7 Experiential retail store concepts in 2021

Oct 13, 2021
Written by wpengine

Retail Dive published a recent article exploring seven experiential store concepts that are launching this year. Retailers should check out the list below to find some inspiration of their own:

  1. Dick’s House of Sport and Public Lands
  • The retailer’s experience-driven House of Sport format debuted in April this year, featuring everything from a rock-climbing wall and a turf field to a putting green and racket stringing. Analysts expect the retailer is using the concept to test every experience it could potentially offer and eventually roll out the winning ones, so to speak, to the rest of its fleet.
  • Public Lands is an entirely different venture. Announced in November and launched in September this year, the banner is an outdoors-focused business that competes more directly with the likes of REI. It’s got an environmental mission and, to some extent, serves as a replacement for the Field & Stream stores Dick’s is departing from, without the emphasis on hunting. Analysts think it could be a powerful growth vehicle for the company as the outdoors segment has gotten a boost over the past year or so.


  1. Target’s Ulta shop-in-shops
  • In a deal that brings together two retail powerhouses, Target and Ulta in November last year announced their plans to open Ulta shop-in-shops within Target stores. The first Ulta shop-in-shops opened in August, with 58 up and running by the end of Ulta’s Q2 and 100 total slated to be open by the end of the third quarter.
  • For Target, the Ulta deal is just one of several shop-in-shop formats the retailer is rolling out. In February, the mass merchant announced it would be opening 17 Apple shop-in-shops, with planned expansion this fall, and in August said it would triple the number of Disney shop-in-shops in its stores ahead of the holidays.


  1. Bloomingdale’s small-format Bloomie’s concept
  • Bloomingdale’s is hoping to reinvent itself with a 22,000-square-foot format dubbed “Bloomie’s.” Bloomie’s, which opened in August, features men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, shoes, and beauty, as well as centralized services like a returns dropbox and curbside pickup. The store frequently rotates trends, hosts activations, and features carts throughout the store that prompt product discovery.


  1. The Sephora at Kohl’s beauty shops
  • Adding to the list of high-profile beauty partnerships, Sephora and Kohl’s in December last year revealed plans for “at least” 850 Sephora shop-in-shops within Kohl’s department stores. While that number won’t be reached until 2023, 200 locations are expected to open this month. The initial 70 began rolling out in August, which is also when Sephora and Kohl’s launched the online experience for the partnership. The experience features Sephora-trained beauty advisors, testing and discovery zones, a rotating assortment, and in-store returns and pickup.


  1. Casper’s shop-in-shop at Bed Bath & Beyond
  • On July 22, Casper, a direct-to-customer mattress brand, opened its first branded shop-in-shop at Bed Bath & Beyond’s flagship in New York City. Bed Bath & Beyond will also offer the DTC brand’s products at other locations, but the New York City store is unique in offering a Casper shop-in-shop.
  • “Casper will create one-of-a-kind, immersive in-store shopping experiences of its award-winning suite of sleep offerings to Bed Bath & Beyond customers,” Casper said in a release about the shop-in-shop.


  1. Wilson’s first-ever brick-and-mortar stores
  • Wilson’s first store, at 2,247 square feet, opened in Chicago in July and sells both the company’s new apparel line and an assortment of sports equipment. Like many in the athletics space, the well-known brand aims to bring uniqueness and experiences to its customers through exclusive seasonal drops, limited edition products, and special events. Wilson described the Chicago store as a “test lab” for gathering feedback — and in May, plans for stores in New York, Shanghai, and Beijing as well. The company later added plans for a store in Los Angeles.


  1. Nordstrom’s Indochino shop-in-shops
  • Nordstrom and Indochino announced a deal for the DTC custom apparel brand to open 21 shop-in-shops at the upscale department store in June and July. As a retailer that prides itself on service, the Indochino partnership makes sense for Nordstrom, as it is a highly service-oriented model.
  • Nordstrom shoppers interested in the brand’s apparel work with Indochino salespeople to choose fabrics and customization options for their clothing, including lapels, buttons, pockets, lining, and monogramming. Apparel is then made to measure and sent directly to customers within two to three weeks. Nordstrom also offers complimentary alterations for all Indochino customers.

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