Shop Till You Drop? I'd Rather Just Drop.
Shop Till You Drop? I’d Rather Just Drop.
If you’re anything like me, after the whirlwind that was the holidays you’re looking for an IV of Starbucks…pronto. Navigating through packed parking lots, elbowing your way through the aisles of Target and having to go back because you mistook small for extra small can take a toll on you – and make shopping seem like the ultimate nightmare before Christmas.
Insert retail service – your magical answer to ensuring the night before Christmas, all through the house, not a creature is stirring – or frantically wrapping last minute gifts that you’re second-guessing after staring at them for so long.
We are all well aware that in today’s society time is money, both retailers and developers understand that too often people don’t have time to mill about a large department store, mall or town center.
Have you ever waited last minute to purchase a gift – Christmas, or even a bridal or baby shower gift? Picking up a last minute gift off a registry can be such a hassle let alone the dreaded return process – I’d opt for the dentist over that any day. Maybe you need a wardrobe refresh, but the thought of spending hours digging through piles of denim to find your size makes you nauseous? The fact that you’re not alone is exactly why the personal shopper is making a comeback.
Online company Stitch Fix has been increasing in popularity in the last few years and it shows no signs of slowing. Stitch Fix is a virtual personal stylist that selects items based on your profile and sends them directly to your door. You keep what you want, and send back what you don’t.
Worried about trying a different size or color? Unfortunately, Stitch Fix doesn’t offer that – so what is the solution? Imagine heading over to your local mall or town center and chatting with your very own personal shopper, live in the flesh. It’s the easiest way to experience brick and mortar shopping, without all the legwork - you meet with your personal shopper to do a brief interview where they get a sense of your style, typical store preferences, as well as measurements. Once they have all the info, you can relax and let your shopper do all the heavy lifting – carefully curating a wardrobe that matches your style and budget. Your personal shopper pulls items in multiple sizes from various stores and you’re able to try on all the items prior to purchasing. You select what you want, and your personal shopper returns all the rest to each store. You could even have items altered or gift-wrapped if needed (#treatyoself)! Mark it down for August – the headache of back to school shopping with kids is instantly eliminated!
Still frazzled by the daunting task that is a return – online or in store, face it, they’re miserable. Happy Returns is a company that offers simple returns for online purchases. Imagine a pop-up kiosk after the holiday season where you can return multiple items from different stores all at one location. Now, make this a permanent space with your personal shopper and you’ve added another great service to your offerings. Returns are no longer a hassle when you’re in a rush – massive victory.
So we’ve imagined a retail service for purchasing and returning items – but what about one and done wears? Not only are millennials forever renting real estate, they’re also renting their clothing. Men had been renting tuxes for decades, but there hadn’t been an equivalent for women. Rent the Runway started as an online platform where women could rent high-end dresses and evening wear for a fraction of the retail cost. The concept became so popular that they’ve opened several brick and mortar stores throughout the United States. Get invited to a last minute fancy affair but know you’d never wear a gold sequined ball gown again? Stop in the store, or shop online, and rent something for the weekend!
Put all of these great services together and you’ve got all your bases covered when you’re in a time crunch - personal shopper, gifting, returns, and rentals! As retailers and developers continue to look for ways to revolutionize what shopping looks like to the world, don’t be surprised if you start seeing more of these retail services popping up at your local mall. Life gets hectic, especially around the holidays, so wouldn’t it be nice to take advantage of these services and spend more time spiking egg nog instead?
by Jessica Neal
Jessica is a driven project manager focusing on retail and mixed use environments. She has a love and talent for bridging the gap between architecture and interior design. When she's not at work, she's likely thinking about or planning her next trip; her favorite vacation spot is Dublin, Ireland.