Lululemon, the athletic apparel retailer, is now offering its consumers the option of trying on clothing and borrowing items to work out in before purchasing. Talk about experimental retail! Lulu has opened a new store in Chicago that includes a traditional retail unit coupled with fitness component of which includes 2 exercise rooms, a meditation area and a café serving smoothies, salads, kombucha, and beer. Lulu is one of many retailers of which are offering more than just a product. For instance, Crate & Barrel has announced that they will look to add a restaurant to some of their stores. American Eagle in its Manhattan location offers students the option to do laundry for free and DSW is adding nail services inside some of its stores. This is a great way for retailers to create a culture. This is the retail of the future!
The world of retail today and in the future is not just about selling a good product or service but it is about creating an experience and culture. With so many items being sold online, retailers must provide its consumer with experience, one of which cannot be duplicated on the Internet. Lululemon’s incorporation of retail and fitness is very interesting. If done right, this could be a pathway to success for many other retailers as well. Could you imagine going to buy basketball shoes and having the option to shoot hoops at the physical retail store to test before purchasing? What if Dicks Sporting Goods had a gym inside its store next to its retail component? I’m pretty sure that would drive a tremendous amount of traffic and add to retail store sales.