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STORE SPACES

Trending Stores: Casper, Short Hills Mall, Short Hills, N.J.

BY CSA STAFF

Online mattress start-up Casper gets upfront with shoppers at Short Hills Mall, Short Hills, N.J.

The store, one of 15 pop-ups the company is opening in select locations across North America, marking Casper’s first significant investment in a company-owned retail presence. It will remain open through spring of 2018.

The Short Hills space showcase Casper’s signature mattress, which comes in a box, along with its newest product, the ergonomically designed Wave mattress, and the brand’s sheets and pillows. The mattresses are displayed in three bedroom vignettes, each one complete with walls and its own distinctive aesthetic. Shoppers are encouraged to try out the products, which are available for purchase on site.

“The demand to experience our products in-person has continued to grow exponentially,” Casper co-founder and CEO Philip Krim stated when the pop-ups were announced. “Casper retail environments allow us to seamlessly traverse online and offline, which we believe is paramount to an exceptional customer journey.”

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Online menswear retailer in expansion mode

BY Marianne Wilson

Indochino, Canada’s made-to-measure menswear brand, continues its expansion from the Web into physical retail.

Indochino will open its first Minnesota location, at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., on Dec. 14. The 2,909-sq-.ft. store (“showroom”) will offer a custom experience that allows customers to create and fully customize their suit and shirts.

Customers are paired with a dedicated trained associate who takes their measurements, assists with fabric selections, and walks the customer through endless customization options including, pockets, lapels, monograms and lining. Each garment is made to order and delivered in around four weeks.

Founded in 2007, Indochino opened its first physical location in 2014. The Mall of America space will be the company’s ninth store to open this year, for a total of 19 locations across North America. The company is aiming to open 150 locations globally in the next five years.

“Mall of America is the grand stage for international retailers, so it’s an honor to secure a premium space in this prestigious shopping center,” said Drew Green, CEO of Indochino. “This location is the perfect platform for our rapidly growing brand.”

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Five New Customer Experiences

BY Denise Lee Yohn

Savvy retailers and restaurateurs aren’t standing by while digital players, delivery services, and marketplaces try to steal their market share. They’re disrupting themselves and creating brand new retail customer experiences. Here are some of the more extraordinary developments of late:

Apple Town Hall in Chicago: Apple opened up a new “store” on the Chicago River, but the company calls it a “town square” for the role it envisions for the location. With lots of outdoor space, a boardroom to host meetings for local businesses, and a calendar of events and programs co-created with local non-profits and creative agencies, it’s changing the definition of “store.”

Starbucks Roastery: Earlier this year Howard Schultz stepped back from day to day involvement in Starbucks to focus on growing the company’s Roastery and Reserve brands.  Starbucks Roastery offers an even more high-end, sensory-stimulating, more-engaging in-store experience.  With plans to open 20-30 locations around the world, the company is ushering in the next wave of coffee experience. (Check out my video briefing on this new store concept.)

Shake Shack “playground”: ShakeShack has created an innovation “lab” in one of its restaurants, testing a cashless ordering system (customers order through in-store kiosks or their mobile phones) as well as back-of-house changes to improve delivery speed and packaging.  Like many companies, Shake Shack is using its stores to learn in real-time, in-person.

Walmart grocery pick-up and more: Walmart recently announced that shoppers will be able to pick up online grocery orders at 1,000 more stores starting next year and it is currently testing a service in which drivers deliver groceries right into customers’ refrigerators. It’s all part of the company’s push to leverage its brick-and-mortar capabilities to provide superior convenience over Amazon – and it’s the best strategy it can take. (See my take on Walmart vs. Amazon.)

Lolli & Pops: Forty-store chain  Lolli & Pops takes people back in time to an old-fashioned sweet shop, replete with “Chief Purveyors” (general managers) and “Magic Makers” (staff) whose job is to get customers right into the Lolli & Pops experience by offering you samples — all kinds, lots of them. Generosity, after all, is one of the company’s core values.

Brand-building consultant Denise Lee Yohn is also the author of e-book, Extraordinary Experiences: What Great Retail and Restaurant Brands Do.

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