Crate and Barrel marries human expertise with tech advances in a new concept store
Crate and Barrel is piloting a standalone store concept that lets customers take advantage of all of their design and decorating expertise and guidance in one physical location.
Crate and Barrel opened its first Design Studio at the end of January in Pasadena, CA, according to the Pasadena Star News. The new location brings the online experience of Crate and Barrel’s design services to its own store, where customers can get specialized help from experts on how to decorate rooms from the ground up, using 3-D renderings and choosing from furniture and décor. The store will have items not available at other Crate and Barrel locations and will also allow visitors to choose custom and made-to-order furniture.
Technology-enhanced services have been catching on in the interior design space in recent years. Retailers that sell furniture are leveraging tech solutions in-store to help customers visualize how products will look at home when purchased.
In 2017, for instance, Crate and Barrel began piloting the use of a 3-D room modeling solution in partnership with tech provider Modsy online and in-store, rolling it out chainwide the following year, according to Furniture Today.
Macy’s announced in late 2018 the expansion of its in-store VR furniture experience after noting a marked uptick in furniture sales in pilot stores, according to a press release. The chain characterized the deployment as the largest VR rollout in retail history.
Other furniture chains have aimed to put the furniture shopping experience more in the hands of the home user. IKEA, for instance, created an augmented reality app which allows shoppers to superimpose a specific piece of furniture over a real-life space to see how it should look.
In its main store, Crate and Barrel has also been making moves to better position itself against its competitors in furniture, housewares and home accessories.
The chain announced the opening of an in-store restaurant last year, and also acquired Hudson Grace, a home décor, entertainment and gift brand the retailer plans to expand.
- Crate and Barrel concept store opening Thursday in Pasadena – Pasadena Star News
- Crate and Barrel Partners With Modsy for 3D Design Experience – Furniture Today
- Macy’s and Marxent Partner On Largest Virtual Reality Rollout In Retail History – Macy’s
- Will a new mobile app build IKEA’s furniture sales? – RetailWire
- Crate and Barrel takes the feed them and they will come approach – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will a tech-enabled service-focused store concept attract customers and result in improved sales for Crate and Barrel? What can Crate and Barrel do to differentiate its in-store services at the Design Studio from similar services offered by competing retailers?