Brick and Mortar’s Not Dead
But, it is shrinking.
Over the years we’ve seen traditionally large format stores across sectors continue to launch small format stores.
At a tenth of the size of most of their stores, Bloomingdales launched the first Bloomies in Fairfax, VA and now its second location opened in Skokie, IL in Nov, 2022. They cater to the modern shoppers looking for personalization and willing to experiment with new brands and experiences. In our latest blog post, we took a look inside Bloomies and how it embraces the next gen shopper that chooses to shop in-store.
A Highly Curated Experience
While some stores adapt to their smaller footprints to focus on convenience, others are using it as an opportunity to develop deeper relationships with their shoppers. Both approaches are showing that smaller is the smarter business decision, “lower rents, fewer employees, and less inventory-on-hand – overall it means lower overhead,” according to Forbes. DSW, Barnes and Nobles and retail giants like Walmart and Target are investing in small-format stores in an effort to be more efficient and customer-focused.
Over the past 5 years, Bloomingdale’s parent company, Macy’s Inc. has shrank from 867 stores to 783 to ensure profitability. Now, they’ve focused on scaling down their department stores, which are successfully outperforming their traditional stores and Bloomies is hoping to capitalize on this initiative. “The new concept (store) also reflects a growing effort for traditional brick-and-mortar stores to stay competitive in a highly digitized world,” CNN Business
While large department stores attempt to cater to multiple palates, it also has the real estate to accommodate the variety. The smaller foot-print offers new opportunities to focusing on a specific clientele, less susceptible to fluctuating economic markets.
Location, location, location.
This newly identified target market determines Bloomies newest locations in “emerging luxury hubs in second-tier cities and farther-flung suburban locations, like its stores in Fairfax, VA, outside Washington, DC which opened in 2021 and Skokie, IL, in the extended Chicago suburbs in 2022. And coming later this year will be a new Seattle location in the Ravenna neighborhood, north of downtown Seattle,” in Forbes.
E-commerce has changed the game for the brick and mortar space, exposing inconveniences that were once taken for granted. To compete in this evolving space, retailers need to adapt and double down on what sets the in-store experience apart. Bloomie’s is doing just that by offering customizations and alterations directly in-store. They also incorporated digital elements enabling shoppers to click-and-collect items engage with new tech-enabled stylist services Fashion Network.
Shoppers can also take a break at b’Cafe, an in-store cafe that can rival any trendy restaurant in a hip neighborhood with a decor to match. Who would want to meet a friend for a drink before a day of shopping?
Maybe you’re shopping for a present, why stop by another store when you can have it wrapped for you while you shop.
Giving shoppers a reason to walk in.
Appealing to younger customer is vital to the Bloomingdale business. Bloomingdales may have a certain stuffiness associated with it’s stores, and Bloomie’s offers a more exciting and hipper experience that Millenials and Gen Z are looking for. Its in-store events showcase a variety of brands with exclusive experiences for customers such as customizations to specialty restaurant events. These complimentary events include monogramming and embroidery opportunities, and cookie and cupcake giveaways. Chain Store Age
In-store exclusive events create hype and demand that retail store need. Encouraging shoppers to share their experience with friends, family, and online to generate momentum for the next event, that way “Bloomie’s would act not just as a retail store, but as a huge billboard. If executed right, they can have multitudes of these stores across the country,” Forbes.
Check out “Bloomindales Old Orchard” on TikTok and you’ll find user shared content for free organic marketing.
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