New concept promises to deliver the Bloomie’s experience but in a smaller box

Discussion
Rendering: Bloomingdale’s
Jul 08, 2021

Bloomingdale’s has announced the launch next month of a new concept store that it promises will deliver the best of what the department store has to offer, but in a smaller space.

The new store, which will open on Aug. 26 in Fairfax, VA, will operate under the Bloomie’s banner.

“Bloomie’s has always been a term of affection from our loyal customers,” said Tony Spring, CEO, Bloomingdale’s. “Our new Bloomie’s store will deliver everything they love about Bloomingdale’s in a highly edited, convenient and unexpected way.”

The department store retailer said that its new format will bring together top established designer labels from its full-line stores as well as emerging labels in beauty, fashion and accessories. The Bloomie’s store will receive multiple deliveries on a weekly basis, allowing it to constantly refresh its selection and bring something new to customers every time they visit the store.

New concept promises to deliver the Bloomie’s experience but in a smaller box
Rendering: Bloomingdale’s

The new concept will focus on delivering superior customer experiences with human and technological assets working in concert with one another, according to the company’s statement. Bloomie’s stylists will be located in departments across the 22,000-square-foot store to provide personalized service to customers. Each of the stylists will be equipped with digital selling tools that will enable them to find the right items for their customers, whether located at a nearby Bloomingdale’s or even at its flagship in Manhattan. Fitting rooms have been set up to enable customers to request the assistance of stylists by pushing a button.

Standard Bloomingdale’s features, including buy online for in-store or curbside pickup and easy returns via the location’s Returns Dropbox, will be available to customers. The store will also offer customers alteration, customization and personalization services.

Bloomie’s customers can also take a break from their shopping to enjoy a full menu of “signature cocktails, finely roasted coffee and colorful Cuban bites” from Colada Shop, a D.C.-area favorite. There are seating options inside the restaurant as well in an outdoor patio area.

Bloomingdale’s currently operates 33 full-line department stores as well as 21 outlet locations from one coast to the other. The retailer plans to expand its upscale footprint in more places around the country through the Bloomie’s concept, although it has not specified how many, where or when.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the new Bloomie’s small store concept prove successful for Bloomingdale’s? What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for Bloomingdale’s as its attempts to grow the new concept’s store count?

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Braintrust
"There will need to be some differentiating elements that go beyond where the competition has already gone."
"This retailer has been stuck in the Dark Ages and need to localize and curate their offering to reflect the future of retail and not the past."
"Small is the new black, demonstrating the importance of creating a more direct and meaningful customer connection."

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13 Comments on "New concept promises to deliver the Bloomie’s experience but in a smaller box"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

It is great to see Macy’s/Bloomingdale’s experimenting with new store concepts. It is exactly the right thing to do and potentially gives them more routes for growth in the future. However slimming down a store is extremely difficult as tough decisions need to be made as to what to leave out and what to put in. You can’t use the typical approach of throwing everything at the customer and seeing what sticks. That’s where I see them possibly becoming unstuck. Macy’s made this mistake in their first smaller Market by Macy’s concept: the proposition was pitched incorrectly, hence why it is closing. Hopefully lessons have been learned for this new Bloomingdale’s concept as well as future Macy’s store variations.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

This is a great example of retail evolution at work. The new department store is downsized, modernized and, hopefully, localized.

Jenn McMillen
BrainTrust

If “the best of Bloomie’s” can fit into a 22,000-square-foot store, what does that say about the future of the full footprint Bloomingdale’s?

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Bloomie’s has always had the air of exclusivity and these smaller intimate settings will only increase their brand awareness. Bloomie’s will need to staff these stores with the right stylists and pay them appropriately. The key to success here is using people, process and technology to create a unique customer journey that stands out in the customer’s mind. Bloomingdale’s needs to follow the money and open these stores in the zip codes that will support this exclusivity at a lease rate that fits the model but that is a given.

Venky Ramesh
BrainTrust

I love the name Bloomie’s – it sounds cool, lovable, and right away conveys it’s a mini-Bloomingdale’s. The biggest decision they face will be on what products to keep and how to sell them differently and what new concepts to experiment with and which ones to scale up to the rest of their chains.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

It was definitely the right move for Bloomingdale’s to focus on a seamless omnichannel experience and to center customer service, but this whole approach is exactly what Nordstrom has owned for years. I worry this effort is too late. There will need to be some differentiating elements that go beyond where the competition has already gone.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

I am very excited about this! It’s about time that Macy’s/Bloomingdale’s adopt such a strategy and it’s well overdue. This retailer has been stuck in the Dark Ages and need to localize and curate their offering to reflect the future of retail and not the past. The localized experiential store is the first step but it’s what’s inside the store that will really be the test.

John Orr
BrainTrust

Yes. Bloomie’s along with many others are seeing the need for smaller footprints to grow access and convenience over anchor mall mega formats. More convenient, a better focus on customer experience, and much more efficient conversion with the options of all harmonized revenue choices. I expect Bloomie’s will expand its customer base as they capture those who always avoided mega mall navigation.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

I love the concept, and it allows Bloomingdale’s (aka Bloomie’s) to spread its footprint far beyond the limited number of A-level malls that can handle a full-scale luxury anchor. I’m concerned, though, about the size of the store: 22,000 square feet feels like it will be a tight squeeze for everything Bloomie’s is trying to accomplish in its new format.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

This just underscores that Nordstrom was on the right track when they opened Nordstrom Local stores. Small is the new black, demonstrating the importance of creating a more direct and meaningful customer connection.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

What, exactly, is the “bloomies experience”? Answer that and we’ll know how viable this idea is.

I’m not a big fan of this wave of “mini mania” that seems to be infecting retailers at every level, from discounters like Target and Walmart to upscale stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. There’s a reason why stores usually operate in a relatively narrow range of formats, and that includes size: there’s simply no way one can shoehorn an “experience” into a box one tenth its normal size. Can you squeeze in the essence? Part of it, I suppose. But what you have in the end is really (just) another specialty store … just what America needs, right?

storewanderer
Guest
2 months 15 days ago

Macy’s — another new initiative? Feels like they are trying to copy Nordstrom’s small store format.

William Passodelis
Guest

I remember the Bloomingdales experience — It was amazing! It was when Bloomingdales was the jewel of Federated and lead by Mr. Traub.

I also agree that this is reminiscent of or suggestive of the Nordstrom local stores.

Good for Bloomindale’s And Macy’s! They need to execute this correctly. I am sure they have learned things from the “market” foray. Time will tell.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"There will need to be some differentiating elements that go beyond where the competition has already gone."
"This retailer has been stuck in the Dark Ages and need to localize and curate their offering to reflect the future of retail and not the past."
"Small is the new black, demonstrating the importance of creating a more direct and meaningful customer connection."

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