Stores are beginning to conform to shoppers' needs and wants.
Express' New York shop on Madison Avenue, serving as a prototype for future expansion plans, has been decked with phone chargers, digital styling screens, lounges, and will hold events every month inspiring young entrepreneurs. Most important for shoppers in a pinch: Express will have a dressing room ready for you with the items you want (based on your selections online) before you arrive at the store.
"Retailing is about relevance. Relevance is about being at the heart of what the customer wants," David Kornberg, president and CEO of Express, told CNBC. "I think we clearly saw there was an opportunity where bricks-and-mortar retailing was moving."
The plan for the Madison Avenue store, he said, is to learn from shoppers' reactions to the more open layout, a different assortment of clothing and new tech, before taking that to other Express locations. The company tapped the New York store for the job because of its proximity to other digitally native brands growing along that corridor — namely Bonobos, Untuckit and Indochino.