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Monday, February 22, 2010

Stores Within Stores Give Me Something To Talk About

Union Station East HallA question I frequently ask my retail experience presentation participants is what other businesses might be worth partnering with. In other words, what if you could enhance your overall retail experience by featuring stores within your store? Perhaps a business related to your category, or perhaps not.

It's a concept that this article from The Sacramento Bee titled Stores within bigger stores seem to pump up sales explores with examples from grocery stores, department stores and restaurants.

The benefit as described by store owners: "we're offering more choice and leveraging the infrastructure." And also driving sales.

From my perspective, stores within a store seem an ideal way to offer Unique, Relevant, Memorable Retail Experiences. Don't you think?

Malls do so by bringing together a range of retailers under one room and now adding kiosks and other temporary vendors within mall halls. Why can't free standing stores do the same?

The arrangement could be seasonal or event-based as Lis Calandrino describes in Meet Lisbeth Calandrino - Executive Coach Extraordinaire where flooring and shoes come together to tell a fashion/design story after twice-yearly shoe buying trips.

Imagine giving the concept of a store within a store a shot. What might be the benefits?

You certainly set the stage for variation and novelty. You create opportunities for magical conversation and unexpected sales. After all, by bringing together unexpected products, you create serendipitous juxtapositions that fuel conversations that help sell product. Finally, if you partner locally, image the community building that's possible!

What else?

What experiences have you had with stores within stores? Which are the best examples you've come across?

Image credit: Union Station East Hall originally uploaded by Mr. T in DC


Beth Robinson said...

Toys R Us has an FAO Schwartz section but in the ones near me it's not emphasized at all. It's just another brand name on another rack of shelves. It doesn't make an impact.

One of the department stores near us has a clothing store brand within it that is set off much more distinctly by the style of the clothes and the decoration of the area. I felt it was better done, but that there was a mismatch between the styles of the parent store and interior store(sorry, don't remember the name). It was jarring, but I also don't tend to shop for clothes in department stores so am probably not their target market.

I do enjoy seeing kiosks in malls and seeing them change from time to time as long as space concerns have been properly considered. A couple times I've desperately wished there was more space to walk instead.

Chris said...

A couple more examples include Sephora in JC Penney, Carrabbas in Publix, Starbucks in book stores, Cosi in Bloomingdales. We could go on and on...

CB Whittemore said...

Beth, thanks for sharing examples your examples.

In many ways, stores within stores are an old concept. It surprises me when retailers don't get it [you'd think that Toys R Us would get given how important entertainment is to their entire category] and when they do.

I share your reaction to mall kiosks and feel they have added a lot to vibe of public spaces such as train or bus stations. In NYC, they have added a lot to Port Authority for example.

Thanks for visiting.

Best, CB

CB Whittemore said...

Chris, those are terrific examples, although I wish the Starbucks in grocery stores [or Target] had more warmth to them.

Thanks for sharing!

Promotional Products said...

I think this idea has already really taken off! And it does work. Chris had some really great examples that I was thinking of as well. And the kiosks in the mall are great planning... how often do I get side-tracked on my way to the food court... all the time!

CB Whittemore said...

Promotional Products, I look forward to the variety that kiosks bring to malls. I miss that Target's Global Bazaar was put on hold this year in favor of a bargain basement type model... Thanks for adding to the discussion. Best, CB

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