Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Today’s USA Today reports on a new retail venue: The Epicenter Collection; a store used to highlight merchandise currently sold only on the Internet or via catalog.
The first Epicenter Collection store will open next year in a Newark, Delaware mall. Shoppers will use handheld devices to learn about products, place orders and have their purchases sent to their homes – with free shipping. Some items will even be available for purchase in the store.
Kind of sounds like the old Service Merchandise stores, doesn’t it?
According to the article, the Epicenter Collection is “meant to give people the touch-and-feel element of shopping they miss when buying on-line.” The store will feature companies and/or brands with few or no stores. It will be housed in empty mall anchor locations -- not a bad use of unused space.
The plan is to open similar stores at malls around the country, in fact two more are planned for 2009. Merchandise will likely include jewelry, clothing, DVD players, television sets and more.
Antony Lee, CEO of Convergent Retail, the developer in charge of the project, says the idea offers the best of traditional and Internet shopping. "It's like a living website or a living catalog store," he said.
QVC sells on TV and on-line. The company also has a store at the Mall of America that’s doing very well. And why not? On-line shopping is up and people have shopped by catalog for decades. But the thrill of actually touching, trying on and playing with the merchandise before purchase will never go away. Neither will shopping as a social experience. Just as any Millennial. They LOVE to shop.
So what do YOU think? Will this idea fly?
Source: USA Today, June 20, 2007 . Photo: Epicenter Collection via AP