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Rothy’s Delights Brand Fans with Newest Brick and Mortar Concept

Rothy’s latest retail concept stands out by tapping into Gen Z and Millennials’ desire for seamless omnichannel shopping convenience, sustainable consumption, and retail activism

Rothy’s, a San Francisco-based, sustainable shoe and accessories company, is the latest digitally native brand to open a storefront on Chicago’s Armitage Avenue in the trendy and upscale Lincoln Park neighborhood.

What You’ll Find at the Lincoln Park Store

Rothy’s was born to solve a problem- what to do with the catastrophic levels of pollution on the rise all around the planet- and this mission is reflected throughout the Chicago store. The floor is made from plaster and ocean-bound plastic, and the cabinets are built from recycled wood fiber and paper.

When shoppers first enter the store, they are greeted by a large display showcasing the individual elements that Rothy’s uses to make their products, such as merino wool, marine algae and single use plastic. To date, the retailer has kept 100-tons of ocean bound plastic out of our waterways.

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Also included in this display are strategically placed wooden blocks covered with informative metrics that speak to their values and drive home the difference between Rothy’s sustainable approach to production and the broader footwear industry.

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Moving through the rest of the open space, shoppers will find a selection of Rothy’s key styles across all categories. A quick call with a brand ambassador revealed that the store carries “almost” all of the styles and that anything not available can be easily ordered online.

Why are Stores a Good Investment for Rothy’s?

2020 was the cherry on top of several challenging years for brick & mortar retail and despite what the headlines may lead you to believe, stores are not dying. Instead, it has become a landscape characterized by survival of the fittest, only those who are smart about how stores play into their overall channel strategy survive.

Rothy’s newest store is the sixth in their fleet and a smart move for the brand as it continues to grow.

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Rothy’s primary product category, footwear, poses some unique challenges for ecommerce that are not experienced as strongly by other categories. A recent study by PowerReviews found that almost 30% of shoppers cite “item doesn’t fit” as being the primary reason for returning an online purchase. In the women’s footwear category alone, Rothy’s offers 17 sizes and while size charts and fit guidance information is provided, it cannot replicate the precision experienced when trying on shoes in real life. In addition to the logistical headache of receiving the products, re-stocking, etc., returns can be incredibly expensive. Retail stores offer customers the chance to touch, try-on and take home in one visit. Furthermore, since Rothy’s releases new colors/patterns of their signature styles, shoppers can continue to expand their collections by ordering online with confidence that the shoes will fit.

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Of course, retail stores are also a mecca for brand fans and an impactful growth marketing channel. In an interview for Goldman Sachs’ “Talks at GS”, Rothy’s CEO and Co-Founder Stephen Hawthornwaite shared that 50% of Rothy’s shoppers heard about the brand by word-of-mouth and that they have built an avid community of brand fans. Not only are brick and mortar stores important for reinforcing loyalty amongst fans (provided their locations are chosen carefully), they are also a great way to reach new audiences.

All in all, the store itself is streamlined and sustainable, much like Rothy’s signature products, and a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Alyson Fischer

Alyson Fischer is a guest contributor with 10+ years of experience helping Global 100 clients tell data-driven stories to elevate the customer experience and inspire dynamic engagement across channels.

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