• Jennifer Marks

FIRST LOOK: Bed Bath & Beyond bedding dept. test

New merchandising initiative leverages omnichannel retailing

Middletown, N.J. – Bed Bath & Beyond is “showrooming” itself with a bedding department test format here.

The new “virtual bedding” set is one of two broad test initiatives at the store, which opened last week. Execs said it is being piloted in a handful of Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

The 35,000-square-foot store also carves out a new area up front for an expansive “Brew” department where shoppers can try out coffee makers and various types of coffee. Café tables and chairs nearby allow them to sip at their leisure.

A radical departure from Bed Bath & Beyond’s usual bedding department floor plan, the Middletown store’s new “virtual bedding” area is anchored by a dedicated help desk. The floor is laid out by design style. Placards in front of the dressed beds offer furniture pieces suited to each.

More than 200 top-of-bed patterns are displayed out of their bags on the floor – roughly double the number of styles one would see in a typical BBB store. Stripped of their filled inserts, the decorative bedding shells are neatly folded on hangers and available for order online.

On the off chance a shopper lacks the wherewithal to order online herself, department associates are armed with digital tablets to complete the process on the spot.

“This approach allows us to share more product in-store while carrying less inventory and provides an enhanced customer experience,” ceo Steve Temares said, describing the strategy behind the test during the company’s Q1 conference call in late June.

In other locations, BBB has additional pilots planned. It’s partnering with The Shade Store to create a blind and shades gallery branded as Glow By The Shade Store. Available online, it will also be tested in 50 stores. Earlier this year, BBB introduced a custom drapery gallery online and in select stores with an assortment of 250 fabrics.

BBB will remodel the tabletop department in four stores to pull together casual dining, fine dining and gifts. The floor presentation will be simplified but will incorporate a host of online merchandise options.

As it looks to dial up in-store experiences, BBB will also begin testing Chef Central departments within stores this fall. It acquired the online gourmet and housewares retailer earlier this year. “As the retail environment evolves, we continue to actively transform many aspects of our business to reflect these changes,” said Temares.

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HTT Cover October 2017

See the October 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we look at the Top 25 Online Retailers.  H&TT's exclusive annual ranking of the biggest online sellers of home textiles finds that while pure play etailers continue to fly, bricks & clicks are digging into omnichannel. See details!