Projects: The Furniture Mart That Ate DFW
May 19, 2015 by Dave Haynes
I have two distinct thoughts about a new monster-store in the Dallas area called Nebraska Furniture Mart, which a7 560,000 sq. ft. is big enough to house three Walmart Supercenters inside.
1 – I kinda want to see it and what they do to help people find their way around
2 – I get exhausted thinking about seeing it
The store just opened the other day, and is part of a complex that will also include hotels and restaurants, playing off the idea of shopping as a full experience. The target is 8 million shoppers annually.
The place is fitted with digital price tags so the company can constantly tweak pricing to match or beat competitors. It sells furniture, as you might expect, but also stocks flooring, appliances and home electronics.
The store, based in Omaha, NE, is owned by another Omaha company, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Chain Store Age reports that along with the digital shelf pricing, NFM has a pile of other tech (the supplier unknown to me … anyone know?).
NFM partnered with Interbrand Design Forum, Dayton, Ohio, to design the mega-store, which took two years to build. It is NFM’s largest location to date.
“When you think about the volume of merchandise, this is like building a bricks-and-mortar Amazon of merchandise for your home,” said Amanda Kohnen, senior creative director, Interbrand Design Forum. “This has been an exciting design challenge to help NFM create a store with a vast assortment, but that is also easily shoppable for the customer.”
The design team’s goal was to make the gigantic store feel smaller and more manageable. Open sightlines help accomplish this as having a view across the space allows shoppers to orient themselves. Another key was the creation of a design system that provides a framework for using the space. The system includes towers and beacons that help shoppers intuitively identify departments and encourage exploration.
Floor Plan: The floor plan is divided in half by a main boulevard. Furniture is to the right where the merchandise is grouped and styled by rooms in a diverse mix of styles. All of the furniture departments are arranged so that prices are lower in the back near the clearance areas and more expensive in the front near the Design Galleries.
The first level also includes electronics where shoppers can find everything from smart phones to home theater products and fitness equipment, kitchens, appliances, office furniture and a huge assortment of flooring including carpet, rugs and tile.
On the second floor, the living room space covers the center area. Mattresses and bedroom sets ranging from cribs to kings are on the left and dining options are on the right.
Interactive kiosks are used throughout the massive space to augment the shopping experience in different ways. There are a number of touch-screen monitors that allow customers to search and obtain directions to specific categories, brands or products. There are also interactive design tools and brand specific touch-screens, such as in the KitchenAid area. Large video screens inspire, convey brand messages and entertain at key moments.
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