Pandora Creates A New Box For Its Retail Stores To Lure More Shoppers
The new concept Pandora store is designed to be more experiential, with an engraving station, and a ... [+] charms bar for designing custom bracelets.
Jewelry retailer Pandora, a brand that’s been tarnished by declining sales, today revealed how it plans to draw shoppers back to its U.S. stores, with the opening of its first new concept store in this country.
The 735 square foot store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, N.J. is decked out in Pandora’s new signature shade of pink, and includes features and services designed to give people reasons to come to the store.
Shoppers can get charms engraved, or their jewelry cleaned, on the spot. The store has a more open floor plan, with more of the charms, rings, bracelets out in the open, instead of behind glass, and available to be touched and tried on.
Store traffic is the most important driver of sales growth for Pandora, according to Alexander Lasik, the new President and CEO of Pandora. The current sales slump, Lasik said in the third-quarter earnings call Tuesday, can be attributed to “fewer people coming through the door,” a trend the brand relaunch is designed to reverse.
Lack was brought on in April to led a turnaround of the company, which is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Paramus, N.J. store is the fifth new concept store the company has opened this year, and the first to test the concept in a large American mall. Pandora has opened two of the new stores in England, one in China, and one in Italy. The brand also has a temporary, smaller-scale pop up the installation in the Turnstyle market in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle.
The charms bar at the redesigned Pandora store at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. It ... [+] is the brand's first new concept store in this country.
In the United States, the company wanted to see how a more experiential, service-oriented store worked in a high traffic mall. “We wanted to make sure we can manage the higher-volume stores and the U.S. tends to have higher-volume stores compared to the rest of the globe,” said Sid Keswani, President of Pandora Americas, who was at the Paramus opening.
The new stores are part of an effort to polish up the perception of the Pandora brand and make it more appealing to a new generation of shoppers.
As part of its brand relaunch efforts, Pandora has hired Stranger Things teen star Millie Bobby Brown as a brand ambassador. In August it threw a celebrity- and social influencer-packed re-branding party in Los Angeles.
Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry maker as measured by product volume, was founded in 1982. It enjoyed explosive growth during the first decades of its life and went public in 2010.
There are 2,700 Pandora stores in 100 countries and the brand is also sold in some 5,000 retail partners, such as department stores and multi-brand jewelry stores.
On Tuesday, it lowered its guidance for fiscal 2019 and said it expects to end the year with sales 7% to 9% below last year. Its third quarter comparable sales were down 10% over the prior year.
It was the jewelry retailer’s first net loss since it became a public company, according to Bloomberg.
Despite the weak third quarter, Lacik said Tuesday that he is confident the company is “pulling the right levers for long-term success.”
The new concept stores are one of the levers that Lacik is pinning his hopes on. The first two new concept stores opened in England earlier this year, and they are drawing increased traffic. The customer is also spending more time in the re-modeled stores, Lasik said.
At the new Paramus store, there is an engraving station that stamps names, words, or symbols on charms or rings. The store also offers express cleaning of jewelry.
Keswani said engraving is something customers have been requesting. “So far it’s been very, very popular,” in the new concept stores that have opened thus far.
A Pandora employee demonstrates how the engraving service works at the new store in Paramus, N.J.
In Paramus, engraving will be free today, and through this weekend in celebration of the opening. After this weekend each engraving will cost $5.
With the brand relaunch, Pandora wants to “go back to our roots” and focus on its charms and collecting, Keswani said. “Yes, we’re going to have a great presentation on rings and necklaces but the focus of this store is on bracelets and charms,” he said.
The uniqueness of Pandora, he said, is that the charms remind people of trips they’ve taken or a gift from a person they love. “It really goes back to giving that voice to people’s loves,” he said.
Along with signing 15-year-old Millie Bobby Brown as a brand ambassador, Pandora is trying to connect with younger shoppers by offering a lower-priced “Me” line, as well as collections featuring Harry Potter and Frozen II-themed charms.
“All our consumer research shows that the Pandora age group is pretty broad. We go all the way from 18 to the mid-50s,” Keswani said. The Millie Bobby Brown partnership and lower-priced offerings are already succeeding in drawing in younger teen customers.
The new store design, Keswani said, is part of the three-pronged approach to drawing more store traffic. “One is you make sure you have the right marketing and you target the right people,” he said. “The store is the next touch point. So the consumer starts the journey online. They get targeted online and then they come into the store.”
And the third component, he agreed, will be how well the store serves that customer when they come in.
And that third component, is, as they say, the charm. The new concept store certainly polishes Pandora’s image and brightens its outlook. But the test will be how customers respond to it.
An employee at the new Pandora store displays a newly engraved charm.