DSW bets smaller is better in Vegas with new store format

Chain Store AgeAug. 7, 2018

DSW’s new store in Las Vegas is half the size of the retailer’s typical location, but it’s strong on experiences and innovation.

Located in the Showcase Mall on the Las Vegas Strip, the just-opened location is based on the retailer’s “lab” store concept, which opened in fall 2017 at Polaris Fashion Place, near Columbus, Ohio. Along with the new store design, it includes nail bars, repair services, and custom in-soles.

Befitting the Las Vegas setting, the store features a video-covered entry way that creates a sensory experience of light and sound on three sides.

“Our ‘video tunnel’ is an immersive and exciting feature that makes customers feel as if they’re flying over a city, swimming under water, or walking through a desert,” said Roger Rawlins, CEO, DSW. “In reality, they’re travelling down an escalator into the new DSW sales floor, where more unique experiences await.”

The store features a one-of-a-kind “shoevators,” or shoe elevator. The display wall of shoes includes three elevator lifts, serviced from a mezzanine over the sales floor. Customers order shoes from the wall via the DSW app or a tablet located at a nearby kiosk, which alerts an associate on the mezzanine. The associate receives the order, picks the ordered shoes, and sends it to the sales floor in a numbered bin via the shoe elevator, where the customer picks it up.

“It’s essentially a giant shoe vending machine,” explained Rawlins, “inspired by the assembly line-style mechanisms that we use to move product around our actual warehouse.”

Despite the store’s smaller footprint, it offers a full assortment of shoes and accessories. In a fun add-on, customers can win a pair of special sneaks by playing the “Heat V ault Keymaster” machine. Reminiscent of an arcade classic, the game challenges players to retrieve sneaker swag in just two moves by inserting a key into a keyhole using a joystick.

DSW operates more than 500 stores in 44 states. It is a division of DSW Inc., which operates several value retail concepts under the DSW and Town Shoes Limited banners. DSW also supplies footwear at leased locations in the U.S. through its affiliated business group and franchised international locations.

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