Who Said Shopping Malls Are Dead? Okay, maybe a few people, but Draper James doesn’t think that’s the case.
The clothing and lifestyle brand, founded by Reese Witherspoon, recently extended its IRL footprint with two new stores: one in the Houston Galleria and one in the Mall of America. The locations are part of a strategy to put the brand in front of more customers, CEO Erin Moennich told Retail Brew.
- Draper James plans to open five to ten more branches over the next two years.
Why shopping centers?
The company had never had a mall location before, and previously only had three other stores, including its Nashville flagship. But over the past year, Draper James felt that “there were more opportunities in physical retail,” Moennich said.
To begin with, Draper James looked at where his DTC sales came from, using zip code data to figure out where demand needed to be met.
- The Houston metropolitan area has proven to be Draper James’ largest sales market over the past year.
Beyond the data, however, the team scoured both malls to see which brands could be potential neighbors and who the customers are. The experiential component – the Mall of America literally has an amusement park, for example – also played an important role.
âThese are really centers where people come to shop, but they also come to do other things,â noted Moennich. âWe had confidence in this client. “
- Besides, Draper James isn’t alone: ââLas Vegas-based jeweler Karma and Luck opened its first store outside Nevada at The Galleria in December, while the Mall of America plans to host a multitude. new clothing brands, including PacSun Kids and Psychobunny.
That’s not to say that there hasn’t been “excessive retail expansion,” she noted. But Moennich said Draper James and his investors are lined up at the mall.
âThere will always be an appetite for shopping in malls in the United Statesâ¦[Class A malls], the main centers of these large metropolitan markets, are important and people will return there, âshe explained. âThere is an appetite for finding new brands in them, and there is a lot of traffic in them. “
This is my jam: High foot traffic is critical, especially for a brand like Draper James, as the cost of acquiring customers online is only growing, Moennich noted.
- âHaving some diversification where we meet new customers is an important part of our strategy for the future,â she said.
IRL spaces can also create appreciation for a brand in a way that online cannot, Moennich added. For example, the Nashville flagship is inspired by Witherspoon’s childhood home, an aesthetic replicated (albeit on a smaller scale) in the brand’s new locations.
That sense of welcome is what Draper James hopes to attract new buyers and keep them around. He tested the use of QR codes at the point of sale to collect more information from his customers, like emails, to continue conversations both online and in IRL.
âThe idea that an omni customer is more valuable is still absolutely true,â Moennich said.
Looking ahead …But Draper James’ new spaces aren’t limited to shopping malls. The brand announced a new exclusive capsule collection for Kohl’s late last year that will put Draper in 500 stores starting in February.
âAll of these big, physical retail initiatives underway are going to bring new name recognition to Draper,â Moennich said, and help the brand âreach a whole new customer baseâ.âKM