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Brief Published: 13 Feb 2013

Edutainment-Based Retail on the Rise


As outlined in Stylus’ Power of Play Industry Trend, gaining a competitive edge in the retail market now requires significantly more than just a fun experience. Playful experiences that engage via a two-way dialogue are fast becoming essential – and that extends to teaching.

Two new shops on opposite sides of the globe have executed this strategy to compelling effect. Mumbai’s The Hab (short for haberdashery) defines itself as a “one-stop-shop for all sewing needs” and is a combination of store and workshop, developed by Indian sewing machine manufacturer Usha Janome.

According to the brand, the experiential space – in which consumers can test out their handiwork on décor, crafts and clothing – aims to reinvigorate the culture of sewing by fostering personal creativity, encouraging consumers to “be their own designer”. The space is also being framed as a refuge from fast-paced Mumbai life – an opportunity for individuals “to take a break from their busy schedules and create something unique for themselves”. Its website even goes so far as to describe itself as “the trendy side of sewing”.

Selling sewing machines is, as you’d expect, embedded snugly into the strategy. Visitors can test out sewing techniques on Usha Janome machines, participate in workshops ($2-$10, plus materials costs) and see short craft demonstrations by The Hab employees.

For more on how brands are tapping into the consumer desire to get involved in the creative process, see Industry Trend Consumer-Creators.

In Chicago, US sportswear giant Nike’s new two-storey destination store is also dual-impact. On its second floor is its first-ever Training Club – a space offering free fitness classes – while the first floor is purely retail-based, exclusively selling women’s athletic gear.

Classes are led by local trainers and include barre, yoga and Nike Run Club, an escorted run where attendees can earn rewards like personal training sessions and special in-store perks (such as personal styling) by logging miles on their Nike+ Run app. To date, Nike has not released plans for additional Training Club stores, but it’s most definitely a format to keep a close watch on.

Nike spokesperson Cindy Hamilton hints that the Chicago store has been conceived as a space to help the brand cultivate relationships with local athletes, who could be viewed as early-adopter consumers (both via the fitness classes and by providing them with new Nike products). “It’s a new brand experience that's designed to give us an opportunity to connect in new ways with female athletes in the city through a mix of retail and fitness,” says Hamilton.

For more on groundbreaking sports retailing, see Sports Futures and Bike Shop Boom.

The Hab