Shopping With Steve

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Shopping With Steve

IKEA is a furniture store chain from Sweden, and about 10% of its 424 stores are located in the U.S. These are incredibly large, high-volume stores that make IKEA the largest furniture retailer in the world.

Thinking of Wegmans’ history, it truly was the first supermarket chain to emphasize experience. Today, its model is emulated by many operators.

We talk about “experiential retail” a lot these days. Well, look up that term and the Abt Electronics logo just might be there.

​​​​​​​While traveling recently in Minnesota, I had to visit one of Hy-Vee’s newer stores. The chain consists of approximately 250 stores, and the ones in Minneapolis have received high praise for delivering a superior shopping experience.

Amazon is taking showrooming to a new level by partnering with Hearst Corp.'s Good Housekeeping to open a cashierless pop-up store dubbed GH Lab, where purchases are facilitated by SmileCode mobile technology.

I've seen many articles about and pictures of the new Amazon Go stores. With that in mind, I knew I was overdue to visit one myself. So I did.

At the Path to Purchase Expo in early October, we noticed that beauty/cosmetics retailer Sephora was mentioned repeatedly. Later in the month, we paid a visit to a store. See what we found.

On Sept. 18, Path to Purchase Institute editorial director Bill Schober visited the 1-day-old Amazon Go store in Chicago. The place was crowded and hectic. He took lots of photos.

I don’t know if I have ever felt the energy in a downtown area as I did during a recent trip to Denver. Both Whole Foods and Kroger’s King Soopers have built stores made for the urban environment inside some of the new construction.

Talk about reinventing brick-and-mortar retail and creating an experience that shoppers will find appealing. Restoration Hardware (or RH) has now opened 17 design galleries across the U.S. and Canada that are nothing less than spectacular.

I might have found my new favorite supermarket chain. We all talk today about delivering a great shopping experience. Much of the experience of a supermarket is driven by the first impressions of the perimeter. Rouses is as good as it gets.

If you haven’t shopped at a Best Buy store recently, stop in. You’re in for a pleasant surprise. Amazon and the rest of the e-commerce world can’t generate the experience that Best Buy now delivers.

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