More retailers recognize that offering only ³stuff² leaves many customers cold
You go to pick out a new showerhead and find dozens screwed to sheets of plywood. Do they produce a wide or narrow spray? Soft rain or a needle-like jet that hurts your skin? Who knows?
Some retailers have recognized this image makes their stores seem contemptuous of customers, so many of them now strive for an appearance that emphasizes service.
Thats why the new showroom at Nu-Way Kitchen and Bath, Highland, MI, features 30-40 functioning showerheads and faucets, not to mention whirlpool tubs. We asked ourselves what the typical customer wants to try or do, then put the dollars into place to make it possible, Michael Crosson, CEO of JGA Inc., the showrooms designer, tells Visual Merchandising & Store Design magazine.
One goal when designing the showroom, Crosson says, was to create some of the excitement homeowners experience when they visit a home show and see merchandise displayed expertly. Another goal was to distinguish Nu-Way from some big-box retailers that discount merchandise but offer less expertise.
So non-intimidating is Nu-Way the store now offers a changing room where customers can get into their bathing suits and test-drive a hot tub.
In New York Citys Soho, the Japanese cosmetics retailer Shiseido included a wellness conference center and a pair of private cabinets for in-depth beauty therapies when it built the 38,000-sq.-ft. two-level, white-on-white space. Against one wall are four semiprivate alcoves for skin-care consultations. In the back is Petite, a computer animation device that shows customers how they would look wearing Shiseidos makeup.
At San Francisco Florist & Gifts, customers are encouraged to enter and explore the stores 117-sq.-ft. walk-in cooler. After choosing their favorite flowers, they can take them to a designer to create an arrangement.
And it all happens where customers can watch. To emphasize the involvement of the customer in the creative process, San Francisco Florist & Gifts located two floral stations on the sales floor, allowing customers to watch the experts at work.
by Mark E. Dixon