I just received my copy of RH’s catalogue and immediately loved the building pictured on the front. I liked RH as a brand even more when I opened the front cover and read CEO Gary Friedman’s piece, The Death of Retail Is Overrated. In it, he states that “…most retail stores are archaic, windowless boxes that lack any sense of humanity” fresh air or natural light. Just that description of a retail store would make me shop more online, from the comfort of my home or office, both of which have plenty of windows and light.
However, he goes on to state that since we are both social and physical creatures we still like experiences. This of course ties in to the whole “experiential retail” trend that the industry is pursuing to keep the customers it still has and bring new customers in. RH New York – The Gallery is the building featured on the cover. It is RH’s latest space that integrates food, wine, art and design in the Historic Meat Packing District.
In addition to 5 Ways Retailers Can Engage Consumers, brick an mortar stores can follow RH’s example by creating spaces that:
- “blur the lines between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors”
- “are more home than store”
- “are filled with fresh air and natural light”
- have “garden courtyards, rooftop parks, restaurants, wine vaults and barista bars”
- “activate all of the senses, and spaces that cannot be replicated online”
In Don’t Hold A Funeral For Retail Just Yet, I emphasized that retail wasn’t dead but rather shifting and that brands that provided their customers with options and experiences would fare well. Mr. Friedman worded it eloquently when he wrote: “… the physical manifestation of a brand will prove to be the most compelling and cost effective way to engage and inspire customers in a physical world.”