It’s no secret that retail in 2016 is struggling. With stores going out of business and sagging sales numbers, the landscape is littered with stories of the dead and dying.
The CEO of startup Pirch, which is aiming to redefine appliance and home retail with a unique in-store experience, has a theory as to why.
“People are jaded,” Jeffery Sears said. “Retail in general owes the consumer an apology for the way it’s behaved in the last two to three decades.”
At Pirch, Sears emphasises the in-store experience. From the moment you walk in the door you’re handed a free beverage and given free rein to try out the plumped, hooked up, and turned-on showers, sinks, ovens, fridges, and dishwashers and other home appliances and fixtures.
“I don’t think [retail has] done a great job of creating a good experience in a store that’s meaningful,” Sears said, adding that it’s “confused right now” because many stores are attempting to add connective functionality to the in-store experience, as well as shifting focus online to compete with juggernauts like Amazon.
Classic American retailers like Macy’s, Sears, JCPenney, and Kohl’s have been shutting stores amid declining sales as consumers seek out discount retailers instead.
Sears said that Pirch doesn’t sell online because its merchandise isn’t meant to be purchased online, and reason Pirch exists is to create a memorable and unique experience that consumers can connect with.
“I don’t think the internet is successful because people don’t want to go someplace and have a great experience,” Sears said. “Our job is to make a person’s time in our store the best part of their day, and along the way if we sell them something: great.”
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