To create a unique and compelling shopping experience, some retailers are adding restaurants. Others are beefing up digital bells and whistles. Kohler Co. is offering showers.
At the Kohler Experience Center in New York City, shoppers can make a one-hour appointment to test out a deluxe bathing room designed with shower heads that spray water at different temperatures from different directions, and includes a bathtub that fills from a tap in the ceiling and comes with options for vibration and color therapy for a little extra relaxation.
Surrounded by architecture and design firms in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, Kohler’s showroom is part store and part meeting space. Customers can, for example, peruse the luxury Kallista section of faucets and fixtures that was designed with a high-end shoe department’s presentation in mind. Professional designers can host a meeting in a room equipped with video-conferencing capabilities so that international projects can be discussed.
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Above all, according to Chief Executive David Kohler, the space is meant to inspire.
“The plumbing purchase is not a simple purchase,” Kohler said. But whether it’s a sophisticated client or one who’s not so knowledgeable on the details of the subject, “they both know what they like.”
From Nike Inc.’s
new stores where customers can try on basketball shoes then shoot some hoops, to the Coach Inc.
flagship that not only sells its leather goods but gives a bit of the history of the company, retailers of every stripe are looking for ways to make their brick-and-mortar locations reasons for customers to go shopping someplace other than Amazon.com Inc.’s
Furniture and home décor retailer RH
, formerly Restoration Hardware, is building out its locations with restaurants. Urban Outfitters Inc.
purchased a restaurant company.
And Amazon’s own take on the brick-and-mortar bookstore and grocery store does away with queues and cash.
See also:RH may be taking a step back, but it’s setting itself up to compete with Amazon
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The Kohler showroom is 10,000 square feet of bathtubs, faucets, showers, drains and more. Intelligent toilets clean themselves, and high-tech upgrades allow buyers to program their post-workout showers with a back massage that will be ready at the press of a button.
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The New York location was the first of nine around the world. Others include London, Shanghai and West Hollywood, Calif.
Kohler, a century-old company that’s still privately held by the family after five generations, also owns the Ann Sacks brand specializing in tiles, plumbing and accessories, the aforementioned Kallista brand, and the Robern brand for bathroom cabinets, mirrors, vanities and lighting.
Kohler is also a hospitality company, with golf and resort destinations in Kohler, Wis. — which is named for the family — Burr Ridge, Ill., and St. Andrews, Scotland. Another in Green Bay, Wis. — Lodge Kohler — is slated to open in July.
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As a result, visitors with appointments for a shower need only bring themselves. The store can provide bathrobes, shampoo, and all your other spa needs.
“[W]e saw a need for customers to truly experience our products before purchasing — a new take on ‘try before you buy,’” said Kohler. “This immersive experience simplifies — and enhances — the process.”
View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/book-a-shower-at-the-kohler-store-for-a-one-of-a-kind-shopping-experience-2017-06-06