Brown Thomas's €10.5m revamp hopes to get shoppers to spend more 'dwelltime' in store
Persuading shoppers to stop and "dwell" awhile will be a key part of retail strategy as Brown Thomas undergoes a €10.5m revamp.
The redesign of the contemporary ladies fashion floor has been undertaken by Alex Cochrane Architects - and the exercise to develop brands follows on the heels of a €9.5m facelift for the accessories and beauty hall on the ground floor.
The project is a response to customers' changing shopping habits, including the rise of internet purchases. "We can really see it, people are shopping differently, they are shopping more savvy and they are much more aware of brands," says Shelly Corkery, fashion director of the Brown Thomas Group.
The new floor will see the introduction of "one garment minimal display".
"We won't go across sizes on the floor, we will go across garments so you will see it in different colours but you won't have sizes 10, 12, 14 out."
This will do away with the "heavy floor" look - as the presentation aims to be more minimal.
Stockroom space will move from the basement to close to the rails on the second floor for greater speed of access.
"Dwelltime" is one of the current retail buzzwords, and with that in mind, BTs is introducing a restaurant to the second floor.
"People are coming in to shop to enjoy the experience. It's like coming into a theatre and you have to change your bricks and mortar to make it much more experiential.
"The old saying was 'we just sell things' whereas the new saying is 'an experience sells things'. It is about an experience per inch, per square foot of your store," adds Ms Corkery.
There's also a convergence between shopping channels, online and in store.
"We have 70pc of our designer brands on our website, which is huge," she says. "People are shopping online and what we see from the surveys we've done is one person out of every five buys online and the other four come into the store. For online, we are developing our site with the introduction of the wishlist."
With this, customers can browse the site and send in their list ahead of meeting a personal shopper: "So whether it's 10 pairs of jeans when you are on a jeans run or three dresses and 18 pairs of shoes, they will be waiting for you in store to try, and the personal shopper can add more suggestions. It is a much faster, bespoke way of shopping," says Ms Corkery.
"I think at the moment we are in revolutionary retail. Fashion is back building dreams."