PIRCH’s in-store experience picks up where Home Depot leaves off
“Where a Home Depot leaves off, that’s where we start,” Jeffery Sears, PIRCH’s CEO, said last week to The New York Times just before the opening of the luxury home appliance store’s first flagship in lower Manhattan.
Spanning 32,000-square-feet across three floors with “more than 30 interactive vignettes,” the flagship is an expansive version of the eight “experiential showrooms” it already operates at high-end malls across the country.
Playing to its upscale flavor, guests are first greeted by a barista who offers a free beverage while inquiring about which products they want to explore. But the store concept stands out in how it takes “try before you buy” to new extremes. With toilet bowls that flush, nearly all appliances in the store work in a similar way to how they would in a home.
The concept was founded in San Diego in 2009 after the co-founders were flustered by their own plumbing and appliance shopping experience.
“People just start pushing boxes of stainless steel at you. They don’t ask you how you live or how you entertain,” Mr. Sears told The Washington Post last year.
Among the highlights of the flagship:
- In the bathroom section, guests can test 38 showerheads as well as book a private steam shower in Sanctuary, an experiential home spa;
- In two live demo kitchens, in-house chefs continually demonstrate various culinary and outdoor appliances, from state-of-the-art steam ovens to the Evo Mongolian Grill;
- Guests can partake in complimentary cooking classes to learn tricks for working with various appliances;
- The Connected Loft showcases cutting-edge technology from Innit within the interactive setting of a loft apartment.
With prices as high as $11,427 for a Kohler bathtub, the concepts skew upscale, but the founders claim new homebuyers looking to make an investment will find options.
Mr. Sears told the Times, “Whether you’re a first time home buyer or building the last place you’ll ever live, the experience should be the same.”
- PIRCH Unveils the Future of Retail with Flagship Manhattan Showroom – PIRCH
- SoHo’s Gilded Home Store: Where Money Flows Like Water – The New York Times (tiered sub.)
- Pirch lets you test your home appliances before you buy them – The Washington Post (tiered sub.)
- Look inside Innit’s smart kitchen for time-strapped chefs – New York Business Journal
Photo: PIRCH; Video: Crisp Video Group
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the PIRCH approach to selling appliances? Do you see opportunities for retailers to use experiential showrooms in other product categories?