The internet changed everything about shopping. But before it was ubiquitous, I, along with my partner Deborah Exum, came up with a store concept as a way to shop for a woman who was interested in fashion, but with family and work obligations had little time to actually shop. See what we did to RETHINK shopping.
How many clothes really need to be in a store
From my time with The Limited stores, and my “chapter 5 experience in retailing, I knew that clothing presented as outfits sold better than individual items. Working with merchandise expert Dennis Horstman, we crafted a complete collection of a wardrobe using 20 items.
Focus the customer
To focus the customer on our offering we redesigned the typical mall store to have 15 complete different outfits clustered in the “3rd window”/AKA the front of the store. Even walking by, a woman could scan our offering and see if something caught her eye. If she was interested enough to come in to the store, information tags told her what items made up that outfit. Those individual items were clearly displayed on the nearby wall, with additional colors to offer the customer more selections.
Acceptance of the concept.
Focus groups we did gave rave reviews for the concept. Mary Lou Quinlan, who had been CEO at N. W. Ayer Advertising, then led a woman-centered marketing agency JUST ASK A WOMAN, singled out the concept with the quote, “No other store talks to women this way.”
What happened to it
Timing. Our first store was set to open in Spring of 2002.The terror attack of 9/1/2001 essentially stopped any new business concepts while we all readjusted our priorities. Our backers decide that they would not be willing to test this concept in that environment, so MYA never got to see the light of day and be tested.
I still believe it would have revolutionized shopping. But then that was just before the internet started to be the tidal wave that would truly revolutionize shopping.