Will Timberland climb to greater heights behind new experiential concept?
Popular shoe brand Timberland is taking its standalone brick-and-mortar presence in an experiential direction – and it’s doing so with a store layout and selection that doesn’t stand still.
In early August, Timberland opened a new store concept called Tree Lab in the King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania. It is described as having a gallery-like setting in which products, pegged to themes change completely every six weeks.
For instance, the first theme named “Streetology” highlights styles and shoe technology created for urban environments. The store will debut and promote various theme-appropriate products during that time. Six weeks later, Timberland will overhaul the entire store pegged around a theme called “SHEvolution” aimed exclusively at women. This will be followed by a holiday-themed overhaul in November.
Much has been made of the importance of experience in bringing shoppers into stores. But there may be a line at which retailers experimenting in this area bite off more than they can chew, deploying huge amounts of resources with limited ROI. In the case of Timberland, creating new themes that offer an interesting take on the brand’s product lines, and implementing them every six weeks, would seem to pose operational challenges in the long run.
Tree Lab is one of a few retail concepts Timberland plans to launch this year, according to the company.
Timberland isn’t the only shoe retailer exploring experiential retail. Last year, Nike opened its Soho flagship store, which features high-tech, immersive sports-related features like an in-store basketball court fitted with sensors that record on-court feedback on product performance and display it on a screen. The flagship has also featured in-store only exclusive designer sneakers, and Nike may be planning to use the location for in-store personalized shoe creation.
It’s not clear, however, if Timberland has the kind of fan base to make Tree Lab – like the Nike store – a destination.
Brands and retailers in disparate areas have launched concepts meant to bring larger-than-life experiences to store visitors — sometimes with surprising offerings. Kohler and PIRCH, for instance, have both opened stores that allow visitors to test out next-gen showers and plumbing fixtures.
- Timberland Introduces New “Tree Lab” Specialty Concept Store – PR Newswire
- Nike goes big with an experiential concept in Soho – RetailWire
- Will customers try Kohler showers before they buy? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Tree Lab be a brand-builder for Timberland and will its model of changing themes every few weeks be sustainable and effective? Is this kind of brick-and-mortar experiential retail a worthwhile investment for brands?