Retail, once the mainstay of malls, can't effectively exist anymore without a web presence. But to be really effective, retail stores should also maintain a brick-and-mortar location or locations. Men's Wearhouse has embraced this business model with two new types of stores called "next-gen" stores -- retail stores that give customers a combination of the online and in-store shopping experience.
Anyone who watches retail (a form of commercial real estate) has seen the rise of the omnichannel customer experience. Take clothes shopping. An example: Customers browse for apparel on their phone or computer, read about the product and its reviews, and order the item for pickup, where they can try it on at a brick-and-mortar store to ensure it's what they want.
Why the need?
Once people started ordering products online, there was no going back. Some online product ordering works better than others, though. And with clothing, unless you're a repeat customer, odds are you might not get what you want. Online clothes ordering works best when you know not only your size but how that size relates to the store's sizing protocols (which often differs).
Online clothing ordering also works best when you consistently order similar styles. Otherwise, there's a good chance the item won't fit you as well as it did the model. Then you'd need to return the item by mail. With that hassle, you might as well have just gone to the store.
Enter the combo experience
A big storefront is expensive, especially in high-rent areas. A great way to maintain a real-world retail presence is to operate a smaller store, made possible by integrating with online shopping.
Now stores can do business and not keep all their inventory in each store, as what the two next-gen Men's Wearhouse stores are doing. Instead, stores pare down by keeping only samples for customers to try on. If shoppers like the item, they order online, often while still in the store, for home or in-store delivery: a win-win experience for everyone all around.
Here's what Men's Wearhouse is doing
What makes two Men's Wearhouse stores new and different, along with an improved design, is contactless tech to help ensure customers get the perfect fit. One of these stores is in Shenandoah, Texas, and the other is in Buford, Georgia. Here's what they offer.
Customers get two photos taken that determine sizing. The tech is powered by 3DLook, an innovative tech solution for the fashion industry. Men's Wearhouse is the first men's apparel store to use this type of human body data capturing.
Digital shirt wall
Here, customers can use a touchscreen display to choose the type of shirt they like: fit, style, and color. When customers select shirts, store employees put those selections in a fitting room.
Custom garment creation
This gives customers a 3D display, allowing shoppers to design garments by offering a choice of fabrics and styles.
A redesigned store
A redesign allows customers to see at a glance what the store offers while having interactive displays for ordering and designing throughout the store. The stores look modern and inviting, giving people another reason to leave their homes to shop.
The Millionacres bottom line
If retailers want to appeal to younger generations (which they do), they need to seamlessly integrate the digital world with the real world. Stores that do this early on -- and do it well -- get that important jump on the competition, important for creating brand loyalty. Expect Men's Wearhouse to expand its new concept to more of its existing 630 stores.