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Eye on Retail: The Container Store unveils tech-savvy ‘next-generation’ store

BY Marianne Wilson

The Container Store has debuted a new architectural design with technology, an updated merchandising strategy and more personalized services.

The home storage and organization products retailer revamped its Dallas flagship to its “next-generation” concept, which is designed to make it easier for customers to take care of their storage and organization needs. The concept resulted from consumer research conducted in partnership by the Container Store, FRCH Design Worldwide and digital innovation agency MJD. The research revealed that customers’ biggest hurdle in beginning a project was feeling overwhelmed.

The retailer said the revamped flagship will serve as a “test and learn environment” to determine elements for eventual rollout to new and existing Container Store locations.

The store features 18 digital screens to support customers as they shop. They feature everything from inspiration to an interactive design tool to a digital experience called “The Organization Studio,” which allows customers to upload a photo or video of their organizational challenge online, describe the challenge, and set up an in-store appointment to meet with a store expert. The associate will develop a personalized solution for the customer customer free of charge and with no purchase commitment.

“We know that countless retailers are building digital tools and using them to innovate the shopping experience, but combining the human element with technology is when things really get powerful,” said Val Richardson, VP of real estate at The Container Store. “The Organization Studio offers the convenience of an online experience and marries it with a personalized in-store engagement that offers a curated solution created by a real person.

The new architectural design divides the store into manageable areas that pull the customer through the space and make it easier to navigate. Ceilings were lowered to make the store more inviting, rows of shelving were removed to improve sight lines, and new flooring and enhanced lighting was installed to create a more approachable and comfortable environment.

The flagship design positions Container Store’s popular “custom closets” offering as a focal point, creating a “Custom Closets Studio” destination with closet vignettes that allow customers to visualize possibilities at every price point. It also features a lounge and seating area where customers can review a design book and gather ideas for their own spaces. There are also interactive screens that show more examples of “real” closet spaces for customers.

In addition to the closet studio, the store features merchandise set-ups that are reflective of real home spaces—from kitchens to offices—that allow shoppers to get a sense of how products might work in a real-life setting. Small and large project solutions are highlighted throughout the store to show how one might begin a project or maximize their space in any area they had not yet considered organizing.

“Our purpose as a brand is to help our customers accomplish their projects, maximize their space and make the most of their home,” said Melissa Collins, chief marketing officer for The Container Store. “ In order to help them achieve those goals you’ll see a focus across all of our channels on making it easier to find the solutions they want and need.”

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