Well, I love a bit if retail experience, me. I was intrigued by these three examples, all of which were in the press this week:
Exhibit 1: J Crew Men – a fully built-out brand experience store for their men’s line
Exhibit 2: Modernash – for those craving the IKEA experience… Modernash delivers …
Exhibit 3: Best Buy Vending Machines – in a way the “anti-experience” … but perfect for travelers
Read on …
J.Crew’s latest Manhattan store (the brand’s first men’s shop), pays tribute to classic American workwear. The 935-square-foot outpost is housed in the former digs of Liquor Store Bar, and retains the feel (if not the drunken good times) of its previous incarnation; the bar and bathrooms are intact, and whiskey bottles adorn its dark wood walls.
On offer are specialty pieces from J.Crew’s men’s collection, Thomas Mason shirts, Globe-Trotter luggage, and a selection of vintage items that round out the space’s quirky aesthetic (think tie-bars, first-edition books, and vinyl LPs). Thank Jack Spade cofounder Andy Spade for the look—J.Crew consulted with him to help curate the goods and, apparently, the lifestyle that goes along with them: The new store’s sponsoring a series of workshops based on Spade and business partner Anthony Sperduti’s forthcoming book, What a Man Should Know (Chess, wine, and figure-drawing, among other things apparently)
Nashville residents looking for Swedish design at low prices don’t have access to a local IKEA; the nearest blue-and-green big box is in Atlanta. So two friends decided to bring IKEA to Tennessee by taking orders from customers and driving down to Atlanta to pick up the goods. Customers submit their orders on modernash.com, listing item numbers, colours, etc. Modernash brings the goods to its Nashville storage facility, where customers can pick up their orders (the company also offers home delivery for an additional USD 50).
ModerNash’s shipping rates are significantly lower than those charged by IKEA, ranging from 20–29% of a customer’s total purchase amount.The company also assembles furniture for USD 25/hour, handles returns (even for customers who didn’t order through ModerNash), and partners with other local companies that design and install IKEA kitchens. Last but not least, it keeps a small number of popular items in stock for immediate pick-up or delivery.
Best Buy has installed vending machines at 8 major US airports. It’s a pilot program for the company’s new Best Buy Express kiosks, which are large vending machines that carry cell phone and computer accessories, digital cameras, flash drives, MP3 players, headphones, gaming devices, travel adapters, and other items that are likely to appeal to customers on the go. Prices are similar to those in Best Buy stores.
Best Buy is targeting travellers in search of last-minute gifts, as well as those who need a replacement for a gadget or accessory they forgot to pack or lost along the way. It’s an interesting move by Best Buy. The convenience factor is an obvious draw for travellers in a hurry, especially at airports with limited shopping options. But the branding on a vending machine by a well-known retailer is also a clear visual signal, instantly recognizable by consumers, which is a real advantage at busy and cluttered airports.