Contact Us

Catching Fire: 6 Retailers Embracing The Showroom Concept

National Retail

The retail world is changing and so too is the shopping experience.

Nordstrom recently announced its new concept store, Nordstrom Local, which is set to open in Los Angeles next month. This brick-and-mortar store is a bit different than the others that have come before it. This one will operate with no inventory.


Nordstrom is not alone. These six retailers have also tried their hands at the showroom concept store, according to StreetFight.

1. Bonobos

One of the early adopters, Bonobos launched its Guideshops in 2012. The e-commerce brand offers a limited variety of its garments in these shops, allowing shoppers to try clothes on for fit and fabric. But instead of walking out with the items, shoppers place orders that day and have them delivered to their homes at a later date.The upscale men's apparel brand was acquired by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in June for $310M.

2. Modcloth

The brand began as an exclusive online-only retailer but earlier this year opened its first showroom in Austin, Texas. The showroom does have garments ready for shoppers to try on, but they only come in two sizes in order to allow for a larger variety of pieces to be displayed on the floor. Unlike many of these showroom concepts, the Modcloth showroom does keep extra stock and sizes in its back room.

The retailer offers two programs including Fit and Ship, which offers free two-day shipping, or Take Me Home Today, which allows shoppers to purchase and leave with ready-to-wear items. Modcloth too was acquired earlier this year by the world's largest retailer for an estimated $50M to $75M.

3. Clearly

The Canadian prescription eyewear company opened its first physical store in 2013, having been focused solely online prior to that. While Clearly still has customers order everything online, the brick-and-mortar location provides customers with personal services such as on-site optometrists and fit experts. 

4. Target

The Target Open House opened in 2015 in San Francisco. The space is designed like a model home and showcases smart-home devices like baby monitors, sprinklers and light bulbs. In this case, the purpose of the concept was to educate shoppers about products, but it also helped open the door to developing new relationships with technology brands.

5. Sears

Sears also designed a concept store in 2015 that resembled a model home and even featured a faux backyard. Salespeople were trained to guide and educate shoppers about the home's devices. But in this case, customers could purchase items directly from the showroom.

6. Jack Erwin

The men’s dress shoe company has a number of concept stores in New York City, which are called Fitting Rooms. The shops carry shoe samples in every size so people can try them on for fit and comfort. Purchases are made online and then shipped to customers directly.

CORRECTION, SEPT. 26, 12:16 P.M. ET: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed when Bonobos launched its guideshops. The story has been updated.