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Wanna Go Out to Dinner and Then Shopping?

Stephen Brockman

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Stephen Brockman | January 15, 2016 | 0


Retailers are hoping to displace “dinner and a movie” as the go-to date. Outlets like Urban Outfitters are adding restaurants inside their retail locations to enhance the shopping experience and keep people coming into stores. The combination goes together smashingly; as more stores see success with in-shop dining, we’ll see more and more brands offering restaurants to give shoppers an experience that’s more entertaining than clicking a shopping cart icon.

Real Experiences Beating Out Virtual Clicks

It’s no secret that e-commerce has given brick-and-mortar retail a beating in recent years. Six out of ten shoppers say that they prefer shopping in their pajamas rather than taking on the crowds in the mall, and seven out of ten feel they get a better deal when they shop from home.

But, stats like those do not tell the whole story. In a recent report titled “The State of Retail,” nearly three-quarters of shoppers said they would prefer to browse at, say, a brick-and-mortar Amazon store, over browsing on the website. And, nearly all say that they prefer the personal experience of a physical store.

That personal experience is what brick-and-mortar retail has that digital experiences just can’t deliver. And by making the store a place to be entertained as well as a place to find a few items for the home, you can ensure visits from people who otherwise may not have made it in the door.

Who’s Doing In-Store Dining

In-store dining is not really a new concept. In the late 70s, Nordstrom began adding restaurants to their upscale retail locations. Their flagship store in San Francisco had four restaurants on site, as well as a British pub.

In 2008, Urban Outfitters expanded their “lifestyle retail” experience by adding an Umami Burger location in their Los Angeles Space 15 Twenty store. More recently, they have brought on big name chefs like Michael Symon, Marc Vetri and Ilan Hall to open restaurants inside the stores.

As retail strategist Candace Corlett told Racked, “Urban Outfitters isn’t on your corner, you have to go to it—therefore, people need to be able to get a lot done in the same place.” By offering an entire day’s worth of experience, the stores can get people into their locations for shopping, lunch and just hanging out.

The Future of Experience Retail

Playing to your strengths is just good business. For instance, if you have two nearly identically qualified candidates for a job, but one has a food handlers card and the other does not, you’re likely to pick the one with the broader qualifications.

The experience of getting out and going to a destination is what brick-and-mortar has over e-commerce. Shopping can be presented as a multi-faceted recreational experience instead of a practical duty. With the success that outlets like Urban Outfitters is seeing, you’ll see more and more retailers following suit. A food handlers license is likely to become a must-have credential on applications from job-hunting retail workers. Be on the lookout for coffee and pastries in the places you buy pants, and pizza and beer in the same location where you get your sporting goods. The dinner and retail trend gives new life to a flagging sector and new possibilities to consumers looking for sustenance and entertainment with their retail therapy.





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