PIRCH - Showroom Tour
08/13/2015 09:00 AM
@ Pirch Atlanta
3535 Peachtree Rd Northeast, Suite 230
On the morning of Thursday August 13, PIRCH, located in Lenox Marketplace, opened its doors to a group of designers, architects, and other interested professionals to tour the showroom and hear from PIRCH’s CEO Jeffery Sears.
The event, organized jointly by RDI (Retail Design Institute) and CXPA (Customer Experience Professionals Association), was attended by more than 75 people.
The event started with an in-depth tour led by an energetic PIRCH associate. As you enter from the parking deck, you’re greeted by a sweeping staircase, in the style of Gone with the Wind. It’s a nod to southern style, but the finish treatment is modern and sleek. As you follow the arching stairways upstairs, you pass a lush green living wall.
Upstairs, the showroom opens up and your first touchpoint is the Bliss Cafe. Anyone entering PIRCH is treated to a complimentary espresso beverage of their choice. As our tour guide mentioned, the CEO Jeffery Sears individually places each of the white coffee cups at the facade of the bar in each of the stores. The coffee bar area is surrounded by the 23 pieces of the PIRCH manifesto etched on the columns. The manifesto clues you in on how PIRCH differentiates itself from other stores - the focus is on positive messages and living life to the fullest, rather than gimmicky sales tactics.
As you move through the sales area, the areas follow the themes of Dream, Play and Choose. All the faucets throughout are functional with running water, a feature that surprises many customers. In fact, the store has 484 floor penetrations which required considerable coordination during the build out. The Sanctuary is a complete spa experience, and customers can make an appointment to come and test out the variety of shower heads, bathtubs and sauna room with the curtains closed.
Photo from USAI Lighting (usailighting.com/pirch)
The showroom features a couple active “play” areas. In The Patio, they hold live cooking demos, like a weekly grilling demo on Fridays at noon. Check out the upcoming events on their website here: http://www.pirch.com/location/atlanta/ In the kitchen line-up area, playful quotes are etched on the backsplashes, including one from Miss Piggy. And in Savor Kitchen, additional cooking demos take place, and customers can try out some more unique appliances first hand, like a steamer. Associates are treated to taste-tests of food prepared by the full time chefs regularly as well.
Scenes of The Patio seating area and Savor Kitchen
As we wrapped up our tour, we stopped in the Boutique. Here, PIRCH shoppers carefully curate a selection of one-of-a-kind decorative items and gifts for the home. While they have some costly objects, they try to have a variety of price points represented. Boutique items are scattered throughout the showroom as well, to complete the homey scenes.
After completing the tour, we were invited to pick up breakfast from a beautiful spread in The Patio. (Side note - the grits were fabulous!) Mike Wittenstein and Jim Bass from CXPI and Sharon Lessard from RDI made some introductions, and then we heard from PIRCH CEO Jeffery Sears.
Mr. Sears clued us in on some key differentiators of PIRCH. All employees attend school for a week in California at headquarters to fully engage in the company culture. The question sales associates put to customers is not, “What do you want to buy?” but “How do you want to live?”
Mr. Sears spoke of the “death of elegance” happening in retail / shopping in the past decades. He emphasized the importance to keep in mind that it is a privilege to have a customer come into a store, so associates strive to make a customer’s visit to the store the highlight of their day, even if the customer does not leave with a purchase.
Mr. Sears speaking to the RDI and CXPI audience
An important part of the PIRCH business model is the installation of fixtures and appliances into customer’s homes. Each city market has a separate distribution center with in-house installers. A remarkable 85 percent of the install team are ex-Marines, part of a successful program to transition servicemen back to civilian life.
For digital strategy, Mr. Sears noted that they are currently looking for a firm to partner with, but he stressed that you “can’t digitize the customer experience.” Technology should be used to amplify an experience, but never replace it. Real interaction between people is still key. Much of the store design (a collaboration with Fitch) is to slow traffic down, such as the Bliss Coffee bar. Mr. Sears noted that the design is not so much “attention to detail” as “intention to detail.” The high end design has enabled PIRCH to fit in seamlessly in many luxury malls. A ninth store opening is planned for Summer 2016 for SoHo in New York City.
Goods for sale in The Boutique
For more on PIRCH and Jeffery Sears, check out a great interview with Mike Wittenstein of Storyminers and CXPA here.
I’d certainly recommend a stop at PIRCH to experience it firsthand. Thanks for reading and feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or feedback. Stay tuned for more forum blog posts to come!
Catherine Price, IIDA, RDI, LEED AP ID+C
IIDA Georgia 2015 Retail Forums Representative