What is going to get people in the stores?

imagesThere is so much conversation around the millennials and how they purchase, shop, entertain, live, etc.  I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about it with others who are looking at many of the start-ups to invest in.  In the last few weeks I have been looking at the changes taking place in the home decor market…an industry that estimates over $65 billion a year spent on.

I walked through the Paris flea markets when I was there and noted how many people were looking, buying, talking, eating and drinking.  It was just as much entertainment as it was a desire to get something for the home.

Macy’s just renovated the 34th street store with multiple pop-up stores in the store that incorporate activities from 3D printing to technology driven displays to blow drys.  It is like going to a party for the afternoon.

Restoration Hardware is launching their new concept of modern design where you can discover, talk to an expert, put everything together and have it show up at your home and installed.  It is pretty damn smart.

I am seeing companies where everything is curated down to the vase on the table and with one click…it is yours.  It is decorating with ease.  There are experts in marketplaces to hire whereas in the past only the very top end of the market used decorators that is now changing.

Concept shops are popping up everywhere.  They are geared towards life style.  Books, art, clothes, food, accessories and even dog bowls.

Ecommerce plays such as Warby Parker, Bonobos and others are figuring out their brick and mortar play with their online store.  Do you just see the goods in the store, perhaps try things on and get home to a beautiful bag instead of shlepping it home or is the store more conceptual to help with future store planning.  Will there be more virtual experiences in store?

I saw a great quote from Andy Warhol…a man certainly before his time.  “All department stores will become museums, and all museums will become department stores.”

Retail is changing dramatically.  It is the millennials who are forcing the change.  They are the ones carrying the cash.  They want ease, quick satisfaction, entertainment, extension of their own personal brand, the ability to discover and to be delighted at the same time.  It is a big market out there to capture and we are just starting to see the changes that are going to come.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    This post is so right on.Retail as a popup is as true as it gets.This statement nails it:They want ease, quick satisfaction, entertainment, extension of their own personal brand, the ability to discover and to be delighted at the same time.

  2. johndodds

    I’m deeply suspicious about the whole millennial tag (as I am about all demographic segmentation) – not least because it spans such a vast swathe of population. For me, behaviour trumps age every time.I don’t disagree with the need for change but this is not a new revelation. After all, Welcome to the Experience Economy was written in 1998.

  3. LIAD

    grew up working in the family street-fashion business. from market to shop to concessions in major department stores in London/NYC/Tokyo.served the gamut from destitute people who wore our stuff for utilitarian reasons, to movie stars who wore it to stand out. sold clothes to endless celebrity stylists and many many top fashion houses looking to copy the range. – what i learnt continuously was that trends bubble up from the street. – what hipsters cobble together to wear today is on the catwalk in 2 yrs time.- how young artists showcase their work in collectives today is the new department store layout next season -what musicians pine about today is how marketers frame their products tomorrow.for me, looking to the street is a forward leading indicator when it comes to future of shopping.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Completely agree. It is all about the streets.

      1. Jeff Jones

        Bill Cunningham epitomizes this mantra ‘it’s all about the streets’.

        1. Gotham Gal

          he is amazing!

  4. Siminoff

    Restoration Hardware should do a hotel, where you can pick the room based on the look you want for your house… then live in it for a few nights. That would be a interesting model.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i like that.

      1. LE

        We went to buy tile and other renovation materials and they are viewed under fluorescent showroom lights that aren’t the same as what you would have at the home or office.I told the dealer that he needed a light booth with different color temperature lights so the goods could be viewed under the appropriate conditions. Of course he didn’t even know what I was talking about. (This is not NYC where I am). Then I visited a lighting dealer showing me different lights and they had no way to give me an accurate view of what particular lighting (color temperature) would look like.Back in the day when you bought a stereo I remember they had listening rooms where you went in and could compare speakers and “stereos” (hah!).All of that type of sales effort went out the window with the corner store. Now everything is just pushing goods out the channel. [1]However according to your post perhaps that type of detail to attention and selling is now changing back to the way it was when dealers were able to make some money on what they were selling.[1] Pre “big box” stores and China.

