We recently took the opportunity to stop through the recently opened Bonobos guideshop in SoHo New York at 35 Crosby St. While just glancing through the windows from Crosby Street, one might mistake it for just another SoHo men’s boutique. The Bonobos guideshop is however, not your average men’s boutique, for many reasons.
The growing Bonobos fan base is already very familiar with the bread and butter pleat-less chinos that put the brand on the map. But as with all e-commerce companies, there is always that element of doubt between the click of the mouse during checkout, and the first time that you can actually try the purchased item for fitting. Will it fit? Will it look the way that it did in the photo? Etc..
The brick and mortar Bonobos guideshop is meant to take the element of doubt out of the customer experience. The caveat is that the Bonobos guideshop does not have a single cash register inside of it. The guideshop inventory is limited to what can be seen on the display racks. One cannot walk out of the guideshop carrying a shopping bag with a new pair of chinos. So, what is the point of going to the guideshop if you still have to go online to order?
The idea is– Upon entering the guideshop (you can either schedule an appointment or walk in), one of the Bonobos guides becomes your personal shopping assistant. One can leisurely peruse all of the latest styles, fabrics and colors whilst having a living an breathing expert on hand to answer questions and make suggestions. If you decide to make a purchase during the appointment with your guide, the guide will do all of the leg/keyboard work at the end of the session to make sure your order is placed correctly. Additionally, your guide will send you an email summarizing sizes and styles that were discussed during the appointment.
The Crosby Street location isn’t the first guideshop that Bonobos has opened. But it is the first one that we have had a chance to experience. Overall, we think it is a pretty progressive step in bridging the gap between e-commerce and personalizing the customer experience.