If I were to buy furniture today…Part 2


Chilton Table in Spalted Sugarberry by Room & Board

As we continued through Room & Board, I was feeling less and less inclined to spend any money there and was anxious to leave.

But then, towards the back of the store, we found ourselves standing in front of an interesting piece, the Chilton Table in Spalted Sugarberry. My wife and I looked at one another and began to talk about how we both truly admired the table.  We also admitted that neither of us cared all that much for our current dining room table bought less than 3 years ago.

As we stood examining the table and discussing how a table like this would be great to have in our home, an amazing thing happened.  Amazing since I had long since given up hope that anyone would ever greet us much less offer any help.

A smiling Room & Board employee stepped up to a nearby computer terminal to lookup some information. While going about her business, she turned to my wife and I and said, “Isn’t it a beautiful table?”

“It is beautiful,” my wife responded.

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If I were to buy furniture today…Part 1

Rooom & Board sign

On a recent trip to Seattle’s University Village (an outdoor shopping mall), my wife and I decided to make a visit to Room & Board Home Furnishings. We have always liked their product and since they are not now located in Portland, this was our chance to check out their latest selections.

When we walked in the front door of the store we immediately saw two employees.  They were  strategically positioned next to the front of store featured furniture display  and at the edge of the drive aisle leading around the store. I assumed that they were there to greet customers entering the store.  That was a rash assumption.

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In retail history


On August 18th, 1872, a traveling dry goods salesman named Aaron Montgomery Ward founds his retail company with its first catalog.  Not much of an actual catalog, the first issue was a single sheet, 8×12 inches, that listed 163 items available for purchase and ordering instructions.  This first catalog was a feat in and of itself since Wars and his partners had lost their first inventory in the Great Chicago Fire of October, 1871.

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Spotted at Macy’s

Macy's evending 2       Macy evending

I spotted this on a recent visit to Macy’s.  The vending machine was located next to the men’s wear department. The machine contained a variety of small electronics and accessories.

It seems like an interesting way to increase assortment and profitability without requiring the store to have knowledgable staff to sell the items. I imagine a third-party service maintains the machines.

Try to do this with your online store

Version 2

If you build it(and let them lock their stuff in it), they will come.

I spotted this at the University Village Nike store.  The lockers let runners who are out on a Nike+Run Club run to secure their valuables.  The video screen above the lockers displays information on upcoming runs and all of this is next to the treadmill where you can have your gait analyzed.

Great examples of a brick and mortar store adding value for in-store customers.


In retail history

Mall of America Sign from WikiCommons The work of Joe Chill 2

Mall of America Sign from WikiCommons
The work of Joe Chill 2

August 11th, 1992, the Mall of America (MOA) opens in Bloomington, MN.

At the time of its opening, MOA was the largest shopping mall in the United States with over 2.5 million square feet of leasable retail space inside a building of 5.4 million square feet.  Over 520 stores operate in the mall and there is space for over 12,000 cars in the parking structures.  11,000 year round employees work in the mall with another 2000 during the Holidays.  MOA generates about $2 billion dollars in economic activity.

Along with the stores, there is the Nickelodeon Universe indoor theme park, the SeaLife Minnesota Aquarium, 24 restaurants, a Mirror Maze, a wedding chapel (that has performed over 7500 weddings), 342 room Marriott Hotel, 500 room Radisson Hotel, a comedy club, Minnesota Children’s Museum and a 14 theater multiplex.



Useful POS

Dockers POS

I always appreciate point of sale materials that are both useful and well designed.

I saw this POS display designed for those of us who are a bit “fashioned-challenged” at my local JCPenney. (JCP clearly knows their target audience since not many “fashion-forward” men are shopping at JCP and many of their male shoppers made need some guidance.)

Shoppers do not need to know the lingo of the fashion industry to buy a pair of pants, they can simply look at the illustrations and read the description to decide which pants to buy.  Nice job Dockers and JCP.

Too bad it makes no mention of actually taking the pants into the dressing room and trying them on.  But that is a different issue.