Looking to provide a different experience for a key demographic group, Abercrombie & Fitch will open smaller footprint stores next month near two major college campuses that will have an omnichannel focus and serve as test beds for future expansion.
One of the stores will be located in the Gateway-University District near The Ohio State University in Columbus, and the other will be at University Village near the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Stacia Andersen, Brand President of Abercrombie & Fitch, told attendees at a recent investor day that the tests come as the company is looking to evolve its store concept and weave in more omnichannel elements.
“Our campus stores, built on a small footprint and with full omni functionality, will also serve as unique learning labs, providing us with insights into driving productivity from more compact stores, omnichannel integration and leveraging store-centric experiential marketing,” Andersen told attendees at a recent investor day.
The stores will create new types of brand experiences at the campuses, hitting a target population in its “bullseye.” They will feature buy online, pickup in store, order in store and ship from store functions. Thirty-inch interactive screens will allow customers to shop the A&F ecommerce site, and items added to cart can be moved to the mobile app or registered in the store for checkout.
The locations will also feature brand ambassadors to build relationships with the schools and their students, hold on-campus events to drive traffic and serve as “learning labs” on small footprint stores with an omnichannel focus. They will be less than half the size of the typical mall-based A&F store.