2016/06/01

Store Of The Future Shows Off More Than Century 21

Century 21 Department Store has traveled to California with a new 8,000 sq. ft. pop-up shop. It’s the first time the iconic New York City banner had a presence on the West Coast and its store there is a great marriage of temporary shops and the kind of cutting edge technology that retailers are testing and investing in.

The shop, dubbed WithMe Featuring Century 21, is located at Santa Monica Place and marries Century 21′s off-price fashion with WithMe’s high-tech environment.
WithMe is the latest incarnation of a company called ShopWithMe. The Las Vegas-based business began as a way for small merchants to access merchandise from Chinese factories, to band together and create bulk ordering mass for lower prices. Founder Jonathon Jenkins has since evolved the business to one that develops in-store technology.

That technology was on display in downtown Las Vegas, powering Zappos’ first store for Holiday 2015 and later took a road trip to several cities to show off a mobile store of the future — a concept that has become the WithMe shop.
This California effort has a one year lease at Santa Monica Place and will host a revolving roster of retailers. Century 21 will take up residence for six weeks.
Shoppers can download the WithMe app to scan items in the store, which are then collected on a portable rack. When ready, a curtains descend around that rack creating a fitting room, complete with interactive mirrors that let shoppers request items or make a purchase. Purchases can be shipped directly to the customer.

This high-concept format is part of a greater trend that is less store of the future and more like storefront of today. Retailers from Macy’s to Target are testing and investing in new technology that creates highly customizable environments that showcases product and facilitates buying, without actually carrying any inventory.
Blue Nile this week opened its second jewelry “webroom” to do just that and plans for three more this year. Target has long opened pop-up shops for its revolving designer partnerships and for retailers interested in testing out new merchandise and concepts, this “store of the future” holds lots of promise.

- see this Apparel News story
- see this Women’s Wear Daily article (tiered subscription)
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