Popular shoe manufacturer Crocs is in the process of transitioning into a lifestyle brand and the company plans to use its retail stores to communicate the changes to consumers. To do so, Crocs secured the services of global architecture firm Callison last year, charging it to come up with a revamped design for its new stores with plans to incorporate some of the new features into its existing locations.
Up until this point, Crocs has been known primarily for its comfortable foam clogs which can be purchased for as little as $20. But it’s starting to roll out products that can be used year-round and premium products which sell at a higher price point than its classic offerings, such as winter high boots. Today, the brand already boasts more than 250 merchandise offerings.
“We really wanted to make sure we kept a lot of the attributes of being fun and innovative and to make it easy for the consumer to navigate the store,” says Angie Callaway, global retail design director with Crocs. “But we also wanted to do new ways of merchandising so we would be seasonally able to adapt to new products each season.”
Crocs executives wanted to remain budget-conscious and maintain the same build-out costs for the newly designed stores as for its existing stores. The solution Callison came up with was to maintain the same store size, which ranges between 3,000 sq. ft. and 5,000 sq. ft., but make the interior design very modular to allow Crocs to display its products in different ways depending on need. For example, most of the time the new stores will present the shoes horizontally to make it easier for customers to view them, according to MJ Munsell, a principal at Callison.
If Crocs needs to make space for a larger merchandise collection, however, the shoes can also be hung vertically.
“We were really careful not to change the model too much, but to elevate it and create a new experience, to attract the old customer and the new customer, who may not be familiar with the traditional Crocs,” says Munsell.
Callison also tried to incorporate classic Crocs elements into the design of the stores. Most of the stores’ furniture features curved contours to imitate the curve of the clogs. The front door’s handle is designed as a large round hinge, similar to the trademark hinges on the shoes. Perforation is another design element that has been transferred from the clogs to the stores.
In November, Crocs opened three of the new prototype stores in the U.S., including locations at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., Barton Creek in Austin, Texas and Streets at Southpoint in Durham, N.C. In the year ahead, the company plans to open more than 100 new stores globally, which will be a combination of the new and old formats, according to Callaway.
“We will be slowly transitioning to the new concept after the middle of the year, after we make sure to test it,” she notes. “We’ll be introducing some visual cues from this concept everywhere.”
In the U.S., Crocs will be looking for locations in warmer weather states and resort locations, in addition to stores on high streets in select markets, such as New York City.
“We do extremely well in Florida, so we definitely want to make sure we have great presence [there]; we do very solid business in Texas Panhandle and we want to be in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles,” Callaway adds.