After losing Nike, DSW reinvents its stores. Will the Staten Island location see any changes?
STATEN ISLAND, NY – When Nike recently announced it would stop selling its products in several major retail stores, focusing strictly on a direct-to-consumer strategy, many big-box stores were forced to contend with the presence descending from the coveted mark. What shoes would take up Nike’s substantial storage space? And how would sales rebound after this change? For DSW, the designer shoe warehouse that prides itself on selling designer shoes at discounted prices, the answer is a new look and a new store layout.
“They need to create excitement and a ‘wow’ to get people off the couch and into the store – that takes more creativity,” Dana Telsey, CEO of the consumer products consultancy, told CNBC recently. Telsey Advisory Group, after DSW announced it. would test a new store format. “These national brands are so relevant to the consumer that they search for their name before searching for DSW.”
By testing the reinvention in a Houston, Texas store and labeling it as a way to bring consumers back to physical locations after more than two years of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, DSW is trying to focus on customers’ on key brands, adding “shops-in-shops” for national footwear manufacturers like Adidas, Brooks, Birkenstocks and Crocs, as well as Vince Camuto and Crown Vintage. Drastically different from the current DSW store layout, which features mixed shoe brands in aisles organized by style and category, the new concept is called “Warehouse Reimagined”.
Company CEO Roger Rawlins told CNBC the new look was based on online shopping behavior, noting that nearly 90% of DSW shoppers visit the website before heading to the store. The new look is also part of an effort to double sales of brands it owns while maintaining sales of national brands.
“For us to achieve both of these goals, the physical experience that we create for our consumers as well as for these national brands, must evolve,” Rawlins told the news agency.
The DSW “Warehouse Reimagined” store will have an over-the-counter format, where sizes are available for customers to grab without the help of associates. For shoppers not at all interested in employee help, self-checkout will be an option, CNBC reported. QR codes will be integrated to allow consumers to access more information on their phone while in store, rather than the current brand and price displays.
The new DSW format is smaller — measuring around 15,000 square feet instead of the typical 25,000 square feet — but Rawlins told CNBC he is committed to offering consumers the same level of inventory, striving to remain in stock for all sizes. The smaller square footage helps reduce fixed costs, while the new design also allows the same amount of inventory to be sold, he added.
Will change come to DSW’s New Springville location?
The company is not yet disclosing details, but Rawlins said it will monitor any increase in sales resulting from this change. Noting that one in five DSW stores need to be renewed every year, the CEO said the company would potentially consider rolling out what works to stores when leases expire.
There are approximately 700 DSW stores nationwide.
“Losing Nike is a big deal,” Dana Telsey told CNBC. “It’s a challenge to replace Nike; you have to be able to reinvent yourself to get there. I think that’s it [DSW is] try to do.”