Showrooms, for the most part, have just been used for cars and appliances, but as of late have found a new product. On Monday, the Canadian-based online men’s clothing company Indochino has announced it will open its 19th showroom on December 14th at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Indochino has also said it will be doubling down on the concept with at least 18 more showrooms to be introduced in 2018 in cities like Austin, Nashville, and Atlanta with even more showrooms to open in Los Angeles and New York. Philadelphia as well already holds a couple of stores.
With e-commerce becoming increasingly embedded in physical stores, the showroom concept has gained a surprising amount of traction among the apparel industry. The showroom format, which has been used by big named men’s fashion brand Bonobos to eyewear from Warby Parker, shows how the suits are currently being sold, especially to the millennial age group. Indochino’s showrooms are operational by appointments only and instead of carrying inventory, they present around 100 different fabric panels and shirt samples. Mannequins in the stores showcase the top suits. The customers who enter the store then act as the designer who are assisted by a salesperson, also known as the Style Guide, who inputs the fabric and customizations. Once the options and customizations have been selected, customers are then measured and the finished suits and shirts are shipped to their homes.
Along with more showrooms, Indochino chief executive officer Drew Green has addressed that the retailer company is cutting down their delivery times for an ordered suit from four weeks to three.
‘Showrooming’ is a great way to introduce an online-only brand to consumers,” said Christa Hart, senior managing director at FTI Consulting. “The downside is that it still has some of the negatives associated with online today. It lacks the immediate gratification we want from impulse purchases and may not be ‘quick’ enough for last-minute procrastinators.”
Green has said the showroom concept works the best because Indochino pays less rent and has less overhead, which reduces the costs for the customers as well. Most the suits start around $399.
“Showrooms actually require less space than a regular store, as we don’t hold any inventory,” Green said. “We have refined our approach to retail expansion over the past couple years, to the point that our showrooms are able to be self-sustaining, and can pay back in under a year.”
“Our showroom philosophy is to guide every customer from start to finish to help them achieve the perfect fit,” he said.
“The proliferation of the showrooming concept shows how retailers are adjusting to the new retail landscape,” said Jacob Cooper at MSC Retail, which handled the transaction to bring men’s fashion retailer Bonobos to 1519 Walnut Street. “Next-day shipping options allow retailers to save money on high-rent brick-and-mortar occupancy costs by shrinking their footprints.”
“Customers can then simply try a product, like apparel or electronics, without having to carry them around for the rest of the day,” he said. “Millennials want to be as efficient as possible, which means a `get-in, get-out’ attitude to shopping.”