b'SHOWSTHE LAB- 5 RETAILTHEWRAP-UPWENT GROWNTRENDS SWEET DARK QUESTION SPOT5 FOR THE FIVE TRENDSSisters Megan and Moria Flynn strive to give their jewelry store, M. Flynn, that welcome home vibe.THAT HOMEY FEELABOVE, ALL ROADSJewelry stores are meant to have a luxuriousM. Flynns locationa former piano factoryLEAD BACK TOfeel but an aspirational atmosphere can quicklythat was converted into an artists studiosets theEXPERIENCEbecome intimidating, even stuffy, if the balancetone for the jeweler, looking homey with its warm isnt just right. brick faade and array of fresh flowers.Luxury doesnt mean it shouldnt be welcom- With two sisters at the helm, the family feelingCustomers want to walk into a fun, wel-ing and comfortable, Shinola CEO Shannonis baked into the store. coming store where the jewelry on display is Washburn said at a panel on brand experience atFor us, its worked to have a more laid-backone element of a total experience that makes the NRF conference. atmosphere, says Megan.them want to return. And, in the wake of the Washburn said positive feedback from guestsWe want people to feel like they can comecoronavirus pandemic, theyll also want to about Shinolas stores convinced the watchvisit the ring theyre coveting, she says, notingfeel that they are walking into a safe, clean company that moving into hospitality would bethat customers sometimes make smaller purchas- environment.a good idea. In January, Shinola opened its firstes as they save up for that dream piece. When the customer leaves, bag in hand or boutique hotel in its hometown of Detroit.The stores Instagram is chock-full of photosnot, their memory of the experience will usu-Washburn framed the transition from retail toof Charlie, a black-and-white dog who has madeally last longer than any one piece of jewelry hospitality as a way to immerse customers in thehimself at home in the shop, napping under thethey saw.brand. showcases and rolling around on the rugs. Peter Smith put it best in a retail-focused Shying away from gimmicky, overt branding,In the wake of the pandemic, the adorablecolumn published on NationalJeweler.com in the company opted for subtle, nuanced brandpooch will still be frequenting the store, saysmid-April. influence, including bathroom fixtures made toMegan, though hell need some time to get used toIf a business was struggling before look like watch casebacks. people wearing masks, a sight that has spooked theCOVID-19, its shortcomings will be exac-Its all about creating amazing, quality inter- stores unofficial mascot. erbated and failure to reinvent your business actions at every touch point with your consumer,A worry for Megan is that the store experienceimmediately will likely hasten your decline, she said. could get lost in this overly planned situation thathe wrote.Independent jewelers are getting in on theis our new reality, though she acknowledges theIf a store was doing well before the pan-home vibe too, albeit on a smaller scale. by-appointment-only model will give them somedemic hit and it made it through, then the Jewelry is tricky to make really comfortable,control over the store environment and the experi- owner should double-down on whats working.says Corvin of Panowicz Jewelers. Someoneence presented to the customer. While consumers returning to stores has to get stuff out for you from a locked case.Also uncertain is the future of the stores events,post-pandemic may have different priori-We wont ever be able to make it 100 percentlike book club meetings, author talks and the sea- ties, the retailers ultimate goal remains the homey. sonal build-your-own bouquet flower stations. sameprovide something memorable and The jeweler believes its the little things thatEvents may be held in small groups or by ap- unique that the store down the street, and the count when making a customer feel welcome. pointment only, but the Flynn sisters are holdinginternet, cannot.Employees opt for a more business-casual dressoff on a final decision considering the fast-pacedIf a retailer can convince customers their code to tone down the intimidation factor, and or- developments surrounding COVID-19.needs and wants are understood and can be dinarily offers all guests complimentary beverages,I always want to keep the store interestingbetter met in this store than anywhere elsethough as of June that service is by request only inand have people learning along with me aboutwhile also making them feel great about the light of coronavirus-related safety concerns. jewelry, Megan says.experiencethats half the battle won. 32 MARKET ISSUE 2020'