Retail Pulse: DSW Expands In-Store Experiences; L Brands Plans Store Closures

Retail Pulse: DSW Expands In-Store Experiences

Brick-and-mortar fashion retailers are developing in-store experiences to encourage customer loyalty. DSW, for instance, is growing its W Nail Bar partnership to offer services such as manicures and pedicures in more U.S. markets, aiming to generate repeat visits as part of its experiential retail efforts.

DSW began working with W Nail Bar in 2017; the two companies offer salon services at Columbus, Ohio’s Easton Town Center and the Polaris Fashion Place. With the expanded partnership, the companies will bring the offering to brick-and-mortar stores in Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; and Dublin, Ohio. DSW President Bill Jordan said in an announcement that the company was “encouraged by the reaction we've received to our nail bar test at our two warehouses in Columbus” and that they are looking forward to “additional learnings” in new markets.

At the salon, shoppers can take advantage of pedicures and manicures in addition to waxing services. They can also earn VIP Rewards points for every product and service they buy. In the announcement, Jordan said, "The nail bar services engage customers and create loyalty by inspiring self-expression. They also create repeat visits to the DSW brand, where an exciting footwear assortment awaits.”

DSW is no stranger to experiential retail, having opened an experimental store on the Las Vegas strip last year with offerings beyond racks of designer shoes. Shoppers can reportedly have a manicure or pedicure at the nail bar, have their shoes repaired or even take in live performances in a bid to help boost foot traffic (pun intended). The store also features an eye-catching and often-discussed shoe escalator with three elevator lifts, dubbed the Shoevator.

Shoppers can pick shoes from a display wall using the technology, which sends a message to the salesperson on a mezzanine level of the store. That worker then loads the shoes and sends them down to the shopper through the Shoevator. DSW CEO Roger Rawlins described the machine last year: “It’s essentially a giant shoe vending machine inspired by the assembly line-style mechanisms that we use to move product around our actual warehouse.” He added that “DSW has been transforming itself by creating engaging experiences that stir emotion and inspiration.”

Retailers don’t have to go it alone with in-store innovations: DSW’s latest effort suggests partnerships can help merchants expand their experiential offerings as they seek to earn customers’ loyalty to keep them visiting their stores time and again.

In Other Brick-and-Mortar News

L Brands plans to close approximately 53 Victoria’s Secret locations this year as it curtails investments in new and renovated stores. The retailer, which has 1,143 stores globally, closes an average of around 15 stores annually. Women have moved to brands that appear more inclusive, like Third Love and Adore Me, as well as styles of bras that are reportedly more comfortable. And NPD Group data found that millennials spent one-third of bra dollars last year on sports bras.

L Brands posted net income in the fourth quarter of $1.94 per share or $540 million. However, the company reported income of $2.33 per share or $664 million a year prior. Net sales fell short of expectations of $4.88 billion at $4.85 billion. The company expects that earnings in 2019 will be in the range of $2.20 and $2.60 per share.

On another note, Wegmans Food Markets is bringing its curbside pickup offering to additional stores in the Rochester, New York area. Through the offering, shoppers can choose a pickup time and make a payment via the Instacart website, Instacart app or dedicated Wegmans page, then get instructions and a phone number to call as they near the store. Orders must be a minimum of $10.

Wegmans eCommerce Group Manager Erica Tickle said of the offering, according to reports, “Our customers are busy, so when it comes to grocery shopping, they appreciate a range of options that allows them to get the task done with ease, when and how they want.” She added, “Now, it’s as simple as placing your order online and picking it up curbside at your convenience, all with no additional delivery fee or tipping.”

In other news, Marks & Spencer is reportedly talking with online supermarket Ocado about allowing the British retailer to offer a food delivery service for the first time. According to a statement on the M&S corporate site, “Following press speculation, Marks and Spencer Group PLC confirms that it is in discussions with Ocado Group plc regarding a joint venture in U.K. retail. There is no certainty that these discussions will result in any agreement or as to the timing of any such agreement.”

To keep tabs on the latest retail trends, check next week’s Retail Pulse.



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