STORE SPACES

Wayfair to open first-ever physical stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Wayfair is trying out brick-and-mortar for the holiday season.

The online home furnishings retailer will open two holiday pop-up shops on Nov. 1, at Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts, and Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. The temporary locations will be Wayfair’s first foray into physical retail. (The company is planning to open an outlet store by early 2019 in Florence, Kentucky, near its distribution center in Erlanger, Kentucky. It will sell returns and close-outs in good condition.)

“We are bringing the Wayfair brand directly to shoppers in a completely new format this holiday season,” said Ed Macri, chief product and marketing officer, Wayfair. “Building on the success of our television advertising and direct mail, this pop-up experience is yet another way we are deepening engagement with customers beyond our online presence.”

Wayfair customer service and home design experts will be available on site to answer questions, recommend products and introduce shoppers to new home solutions, including Wayfair’s online e-design platform. The stores will feature a “how-to” station where customers can also learn how to tackle home improvement projects and browse more than 100 fabric swatches to create custom furniture.

Shoppers will also be able to browse Wayfair’s extensive online selection, place orders for next-day or two-day delivery, and purchase Wayfair gift cards. A curated selection of tabletop and housewares items will be available on site for purchase.

“For the first time ever, shoppers will be able to step into the world of Wayfair,” added Macri. “We’re excited to connect with shoppers face-to-face and introduce them to the endless possibilities in shopping for home.

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Timberland pops up on Fifth Avenue with experiential concept

BY Marianne Wilson

Timberland has brought a little bit of the outdoors to the city with a store design that will serve as an “inspiration” for future locations.

The brand opened a pop-up on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue (at 43rd Street) that is designed to reflect its 45-year heritage through the lens of nature. The space features living trees, natural earth terrariums, an over-sized living green wall and experiential weather moments.

Upon entry into the 3,500-sq.-ft. space, shoppers are transported into the outdoors, and the New England region where Timberland was born, via the sight of 10 full-sized, birch and ficus trees. (In line with the brand’s longstanding commitment to urban greening, the trees will be donated and given a permanent home in New York City later this fall.)

Amid the trees, natural earth terrariums comprised of ferns, moss and other native New England plant species lead shoppers along their retail journey. The living green wall, featuring nearly 2,000 plants, blends with the stone architecture for a modern take on the outdoors. The space includes a series of weather experiences, including an interactive digital rain room and a blustery, photo-ready winter scene. Key product collections are paired with each of the experiences.

The fixtures in the space seamlessly blend with the environment while also making a statement. Bespoke reclaimed natural wood and metal table tops, custom benches and rails are on loan from Cleveland Art. The walls feature landscape photography by Dutch photographer lbert Dros. From the street, passers-by have an open view into the store environment, via eight floor-to-ceiling windows that are accented with modern graphical expressions of nature’s elements: wind, water, earth and sky.

“With this new space at Fifth Avenue, we set out to create a haven where the community can experience the beauty and power of nature, right here in the city,” said Jim Pisani, global brand president, Timberland. “This is our vision for the future; whether in New York, Milan or Tokyo, this store design will serve as inspiration for Timberland stores around the world for years to come.”

The Fifth Avenue store is one of seven “flex retail” stores opening across the U.S. for the fall and winter season. The locations include three in New York, three in Los Angeles and one in Miami. In addition, Timberland is opening a permanent store this week, in Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn.

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Kroger, Walgreens partner to pilot new store format

BY Marianne Wilson

Kroger Co. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. have joined forces to test a new store format that brings together their core offerings.

The two retailers are launching an “exploratory” format at 13 Walgreens stores in Northern Kentucky, near Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters. Customers will be able to order Kroger grocery items online and pick up the orders at the participating Walgreens locations.

In addition, grocery items from Our Brands, Kroger’s private-label line, will also be available in-store at participating Walgreens locations. The diversified shopping assortment will complement Walgreens products and services across health and wellness, pharmacy and beauty, the companies said.

“This concept brings together the best of two great brands to rethink convenience and redefine the way America shops for food,” said Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen.

Kroger and Walgreens said they would conduct the pilot over the next several months, listening to customer feedback.

“This innovative new concept is an opportunity to test and learn, as we determine how we can best work together to further elevate our customer offering,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “We continue to evolve our offerings to meet the changing needs of our customers and provide a more differentiated shopping experience. We’ve been implementing new approaches to promotions, product selection and other areas to deliver greater value in our stores.”

Initially, Kroger and Walgreens will develop and test a one-stop shopping experience where customers can access products and services from both companies. Customers will be able to order Kroger grocery items online and pickup orders at the participating Walgreens locations. Kroger’s popular Our Brands grocery items, including America’s largest natural and organic brand, Simple Truth, will also be available in-store at participating Walgreens locations. The diversified shopping assortment will complement Walgreens products and services across health and wellness, pharmacy and beauty.

“This innovative new concept is an opportunity to test and learn, as we determine how we can best work together to further elevate our customer offering,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. “We continue to evolve our offerings to meet the changing needs of our customers and provide a more differentiated shopping experience. We’ve been implementing new approaches to promotions, product selection and other areas to deliver greater value in our stores.”

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