The recently opened Everlane store, in New York’s NoLita neighborhood, is another interesting chapter in the evolution of retail. Everlane, one of the most successful and innovative, digitally native brands, has brought their unique POV to their first permanent physical retail space. Eschewing many of the “new rules of retail”, they have chosen to enter brick-and-mortar retail not with an emphasis on social media flashiness and attention-getting technology, but by focusing on the age-old fundamentals of retail. Creating a store filled with natural light, generous fitting rooms and knowledgeable staff; the store in many ways feels and functions more like a store from the past then one from “the future”.
Notably, unlike many of the other digital native brands (Bonobos, Warby Parker, etc.) the Everlane store is not a showroom concept, where merchandise is not stocked but shipped after purchase – it’s a “real” store, where live product is stocked on shelves, tried on in fitting rooms, paid for at the registers and taken home in an actual shopping bag. It seems Everlane’s take on clicks-to-bricks is not a radical reinvention of retail, but more about identifying and delivering upon what’s missing in online customer experience … tangible product and people interaction.
While not a total luddite experience, the technology utilized in the store is integrated in pragmatic ways into the customer experience. Everlane built a proprietary POS system, that enables shoppers at checkout to access their online Everlane account to access credits, pay with stored credit cards, see previous purchase info, etc. Beyond that, the only visible technology in the space is a call button in the fitting room and headphones on the sales floor where, if you desire, you can hear the sound of T-shirts being made.