Upward Home visits Pirch
I have no quibble with “stack ‘em deep and sell ‘em cheap” retail stores. I think that they serve a very important purpose in the retail world for the right kind of brand and the right kind of consumer.
That said, it’s hard to reconcile that particular retail model when the products sold are high-end brands. I’ve always felt that there is an extraordinary disconnect when an affluent consumer is shopping for a high-end brand – and has to navigate through a low-end retail experience. It just doesn’t feel right.
There is a reason that experiential brands – those that understand the value of a great buying and ownership experience – continue to outpace the high-end market as a whole. “Luxury is shifting rapidly from ‘having’ to ‘being’ – that is, consumers are moving from owning a luxury product to experiencing a luxury,” says Boston Consulting Group in a recent report.
If you want to see the future of high-end home retailing, check out Pirch, a California-based experiential retailer, with stores located nationwide. I found my visit to be an innovative, hands-on, experiential, sensory-overload, shopping adventure. From the welcome area, where I was given an ice-cold, fresh-squeezed lemonade, to the demonstration kitchen, to the interactive shower area, these folks have really thought through the shopping and buying process. They offer consumers a fresh new retail experience that is completely in sync with the high-end home brands that they offer.
Moreover, the showroom experience is on-brand with Pirch’s ambitious manifesto, that I’ve admired since the concept launched and wondered just how in the heck they were going to pull it off. (They did.)
Is this retail model working? In a recent CNBC story, Krystina Gustafson writes that some Pirch locations “are posting sales greater than $3,000 per square foot, an honor… only surpassed by small-format Tiffany and Apple stores.” She also quotes Robin Lewis, CEO of The Robin Report retail strategy newsletter, who says that Pirch represents what he believes to be the future of retailing. “Experiences period… are what it’s going to take in the future for brick-and-mortar guys to survive,” Lewis said.
I hope that you can find innovative new ways for consumers to experience your brand!