February 11, 2019

SHOPE, SIP, SOCIALIZE

The Business Post by

In a world dominated by online competitors, specialty retailers are gravitating towards something the Internet can’t offer: a welcoming destination where they can not only shop, but also dine, drink, and socialize.

As online shopping becomes more prevalent, consumers are driven to brick and mortar stores by their desire for experiences – the one thing they can’t buy online. Over the years, we’ve seen an increasing number of specialty retailers dip their toes into the restaurant biz including The Lounge at AT&T in Seattle and Tiffany & Co.’s Blue Box Café in New York, which attracts 4,500+ reservations in one weekend alone.

Gartner research director, Joanne Joliet, sums it up best in Adweek’s “Buying and Dining” article – “Retailers know they need to use their physical stores to create an inviting, engaging and differentiated customer experience to attract customers, introduce products and create an overall affinity for their brand.”

The upscale interior design brand Restoration Hardware was the first of its kind to demonstrate this perfect pair of retail and hospitality, opening its store on the Gold Coast of Chicago.

According to their website, you can surround yourself by towering olive trees, unique topiaries, fresh air and natural light as you dine in the 3 Arts Café. Relax and enjoy a glass of wine while you admire the exposed brick floors in the Wine Vault. Refuel with a handcrafted coffee (and maybe even a house-made doughnut) at the Barista Bar. Or retreat up to paradise on the rooftop, embellished with shaded canopies, fountains, and glistening chandeliers and enriched with everything from banana palms to succulents.

Sounds divine, right?

More recently, Restoration Hardware brought this luxury experience to New York, offering a “90,000-square-foot experience” that serves retail with a side of a rooftop restaurant, wine terrace, outdoor park, and coffeehouse.

We can’t wait to see what retailers do next to stay on top of this competitive market.

Image: Chicago’s 3 Arts Café [Source: 3 Arts Café Club]

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