Crate & Barrel: An Interactive Format
Crate & Barrel has created tremendous success since 1962 through the use of their elegant store formats. They have been an industry leader in adaptive store formats and continue to strive in allowing customers to feel 'at home' while they shop the vast selection of furniture they carry.
Crate & Barrel has chosen a unique trade off that consists of size and cost. The average store size in the United States, in 2013, was 15,000 square feet. This is an incredible cost that the store must cover but they achieve this through the elegant and convenient formats. They insure customer engagement by making sure every piece of furniture is perfectly laid out and nothing is out of place. This allow the store to have beautiful flow, allowing customers to be fully engaged while browsing because they do not have to worry about where to go.
Since Crate & Barrels stores are so large they are also able to effectively show a great selection of products. This is perfect for the large retailer and has allowed them to use their format to increase online sales as well. They have acquired many new customers on their online platform that browse the large stores then go home to make their final decisions on what to purchase. Not all retailers can compete with this business model, as it is very difficult to acquire such space in the retail atmosphere. In 2014 the retailer increased online sales by 10.3% and has estimated over half of these purchases were first considered while viewing the product in stores.
Ultimately Crate & Barrel continues to compete with their major competitors by created a friendly open environment that is welcome to all. Their formats focus on elegance rather than confusing ‘racecar’ style layouts. This allows Crate & Barrel to offer a higher quality product at a higher price point than their competitors. This business model has been proven successful in an incredibly competitive market. Through their unique format they have also been able to compete in new domains of sales by using their stores as a visual representation of the products that can be ordered online.