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Not Just a Store Anymore

How innovative retailers are driving visits by going beyond their core offerings to build community.

When most items are just a click away, shoppers today need worthwhile experiences to entice them in-store.

Which is why more and more retailers are adding cafés, full restaurants, barbershops, meditation spaces, laundromats, and even movie theaters to complement their traditional inventory. In fact, it’s been found that 84% of shoppers are more likely to visit a store that offers services to help them get the most out of their purchase.


But for retailers to know what kind of experience is best, it starts with identifying the wants, needs and interests of their shoppers.

Lululemon, for example, just opened a 20,000-square-foot “experiential store” in Chicago that’s equipped with a restaurant, fitness space and lounge. As a brand with true tribe culture, Lululemon is deepening people’s devotion to its styles and the wellness-focused lifestyle it represents. In this case, adding fitness offerings and a healthy menu of power bowls and smoothies (and some indulgences like burgers and cocktails) makes perfect sense to capture more time and attention from shoppers looking to live the brand experience. The company expects about 10% of its fleet of stores to follow this model by 2023.

Lululemon V2

In New York, American Eagle Studio is tucked within a neighborhood full of college students. For these busy, style-conscious and cash-strapped Gen Z-ers, AE has integrated new ways to draw them in and increase dwell time. The space comes complete with a “Maker’s Shop” for on-the-spot alterations, and, better yet, a few commercial washers and dryers to do your laundry while you browse. Through these services, American Eagle Studio offers real value to its target audience and can be an ally when clothes need to be altered or washed.

On the West Coast, Wingtip in San Francisco is known as a “one-stop shop for the modern gentleman,” selling a curated collection of clothing, spirits and accessories. To build on its reputation as a trusted stylist and trendsetter, it’s added a barbershop to spruce up shoppers’ looks with a clean cut and shave from a master barber—a well-received and welcome add-on for their community.

Retail is rich with opportunities to build on the behaviors or interests of a brand’s community and culture by developing them as physical experiences integrated into the shopper’s journey. Whether big or small, eventized or evergreen, the best retailers are giving shoppers a reason to stop in, explore, and stay awhile.

September 3, 2019