There is a new reason to empty your pockets in Downtown Las Vegas. Online footwear giant Zappos.com, in partnership with technology retail logistics startup OrderWithMe, opened its first physical retail store on Friday, a 20,000-square-foot, tech-driven pop-up shop housed in the Western Hotel. The store will be open for 24 hours a day until Dec. 31.
OrderWithMe founder and CEO Jonathan Jenkins described the store as “maze-like” with 16 vignettes spanning denim, outerwear, footwear and more for shoppers to wind their way through “like an Ikea.”
The goal? To create a sense of discovery. As mom and pop brick-and-mortars work toward adding more technology to their stores, Jenkins sees more online retailers moving indoors. “We realize that customers want both experiences, and for a brand like Zappos, which is known mostly for selling footwear, a physical store is an opportunity to educate shoppers that we sell more than shoes,” he explained.
With more than 3,000 styles offered in the store and thousands more made available via kiosks powered by OrderWithMe’s new technology called ShopWithMe, there is plenty to discover. ShopWithMe hardware and software creates an “endless aisle” for shoppers by giving them the ability to purchase from Zappos’ extended catalog of products while still in the store. Shoppers can select other sizes and color options via the kiosk and have them delivered to their home.
And in true Zappos fashion, products are delivered next day for free. “No customer needs to leave feeling disappointed because if we don’t have their size or the color they want available in the store, they will literally get it the next day,” Jenkins explained.
In addition to shopping, Zappos, which has headquarters in the refurbished Las Vegas neighborhood, is transforming Fremont Street into a winter wonderland complete with a towering Christmas tree, ice skating rink and snow hill in the store’s parking lot. Shoppers can also treat themselves to snacks and hot chocolate at the store’s café, or have a cocktail at its bar.
As for Zappos’ and other online retailers’ future as physical store enterprises, Jenkins said he expects to see more stores to open and for them to stick around for longer. “A lot of online players are using pop-up shops to test brick-and-mortar. I think a lot of these temporary shops will become permanent fixtures, as they discover that they can serve a lot more consumers by opening distributions channels,” he said.