Above and Beyond: Bed Bath & Beyond’s NYC Flagship Sets the Tone for the Future
Sandwiched between Marshalls and TJ Maxx in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the two-story, 92,000 square foot Bed Bath & Beyond flagship location opened its doors to New Yorkers on July 22nd.
Bed Bath & Beyond’s newest flagship offers new branded experiences, digitally-enabled engagement methods and the company’s first in-store SodaStream bubble bar. Embracing the shop-in-shop concept, much of the store’s perimeter is broken up into ‘roomlike’ vignettes curated in alignment with a specific brand personality, including installments from branded partners as well as those that feature own brands like Wild Sage and Our Table. Altogether, the store features over 20 distinct merchandising experiences.
As a chain that has been notorious for narrow aisles and product stocked to the ceilings, Bed Bath & Beyond decreased its SKU-count by 40% at the remodeled flagship location. With less product, the store boasts a bright, spacious layout with wider aisles. Read on for our take on the flagship’s refreshed customer experience and what it means for the future of Bed Bath & Beyond.
Strengthening private brands and strategic branded partnerships
Private brands have become a renewed area focus for Bed Bath & Beyond in recent years, as the retailer attempts to carve out a unique value proposition as a destination for ‘all things home’. Bed Bath & Beyond has introduced 6 new brands since February 2021, with a goal of launching a total of 8 brands by February 2022. This initiative is just one prong of CEO Mark Tritton’s business turnaround plan that launched in October 2020 after the retailer had faced years of sales and market share decline under old leadership. Formerly a Chief Merchant from Target, Bed Bath & Beyond recruited Tritton, as he played a pivotal role in Target’s turnaround as well as the retailer’s massive private label portfolio restructuring.
At Bed Bath & Beyond he is taking a similar approach in developing these owned brands to combat the growing threat of private brands from mass merchants such as Target and Amazon, and DTC brands like Caraway and Brooklinen. Private label offers Bed Bath & Beyond a path to differentiation, providing consumers with products that cannot be found anywhere else, as well as an opportunity to drive margin and profitability.
Bed Bath & Beyond is also breaking ground with branded partnerships; the store is home to a Casper sleep shop that offers a full array of Casper products, ranging from their iconic mattresses (testing is available) to lesser-known products such as dog beds. The shop is Bed Bath & Beyond’s first in-store, branded sleep partnership.
Pivoting away from coupons toward programmatic omnichannel convenience
Despite having fewer products in its flagship store, the retailer leverages its digital capabilities to provide the robust product assortment that customers expect: QR codes are available in all departments so customers can view additional colors, sizes and models of products that may not be available on the sales floor. Bed Bath & Beyond’s commitment to digital services spans the entire in-store experience; the Chelsea location serves as the pilot of the retailer’s scan-and-buy program, allowing customers to make purchases on the spot and skip the line at checkout.
Customers can use in-store shopping mode on the Bed Bath & Beyond mobile app to better navigate the expansive store layout, and the in-store pickup area sits, readily available, between the entrance and exit. Tritton prioritized aggressive digital investment to shift customers away from the paper coupon reliance that had chipped away at margins over time and bring the store to par with other major retailers like Target that had already developed a mature digital infrastructure.
Throughout the store, a tiered signage system neatly segments the vast array of products. For college students, Bed Bath & Beyond highlights their ‘College, Happier’ campaign, where students can complete a college checklist either on paper or using their mobile device. Especially in a city like New York where surplus square footage is a rarity, Bed Bath & Beyond readily advertises their ‘Buy Online Pick-up in College’ program, where students can pick out and purchase their items, but collect them at a location close to their college or university.
Embedding experiential retailing to drive store traffic
Following in the footsteps of another home retailer we’ve covered, Bed, Bath & Beyond created space for Cafe 3B, which offers a variety of pastries, grab and go items as well as La Colombe coffee on tap. Just around the corner from the cafe, a mixologist serves customers at the SodaStream Bubble Bar. Here shoppers can taste, learn how to use, and ultimately purchase different products from the home appliance maker known for DIY sparkling waters.
What does this mean for the future of Bed Bath & Beyond?
Beyond the artisanal coffee bar and appealing store layout, this concept reflects Tritton’s new strategic direction for Bed Bath & Beyond’s stores. The Chelsea location will serve as a prototype for a broader rollout of store remodels, as the company bets on consumers returning to in-person shopping as we emerge from the pandemic. An in-store experience that prioritizes the customer, in conjunction with digital integrations and significant strategic reinvention bodes well for the future of Bed Bath & Beyond. To learn more about our digital transformation, performance improvement and strategic planning services, simply contact us. If you’d like to stay up to date on our latest retail insights, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.