November 21, 2014
If you could step inside the internet, which website would you jump into first? If you are a shopping fanatic, you might choose to go inside Zappos.com. Beginning today, and running every day 24/7 until December 31, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, the Zappos Pop-Up Shop powered by ShopWithMe will allow you to do just that.
Inside Every Department
Browse the merchandise: check out the different options in color, take a closer look at the fabric, and touch and feel every item before making a decision. Hold up the leggings and see how soft, thin, or sheer they are. See how the dress drapes, how the cuff of the jeans falls, how the coat is built. This is just like being at any of your other favorite retail stores, except that you still have the online capability of instant search for other similar items.
This is a concept produced by Jonathan Jenkins, founder of OrderWithMe, who launched the ShopWithMe software and conceived of this entire 20,000 square foot Pop-up Shop in order to test the model on the Zappos merchandise. Jenkins spent plenty of time running retail stores, prior to starting OrderWithMe to help small business with their inventory supply challenges. Now, with ShopWithMe, he can help retail stores with their inventory budgets, too. If an apparel store, for instance, only has to order inventory every 45 days, they have solved several issues that affect the bottom line: space, turnover, loss.
How Does This Work?
In a Pop-up shop, the inventory is displayed, but not available for purchase. The ShopWithMe technology utilizes a kiosk where an item can be scanned and the shopper will browse the inventory virtually, to order the size, color, style, and number of that item. Just like with an online site, the item can be put in the virtual shopping bag and the shopper can move on to a different department to keep browsing.
How Many Items Are Featured?
The layout of the Pop-Up shop feels very much like the virtual space. Shoppers can meander through the various women's departments, including basics and special occasion, men's departments, including denim and ride shop, baby & kids, sleepwear, performance wear, handbags, outdoor apparel, and of course, the shoe department. Jenkins was even proud to show off an interactive installation where tech-minded shoppers can step in and pretend they really have knocked down physical walls to travel into the section of the Zappos website where that item lives, to virtually see it on the shelf.
Food & Festivities
The feeling inside the Zappos Pop-Up shop is festive and happy, and every square inch of The Western Hotel's first floor has been utilized. “We just got access to this building ten days ago,” said Jenkins. Over the weekend of October 24-26, the Life Is Beautiful Festival utilized the space for speaking sessions and art installations. The old diner is finally being put to good use, as Slidin' Thru Proprietor Jason Baratta is in charge of managing food service here 24/7 while the Pop-Up Shop is open. The bar has also been transformed with a holiday theme and adjacent lounge.
“We wanted this entire place to have a family friendly feel,” Jenkins added. Crews were still hard at work assembling the wooden walkways that snake around a winter's wonderland forest outside the store. A 50-ft live Christmas tree imported from California graces the forest atmosphere. A setting for a visit with Santa, a workshop for having gifts wrapped, an ice rink, a movie theater setup, food and beverage area and lounge are all placed thoughtfully for maximum enjoyment. But the most important part of this scene is the snow. “We have snow trucked in every day,” and not only does it pile up on both a giant tandem slide and a smaller children's play area, it will also snow every hour in the evening as part of a light show that goes along with a children's movie.
Residents from all over Las Vegas, and visitors alike should be completely amazed and delighted at this experience, located on the site of The Western Hotel at 899 Fremont Street. The ShopWithMe product is not only for Zappos; Jenkins hopes that this software will provide a solution for retailers and shoppers everywhere, and even has ideas to expand further on the kiosk idea. Stay tuned!
Tech Cocktail is funded by the Downtown Project.
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