The Un-Store: Can’t Buy Me Gloves

Quartz: “The idea that a brick-and-mortar store would lack actual, purchasable merchandise seems like a gamble … But more retailers are beginning to embrace the ‘un-store,’ which is a retail space that doesn’t actually stock products for sale. By eschewing the traditional sales-based model for one that focuses on customer engagement, product education, and services, the shopping experience becomes less about the bottom line, and more about top-line brand engagement and loyalty-building.”

“When people visit Samsung 837, they’re in a comfortable environment where they can relax without feeling the pressure of a sales associate encouraging them to buy something. They’re therefore free to spend more time learning about the products and interacting with them, which boosts their connection to the brand and their understanding of its wares … those interactions can give the retailer more valuable information than money can buy. For example, they can use the data generated during a store visit to determine if a particular campaign is working, or if there is more interest in a one product versus another.”

“This past October, department-store retailer Nordstrom launched its own un-store concept with Nordstrom Local, a 3,000-square-foot, service-driven space in Los Angeles’ West Hollywood district … Here, the focus is on convenience … they offer services such as personal styling, on-site alterations, in-store pick up, returns, manicures and, of course, coffee, drinks, and wine.”

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