Direct-to-consumer wedding brands are opening stores in real life — and personalizing the customer experience within them through digital technology. Floravere, for instance, opened its first brick-and-mortar location in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood — a space that it says “reimagines shopping for one of the world's oldest traditions.”
Brides can make private appointments through text, Instagram direct message and the company’s website. At the same time, the brand seeks to create personalization through every one of its touchpoints. When a customer arrives in the store, her “favorite styles” will be in a private suite along with a custom playlist and a “digital wedding moodboard.” The company learns those details through its digital questionnaire, which the company says is a pivotal part of building a relationship with its customers.
Floravere Co-founder Denise Jin said in an announcement, “With our New York Flagship, we've created a retail experience that reflects how our bride actually shops: from IG to IRL. Every detail of the design — from the private bridal styling closet to the in-store retail technology — is guided by an understanding that today's millennial woman has done most of her research on us before she even steps through our doors.” Jin continued, “This offers us an unparalleled opportunity to craft a truly bespoke and memorable retail experience for each and every bride based on the rich data we have on her before she walks in the door."
Upon entering the space, customers walk into a furnished gallery that sports features such as a custom lacquered sculptural coffee table by Eny Lee Parker and rounded velvet club chairs. The flowers have a bit of a local flair, with arrangements provided by Brooklyn-based Extrafloral. Private suites have a dressing room as well as a separate seating area for the friends and family of the bride. “This in-suite sitting area is a unique strategy for a bridal boutique, where most have one large seating area,” the company noted in its announcement.
Beyond Floravere, other wedding retailers have opened up brick-and-mortar stores in New York City and its greater metropolitan area. In January, news surfaced that Kleinfeld opened its first-ever pop-up shop in Secaucus, New Jersey. The location would have styles such as new overstock dresses and sample dresses per a December announcement. At the same time, news also surfaced that Zola opened a store in New York City’s Flatiron District that was billed as a “one-stop-shop for wedding planning.” The store was to carry 2,000 “top-selling gifts for newlywed life” in addition to over 200 invitations and save-the-date notices.
From Zola to Floravere, retailers looking to help brides prepare for their wedding days are opening up brick-and-mortar stores to help customers interact with their brands in real life.
In Other Brick-and-Mortar News
Target debuted a household brand called Everspring to reach shoppers on the hunt for “clean and natural” offering. The product line encompasses items ranging from paper towels to laundry detergent and dish soap. The selections are made from recycled materials as well as natural fibers or are biobased. They also tap into natural fragrances to create combinations of scents such as bergamot and lavender.
The products will also come with a “Target Clean” symbol, which shows an item is not made with chemicals like sodium laureth sulfate or propylparaben. Christina Hennington, a senior vice president and general merchandise manager at the retailer, said per reports that “from the sourcing to the packaging … we had to do it right.” Hennington added, “We hired the right expertise to make sure the chemical quality was up to expectations.”
In other news, Kohl’s plans to start taking returns of Amazon purchases at all of its stores with the aim of bringing more people into its locations. The department store retailer will take Amazon items that are “eligible” without a label or a box with the offering. Kohl’s then packages the purchases before sending them to a return center.
Kohl’s Chief Executive Officer Michelle Gass said in an announcement, “We are thrilled to bring Amazon Returns at Kohl’s to all of our stores across the country.” Gass continued, “Amazon and Kohl’s have a shared passion in providing outstanding customer service, and this unique partnership combines Kohl’s strong nationwide store footprint and omnichannel capabilities with Amazon’s reach and customer loyalty.”
On another note, Albertsons reported strong numbers for its Q4 and full year of fiscal 2018. The operator of 2,200 supermarkets, which is based in Boise, Idaho, noted that same store sales rose by 1.1 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. Its own brands, too, reached a sales penetration of over 25 percent during the quarter.
“We are very pleased with the trends in our business as demonstrated by our strong results in the fourth quarter and full year,” Albertsons President and CEO Jim Donald said, according to reports. “This performance in our core four-wall business is helping fund necessary investments into the business in both the four-wall and no-wall environments.” Albertsons also reported eCommerce sales growth of 52 percent and 83 percent during the fourth quarter and full year.
To keep tabs on the latest retail trends, check next week’s Retail Pulse.