Physical retail is here to stay, but the successful stores of the future are upgrading the in-store experience.
At the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York City this week, industry experts and executives outlined what they see as a new model for the store of the future, one that emphasizes experiential elements and a focus on community.
More from Footwear News
“The consumer knows our brand,” said Jordan Brand’s senior director of global planning Marcelo Trevisan during a Monday session, explaining the mindset behind Jordan’s new “World of Flight” store concept. “The consumer expects something from us.”
In his presentation, Trevisan said the new World of Flight flagship store in Shibuya, Japan serves as a place to transport customers into the world of basketball culture, shaped by Jordan. To that end, every element of the store’s construction — including its facade which is meant to look like the iconic Air Jordan 11 — is inspired by the brand. The store also features elements meant to connect with local consumers, including paintings from local artists in the area and region-specific sneaker launches just for that store.
“All these experiences and this connection guarantees that when consumers get in the door, they have a unique experience,” Trevisan said.
In general, shoe brands appear to be opting for newer, smaller concept stores that aim to blend a showcase of top-tier product with unique experiences catered to specific regions.
“They’re interesting because they’re smaller square footage, so they’re much more productive,” explained Jane Hali & Associates analyst Jessica Ramirez. “And they are hyperactive in that you can use those stores to ship to the consumer locally.”
Throughout the retail conference, which latest between Jan. 14 to 16 in New York City, other retail leaders emphasized the need for stores to build connections with their local communities.
“For the [concept] store itself, you have more control of being able to give and deliver an experience that’s unique,” explained Ramirez.
During a session highlighting the top retail standouts in New York City, retail client innovation director at Accenture Cassidy Beadle called out On Holding’s store in Brooklyn for its “special emphasis on community experiences” such as a weekly run club, panels, classes and events for runners of all levels.
“This experience brings to life their commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, making it an accessible place for people of all abilities to engage with the brands,” Beadle said of the running shoe store.
Retail Client Innovation Lead at Accenture Gabriella Fox also highlighted Aimé Leon Dore’s store in Manhattan, whose “moody lighting, wood paneling and Persian rugs” makes the space “feel like home.” The decor in this store also pays homage to its hometown in New York, as well as ‘90s hip hop culture and sports.
Dayna Quanbeck, who last week was promoted to the role of president of Rothy’s, explained in a Sunday session how her prior experience at retail chain Charlotte Russe — and her current experience at the digitally native Rothy’s — has colored her take on how she approaches stores.
With 18 stores in operation, the sustainable shoe company plans to open at least another 10 stores in the U.S. in 2024. As part of its expansion plans, the brand has started shipping internationally to 16 countries in total, including Mexico, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, England and more.
When it comes to expanding brick-and-mortar, Quanbeck said her goal was to blend e-commerce with an intentional physical footprint. She likened her thinking to a “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” sort of dilemma.
“One has too many stores, one is trying to make it online, and there’s one in the middle that has a diverse robust business that can reach customers where they are,” she said, describing three approaches for retail. “I think those [in the middle] are the ones that will win in the future. And at Rothy’s, we are evolving to be much more in the middle.”
Best of Footwear News