        1. laurie kalmanson

          casper mattresses: no stores, no showrooms; local “sleep events” street marketing, where they pull up a trailer that has curtained rooms where you can nap and it’s visible from the street, “nap in progress” — i saw a line of hipsters waiting to try it. the modern futon.

          1. LE

            Cool. I wonder what the market would be for pop up trucks. Trucks that you could rent, fully decked out where you are able to drive into the city and use to test your non food idea. You can do all of this today ad hoc (rent truck, get truck wrapped or with a banner etc.) however a turn key solution might go over very well.Just turned this up. That’s pretty cool!http://www.contemporist.com…So I will modify the idea from “truck” to trailer and a pickup. Or maybe not even the pickup, just the trailer and pay someone to haul and pickup (ala pack rat storage).

          2. laurie kalmanson

            hah — selling the picks and pans to the gold miners; trucks 2.0. i always wonder how many [X] those food trucks have to sell to pay the car loan, never mind profit. cheaper than bricks and mortar, but …

          3. LE

            Well let’s look at it this way. It is only slightly more expensive to drive a good truck into Manhattan than it is to drive it into Paramus NJ. Sure there are tolls but essentially if you have a space you are set. All of the overhead is the same. And of course in Manhattan you can also charge more than in Paramus NJ. Truck costs the same, signange costs the same. Ok so ingredients are more but you can charge more.Now there are food trucks everywhere, right? So we can assume they are making some money or they wouldn’t be able to be in business. Consequently it follows that if you have a food truck in Manhattan you are probably (if run right and all of that) going to do quite well. Because the spot is not costing you anymore than in another venue. As opposed to store rent which is a boatload more. Anyway that’s my quick thinking on this.

          4. Gotham Gal

            it is pretty damn smart.

  5. Erin

    What an interesting quote by Warhol.

  6. LE

    It is the millennials who are forcing the change. They are the ones carrying the cash.I think an equal part of this is online shopping and in particular Amazon.Even where I am, with a car at my disposal (and literally parked outside my office door), I use Amazon for everything I can instead of running to the local Office Max/Staples or Lowes for business purchases (and of course personal items). Or the hardware store. And that is with being able to leave when I want (being boss I can leave whenever) and do what I want at any time. And I don’t live in a city where I have a hassle with parking or have to take a cab either. Ditto for my wife. Amazon in particular and is just easier. So my point is it’s easy for me to go to a store but I’d rather just order from my desk what I need.What does this mean? It means that I am no longer doing impulse purchases at the Office Max. Very important.With drugs the online pharmacy fills prescriptions. So there is less of a reason to visit Rite Aid or CVS. Where you might pick up some other items while there. Of course if you live in a city and walk by one I guess it is different.My purchasing habits have changed dramatically. I don’t buy much clothing but I just ordered 3 sweaters from Patagonia online. Perhaps if I couldn’t do that I would then stop by the mall. And if I stopped by the Mall what would happen? I would buy other things when I was there no question.So I am not sure this is all being driven by millennials, it’s a combination of many things coming together at the same time.

  7. laurie kalmanson

    so interesting. local target store tore down the tall shelves and stocked less inventory more artfully arranged on parsons tables; google says that’s just a start — new plan includes printing t-shirts from your images while you wait, more in-store food options; things to get people to stay longer and shop more (updated equivalent of taking the clocks out of casinos / no windows)http://www.news.com.au/fina…

    1. Gotham Gal

      very cool.

  8. irisheyes

    Just saw this article re: Toms Outposts and immediately thought of this post. Although coffee and classes and Wifi aren’t really going to convince me to buy more stuff at this stage, I can appreciate that it will be a way to differentiate and attract more potential customers. http://www.nytimes.com/2015

    1. Gotham Gal

      I have been in that store. It is fantastic.