This article was first published by Forbes. Written by Sharon Edelson – Contributor, Retail
Bloomingdale’s Is Downsizing With Bloomie’s, A Convenient, Elevated New Concept
Target Corp. cracked the small store code with its pared down flexible format units, which comprise a formidable fleet of more than 100 units. Macy’s Inc. launched Market by Macy’s, 20,000-square-foot outposts, which are a fraction of the size of the retailer’s traditional stores. Kohl’s has also opened small format stores in an effort to “right-size” its locations, and Sam’s Club Now is a 32,000-square foot version of an original store.
Now, Bloomingdale’s is thinking small with its first Bloomie’s store, a 22,000-square-foot unit opening on August 26 in the Mosaic District shopping center in Fairfax, Virginia.
“Bloomie’s has always been a term of affection from our loyal customers,” said Tony Spring, CEO, Bloomingdale’s. “Our new Bloomie’s store will deliver everything they love about Bloomingdale’s in a highly edited, convenient, and unexpected way.”
Bloomie’s emphasises luxury, advanced and contemporary labels, and services such as personalisation, customisation, and alterations. The curated array of women’s brands includes Ganni, Staud, Maje, Rag & Bone, Cult Gaia, Jonathan Simkhai, Standard, Love Shack Fancy, Moussy, Mother, Frame, Re/Done and Aqua, among others.
Featured footwear brands include Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Proenza Schouler, MCM, Loeffler Randall, Birkenstock, and Golden Goose, along with handbags from Mansur Gavriel, Marc Jacobs and See by Chloe, and accessories from Gucci, Celine, Dior, Saint Laurent and Prada.
The selection is rounded out by beauty, fine jewellry, eyewear and men’s wear.
What’s different about Bloomie’s is that every associate on the sales floor will be a stylist, expert in all categories of the store, to provide a level of service enabled by technology, whether it’s finding the best denim fit or recommending the perfect pair of shoes to match an outfit.
Bloomie’s stylists will provide expertise, delivering personalised guidance to shoppers. Each stylist will be equipped with digital selling capabilities, allowing them to access special finds for customers outside of Bloomie’s, from nearby Bloomingdale’s stores to the 59th Street flagship, as well as enabling them to work with Bloomingdales.com customers digitally. The tech-enabled experience continues in the fitting rooms, where customers can request assistance with the push of a button.
“This Bloomie’s location is the first of a new model,” said Charles Anderson, director of stores at Bloomingdale’s, when asked whether the concept can be scaled. “We’re confident in our offering and will learn from our customers to inform our approach and guide future plans.
“We chose this first Bloomie’s location within the Mosaic District, a local hub for shopping, dining and entertainment, because it provides an approachable and convenient location for customers,” Anderson added. “Staying true to the Bloomingdale’s brand, Bloomie’s will have a contemporary edge and an edit that will appeal to our customers’ lifestyles, translatable to either city or suburban environments.”
In addition to style, service will be at the core of Bloomie’s. The store’s location within Mosaic District, a local hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment, is a central location for customers, whether they want to drop in while running errands or spend the day browsing new arrivals. Bloomie’s will offer the services including easy returns from any channel at the Returns Dropbox, and buy online for in-store or curbside pickup, all accessible through the centralised Front Desk at Bloomie’s.
The Bloomie’s store experience interprets the iconic Bloomingdale’s aesthetic in new and unexpected ways through innovative new design concepts. The layout and flow of the store encourages discovery, where Bloomie’s will curate rotating trends, highlight must-have items, and host activations. Bloomie’s will also feature unique pushcarts throughout the store, with rotating products for customers to uncover.
Bloomie’s has large windows to allow light to stream into the space. A punched up colour palette will bring Bloomie’s to life and connect the shopping experience to the vibrant Mosaic District outside. Bloomie’s’ fitting rooms will also make a design statement, with an impactful monochromatic pale blush coloration and colour block stripe.
Bloomingdale’s has experience in the D.C. metro area with two powerful existing full-line stores and a thriving e-commerce business, Anderson said. “Bloomie’s is entering a market where customer know our brand,” he said. “The assortment and experience have been built to complement the market, not only to reach new customers, but also to engage our existing loyal consumers.
“We expect our Bloomingdale’s customers will also enjoy the shopping experience at Bloomie’s, which will offer the fun and services they already love, in a smaller, even more convenient location,” Anderson said.
Bloomie’s will feature the newest location of D.C. area favourite, Colada Shop, which has won over locals by paying homage to the Caribbean way of socialising. Colada Shop will serve its full menu of signature cocktails, roasted coffee, and colourful Cuban bites – the perfect fare to fuel shopping sprees. Visitors can enjoy their meals from morning to evening inside the restaurant or in the outdoor patio seating area.
“My team and I are incredibly excited to become part of one of the DMV’s most innovative retail and entertainment communities,” said Daniella Senior, CEO and co-founder of Colada Shop. “Not only are we energised to bring the Caribbean way of life to Virginia, but we are also honoured to be side-by-side with our partners at Bloomie’s and committed to create the most vibrant and sophisticated experiences for our guests.”