“Reverse Showrooming”: A Bricks & Morter Retail Benefit

Contributor: Janet Valenza, president, is a past c-suite executive from the Young & Rubicam family of companies. Pop-Up Artists is a strategic marketing agency that creates focused physical shops integrating e-Commerce, for retail and luxury brand clients.

We’ve all heard the Bricks & Mortar retail complaints about “showrooming.” Someone comes into the store to see, touch and experience the product only to return home to the Internet to shop price and buy it elsewhere. It’s true, and a real drag. But what if that same Retailer could use “showrooming” to their advantage?

The good news is the Retailer can! How? By displaying samples of eCommerce Brands, taking orders through the existing eCommerce Brand website and getting a cut of the deal. The Retailer can even charge a base rent, calculated on sales per square-foot, using the same model that Bloomingdale’s uses for their shop-in-shops. Any sales above the base would be eligible for a percentage to be earned by the Retailer.

Here’s how the Retailer wins. First he / she can test new categories without any financial inventory risk. That’s right: No inventory risk! The biggest risk in retail is removed! Not only that, instead of laying out cash for inventory, the Retailer can take it in with the base rent, adding to profitability.

In a clothing boutique, for example, the Retailer can test jewelry. A small sample presentation can be created, and remain live for six weeks in Bricks & Mortar, with the store staff taking orders through the existing Brand’s website. If it works the Retailer can continue the relationship. If not, the Retailer simply opts to bring in a new Brand. The Bricks & Mortar now has a risk-free way to build their assortment and their business!

Another benefit to the Retailer is newness. The sample presentation creates another easy reason to invite the Customer back into the store. It’s a traffic driver. And it’s newsworthy for press purposes.

Janet can be reached at 917.497.5319 or [email protected]. For more information: www.pop-upartists.com

Bloomingdale's and Microsoft, Visual Merchandising, in-store engagement

Bloomingdale’s and Microsoft team up on in-store Engagement

Fashion and technology combine to surprise customers and engage them in new ways at Bloomingdale’s flagship in New York City and other locations across the country. The department store retailer had deployed a 3D virtual dressing room, called Swivel, which is supported by Microsoft Corp.’s Kinect for Windows motion sensing technology. With Swivel, customers can “try on” clothes without having to go through the actual physical process.

Bloomingdale's and Microsoft, Visual Merchandising, in-store engagement

To use Swivel, from FaceCake Marketing Technologies, the customer steps in front of the screen, chooses her preferred look with a wave of her hand, and then sees the look displayed on her image in real time on the HD flat screen. The customer can instantly share the image via email and social media channels that are built into the technology.

In addition, the technology has a data base component that provides real-time and/or daily reports on what looks (or products) are generating the most interest.

The virtual dressing rooms, which have been installed in 20 Bloomingdale’s locations nationwide, will remain in place through September 6 -16. They are timed to coincide with the retailer’s semi-annual HOT event, which celebrates the best trends of the season. Approximately 150 pieces of clothing and accessory products from the HOT event are available for try-on using Swivel.

[Chain Store Age]

Bloomingdale’s holiday windows bring the store’s shopping bags to life

Vintage is hot at Bloomingdale’s this season, even in the department store’s holiday windows.

Five display cases, to be unveiled Wednesday night along the Lexington Ave. side of the 59th St. flagship store, will bring to life holiday shopping bags from years past.

“When we came up with the concept of the shopping bags, we really wanted some Bloomingdale’s DNA in our holiday window presentation,” says John Klimkowski, operating vice president and creative director of visual and merchandising presentation.

“So many customers love and collect our bags, and we love the artistry that the bags bring to our seasonal campaigns,” he adds. “I get such a kick out of being on the train and seeing, just in my one train car, three different campaigns of Bloomingdale’s bags that customers are still carrying around and enjoy.”

Klimkowski compares choosing his favorite vintage window of the five with a parent deciding which child they like best, but he eventually offers one up — “Penguin With Coveted Holiday Gift.” It’s based on a Bloomingdale’s paper bag from the 1992 holiday season.

“The bag shows a penguin coveting a gift package, reminiscent of how a penguin hatches its egg,” he explains. “So when the window opens, as a surprise, the babies are hatched and it’s spring. They all have their sunglasses on and are walking around.”

It’s one of two vintage bags that spin on a turntable, to show both an imprint of the actual shopping bag inspiration on one side and then the interior diorama on the other. The remaining three bags open up to reveal their designs.

A “Santa and Reindeer” window has roots in a 1978 bag that showed the Christmas characters ice-skating on the East River.

“That bag [in the display] opens up and you find Santa and the reindeer skating in Central Park with other skaters,” Klimkowski. “To bring it into the world of today, they are skating with their iPods.

[via New York Daily News]

Bloomingdale's New York Retail Localization

Bloomingdale’s Renovates New York Flagship

Bloomingdale's New York Retail Localization

Bloomingdale’s 520,000-square-foot New York flagship is undergoing a 100,000-square-foot renovation to update the bridge, contemporary, home, shoes and jewelry departments of its designer floor. The project is estimated to cost $50 million, reports Women’s Wear Daily.

“In our 20 years at the store, we have never had this much square footage under construction at one time,” says Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and ceo, in the WWD article.

The flagship generated more than $600 million in annual sales last year, or about $1200 per square foot.

[via VMSD]