Consumer research shapes next-generation store
THE CONTAINER STORE | Dallas
size 24,500 sf
completion June 2018
Contributing Shop! member:
FRCH Design Worldwide consumer research, design
THE CONTAINER STORE HAS REIMAGINED ITS FLAGSHIP LOCATION, revealing a new architectural design, merchandising strategy, and proprietary digital resources that make it easier for customers to accomplish their storage and organization projects.
The Next Generation Store concept is a result of extensive consumer research conducted in partnership by The Container Store, strategic design and architectural firm FRCH Design Worldwide, and digital innovation agency MJD. It brings to life a customer experience that offers a balance of convenient and unique digital resources combined with personalized service to deliver on the brand’s purpose. The innovative new concept will serve as a test-and-learn environment to determine elements for eventual rollout to new and existing locations.
“Our purpose as a brand is to help our customers accomplish their projects, maximize their space, and make the most of their home. 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,” says Melissa Collins, chief marketing officer for The Container Store. “The Next Gen Store plays a key role in bringing our purpose to life and continuing to cultivate meaningful relationships with our customers.”
The technology components in the store were finalized after many rounds of customer testing, which showed that customers’ biggest hurdle in beginning a project was feeling overwhelmed. The store features 18 digital screens supporting customers as they shop, featuring everything from inspiration and tips, to an interactive design tool and even a new proprietary digital experience called The Organization Studio. The Organization Studio was developed exclusively for The Container Store and is currently only available at the Next Gen Store. It allows customers to upload a photo or video of their organizational challenge online, describe the challenge, and set an in-store appointment to meet with a store Organization Expert. The Organization Experts will then present the personalized solution they developed for the 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,” says 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 architectural design breaks the store space into manageable areas that naturally pull the customer through the store and make it easier to navigate. Ceilings were lowered to make the store more inviting, rows of shelving were removed to improve sightlines, and new flooring as well as enhanced lighting were implemented to create a more approachable and comfortable environment.
Custom closet studio
This redesign features Custom Closets as a real focal point with higher ceilings anchoring the Custom Closet Studio in the store, creating a destination where closet vignettes allow customers to visualize possibilities at every price point. It is an elevated and more comfortable experience featuring a new hospitality component, including a seating area where customers can review an inspiration book and gather ideas for their own spaces. There are also interactive screens at the Custom Design Centers—a useful tool for the store team and the customers, showing more examples of “real” closet spaces for them to peruse.
In addition to the Custom Closets Studio, new merchandising is reflective of a real home kitchen or office space to allow shoppers to get a sense of how products might work in their own homes. 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.