Why are most retail spaces designed primarily for standing? To maximize traffic, low commitment entry, unrestrained browsing & so on. But how beneficial are these to the retail experience? We set up the Sit-Down Shop to find out.
We took over Chinatown Soup, a small gallery in downtown Manhattan, & turned it into a temporary retail space where customers had to be seated at a table by our hostess. Once seated they could browse a menu of shirts & sweatshirts while enjoying a complimentary beverage graciously provided by Sixpoint Brewery. If they were interested in any of the designs our waitstaff would bring them out on a platter.
Customers were welcome to stay as long as they wanted so they could relax, talk with friends & of course learn about our brand. Although this limited the quantity of customers it increased the quality of the experience, allowing our staff ample time to discuss our products.
Surprisingly, 85% of visitors purchased product. So I would recommend a Sit-Down Shop to any brand seeking a highly engaging, intimate, & financially lucrative concept for their retail space. What you lose in the quantity of visitors will be made up for in the quality of the experience (assuming you have quality products & a quality staff). The structure provides an interesting alternative to the somewhat solitary & unfocused state of retail shopping while standing. It can elevate shopping from a chore into a communal activity, letting your customers enjoy your store without getting exhausted or overcrowded. Consider the perspective of a shopaholic’s significant other who isn’t really interested in the store of choice: tagging along might be less torturous if you can do it while sitting down & enjoying a beer.
Our store maintained relatively normal business hours, but since this concept mixes well with groups & alcohol there is an opportunity for Late Night Retail. Instead of a bar or nightclub, consumers could go out on the weekend to your store. The main thing to consider is that anyone who takes a seat is more likely to purchase your products the longer they stay IF you are serving alcohol. Cheers!
This is an excerpt from my Lost Cat™ Annual Report 01. Download the full report for free at www.lostcat.nyc.