tmall platform, and establishing a regional head office in Shanghai.

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Macy’s adding more in-store technology, partnering with Facebook

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Macy’s is making some bold moves in its stores in time for the holiday shopping season.

The department store giant announced it is adding enhanced in-store technologies to make its customers shopping journeys “more convenient, efficient and fun.” The new features include both virtual reality and augmented reality furniture and beauty experiences that will enable customers to discover product and make more informed buying decisions.

The retailer also said it is partnering with Facebook to bring in nearly 150 online brands to its pop-up concept, The Market @ Macy’s, across nine stores this holiday. The market concept features a rotating selection of varied offerings in apparel, accessories, beauty, entertainment, experiences, decorative home, stationery, technology and gifts.

Macy’s said it expected to have completed the launch of “VR for Furniture” in 69 Macy’s stores by early November. In the pilot stores, VR-influenced furniture sales have increased the overall basket size by more than 60% versus non-VR furniture sales, as customers more accurately visualize their space and add multiple furnishings with confidence.

For customers who used the VR installation it has also decreased returns to less than 2% of total transactions. The technology also allows Macy’s to offer access to a larger furniture assortment in less space on the floor both at large and small store locations.

Macy’s has also launched a Macy’s app for iOS devices that features an augmented reality furniture experience called “visualize your space.” It allows customers to virtually place Macy’s furniture products in their actual living spaces, allowing them to test the product in real world settings against their existing furnishings.

In addition, Macy’s has made technological enhancements behind the scenes to enhance the customer experience. In beauty, the company is deploying a “beauty playground” tool that its beauty advisors can use to learn more about the company’s product assortment, seek additional training resources and also discover the latest beauty trends. The technology showcases tutorial videos and information from brand partners and popular influencers.

“Our technology enhancements are practical applications that will engage our customers while also driving sales,” said Hal Lawton, president of Macy’s. “The investments we are making behind the scenes will enable our colleagues to give our customers the best shopping experience possible. We’re also thrilled to be partnering with Facebook to bring new brands into our retail as a service concept, The Market @ Macy’s.”

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