Hybrid Retailers and Concept Stores: What’s the Appeal? By:Lexie Rechan, Genae Gonzales, Samara Rosenthal, Beatrice Fingerhut, Tori Ginsburg

Walking into Amble in Florence, Italy, is both a blast-from-the-past and trendy experience. The hidden gem store mixes antique furniture with fresh, healthy eats, successfully fusing the old with the new to create a truly one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Or is it a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience?

Photo taken By: Genae Gonzales

Alessandro Tentoni, Amble's store manager, credits the success of their business to their inherent novelty as a hybrid retailer in the city of Florence saying, "the idea of the restaurant is to sell both fresh food and furniture...it's a good idea."

Photo taken By: Genae Gonzales

La Menagere, another “hybrid” store not to far from Amble in Florence dons similar vibes. At the core, La Mangere is a feminine meets industrial homegood store, sandwiched between a more upscale restaurant and hip cafe. The cafe appeals to a range of potential customers--sophisticated foodies, DIY designers, and instagram loving milennials. Restoration Hardware in Chicago exudes similar vibes, and similarly attracts a diverse set of customers on the daily. Those looking for pieces to finish their homes, and those looking for a more glamorous dining experience.

Photo taken by Samara Rosenthal

So what’s the appeal of jumping on the interbred retail store and restaurant bandwagon for business? First and foremost, adding a food and drink aspect to a retail experience helps transform the aesthetic of a consumer experience to a lifestyle experience--this helps customers virtually forget they’re there to fork over money by giving them a full day of activity by offering them the chance to browse and relax.

Photo taken from https://www.hackett.com/gb/

A perfect example of this is the British menswear retailer Hackett London, which revamped the flagship store in October 2013 by installing a gentlemen’s club style gin bar to the store. The managing director of the store, Vicente Castellano, attested to the genius behind this idea by acknowledging the fact that men don’t necessarily like to spend hours on end browsing for clothes, but do like to relax with a drink in hand--a free gin and tonic bar would effectively increase customer browsing time, and in turn, drive sales. The gin bar added a drink experience to their retail experience.

Photo taken from https://www.wolfandbadger.com/uk/

Not only does the “hybrid” idea drive current sales, but attracts new customers. Wolf & Badger, a London fashion boutique showcasing the products of a diverse selection of designers, converted the basement of its store to juice bar, helping to attract the cohert of health food fans to the lower level of the store. While some of these fans may have already been Wolf & Badger customers, the addition of the juice bar drove the health food fan demographic to the basement, increasing store exposure to this specific demographic. The boutique added a retail experience to their coveted juice experience.

Lastly, adding a restaurant experience to a retail experience drives the creation of impactful memories. Now, customers who visit their favorite clothing stores have the added everyday experience of sharing a meal or a coffee under the same roof as the brand they love. That meal or coffee could have been the best damn meal they ever shared with their best friend, causing them to create a new and cherished memory. That new and cherished memory would then forever be associated with the store they created it in.

Food and design, food and fashion, food and art overlap more than ever in the social media era as technology rookies and iPhone fanatics alike artfully arrange their coffee next to their wrist watch and perhaps their latest read to snap a instagram worthy photo to show the world the highlights of their day. Why not ensure your shop or restaurant is the geotag? Hybrid retailers synthesize the food and fashion worlds, generating a real world experience.

Photo taken By: Samara Rosenthal

Sources:

https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/why-fashion-retailers-are-staging-food-experiences

http://blog.indigoandcloth.com/the-rise-of-the-hybrid-store-retailers-with-cafes-and-restaurants/

http://www.amble.it/

https://www.restorationhardware.com/content/page.jsp?id=chicago

http://www.guccimuseo.com/en/museum/gucci-caffe-e-ristorante

http://www.lamenagere.it/

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