Danish jewellery brand Pandora has launched its first new concept store in Canada at the Montreal Eaton Centre in downtown Montreal. The store will act as a prototype with innovations that could be rolled out into other stores depending on customer feedback.
THE NEW STORE’S INITIAL CONCEPT WAS ‘TOUCH AND FEEL’ WHICH HAS BEEN IMPACTED BY COVID-19 GUIDELINES
The Montreal Pandora store opened on Friday of last week on the street level of the Montreal Eaton Centre, replacing a former location nearby at Place Montreal Trust. The new Pandora store features a refreshed design as well as new elements with a focus on customization and personalization.
That includes a ‘charm bar’ where shoppers can mix and match bracelets and charms. The intended format prior to COVID-19 was a ‘touch and feel’ concept though at the moment sales associates assist with product behind glass for sanitation purposes.
An in-store ‘treasure table’ features new products as well as best sellers and core collections — Pandora partners to create unique limited edition designs which have become highly covetable with fans of the brand. The new Montreal store also features a ‘gifting wall’ housing a curated selection of gifts sorted by profiles and special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, gratitude and other themes.
Sustainability is also a focus for the new Montreal store, featuring lighting designed to reduce energy consumption by at least 20% compared to other Pandora stores. The store’s design itself is modern and inviting, acting as a showpiece within the Montreal Eaton Centre in a retail space next to a Uniqlo flagship store which is set to open in several months.
It’s only the third new concept store for Pandora in North America, according to the company’s North American president Sid Keswani — other updated Pandora concept stores include a unit launched last year near New York City at Westfield Garden State Plaza in New Jersey, as well as a new store earlier this year at Westfield Galleria is Roseville California, near Sacramento.
PANDORA’S REBRAND HAS TAKEN A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC ROUTE
After some struggles, Pandora began a rebrand last year with a focus on being customer-centric. Mr. Keswani explained that the relaunch’s focus includes “passion, people and places”. Besides the new components for personalization, digital elements were used to make the retail space more compelling.
The company’s footprint is massive with a presence in more than 100 countries on six continents. That includes more than 2,700 Pandora stores globally and nearly 7,800 points of sale. Pandora operates 23 corporate stores in Canada as well as an e-commerce site, and the company also has 55 franchised stores and about 100 shop-in-stores in this country.
Pandora’s fan base is extensive and stores often see lineups around Mother’s Day, Christmas and other holidays. Collaborations with Harry Potter and Disney have also proven to be very popular with some items being limited edition. This year marks Pandora’s 20th anniversary and on the 20th day of each month the brand is re-introducing one charm from its archives.
The average Pandora shopper owns between five and six charms according to Mr. Keswani — customers will add to their collection periodically. To diversify the product offerings, Pandora also features matching collectables including rings, bracelets and pendants.
Philanthropy is also part of Pandora’s ethos and recently, the company partnered with Unicef to help children during COVID-19. Locally, Pandora recently donated proceeds from sales to nurses helping with the pandemic.
Pandora’s personalization strategy addresses a trend seen particularly in younger generations such as ‘Gen Z’ which is becoming accustomed to unique products. Other jewellers also jumped on the bandwagon though Pandora will have one less competitor in 2020 after Links of London recently shuttered its global operations. We reported in years past how Links of London had introduced engraving and customization into its Canadian stores and before its demise, Links had planned to open stores across the country.
The Montreal Eaton Centre, which recently saw its Time Out food hall reopen following a closure due to COVID-19, is nearing completion with a full renovation as well as exciting new retailers having been added. That includes a Decathlon sporting goods store which opened last year as well as a renovated Sephora flagship store. A Uniqlo store, said to be the largest in Canada, is currently under construction and will open in the fall. The Montreal Eaton Centre, owned by landlord Ivanhoé Cambridge, saw a $200 million overhaul that involved joining the Complex Les Ailes retail centre with a smaller Montreal Eaton Centre on a site once occupied by a one million square foot Eaton’s department store. Retail Insider profiled the centre extensively in an article last year.