DSW Plans To Invigorate Brand With New Store Design

by Katie Lee

Columbus, Ohio — DSW Inc., a leading branded footwear and accessories retailer, has a new brand mission, focused on building engaging customer experiences and improving operational execution, among other strategic initiatives.

“At DSW, we see an opportunity to acquire market share as the retail industry consolidates,” says CEO Roger Rawlins. “We have reinvigorated and positioned DSW to benefit, beginning with a new brand mission: We inspire self-expression.”

The company is blurring the lines between the online and in-store experience in a number of ways, too, beginning with the use of its physical locations as warehouses for the shipping and receiving of digital demand and returns.

“We’re unlocking the power of the warehouse with a synchronized and efficient infrastructure that virtually connects with the customer at every point, making DSW the place to find any shoe,” explains Rawlins. “It’s why we like to call our locations ‘warehouses,’ because more than half of our digital orders are fulfilled in-store, as opposed to in a traditional fulfillment center.”

To continue offering a compelling physical experience, some of those “warehouses” will return to their roots with a new design. Incorporating future-focused innovative elements, the new look embraces the aesthetic of a warehouse, featuring pallet fixtures and flexible roller conveyors. It also creates a 70% increase in units through vertical product showcasing.

The new store layout allows DSW to tell product stories across the floor, starting the moment the customer enters the space. A kids shoe test is also underway and expected to be added to more warehouses. Also under evaluation are several services like shoe rental and shoe repair.

The design is currently in test phase in DSW’s Polaris “lab” location just north of Columbus, Ohio, and the company plans to expand to several other locations in 2018. In addition, a new location on the Las Vegas strip, set to open in spring 2018, will showcase these new warehouse-inspired elements.

DSW is also co-developing new proprietary store technology that will allow associates to connect with customers like never before, facilitating their discovery and decision-making. Increased operational efficiency will free associates’ time and allow for more customer engagement. And the associate experience will be simplified by narrowing their need to juggle several electronic devices to one simple, streamlined tablet.

“This technology enables shopping on the customer’s terms,” says COO Michele Love. “We know they’re walking in with their mobile device in-hand. They want the sales associate to guide them on their journey.”

DSW Inc. operates 511 stores in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and operates an e-commerce site, http://www.dsw.com, and a mobile website, http://m.dsw.com. DSW also supplies footwear to 377 leased locations in the United States under the Affiliated Business Group. DSW also owns Ebuys, Inc., a leading off price footwear and accessories retailer operating in digital marketplaces in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.


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