With dozens of national retailers announcing plans to shutter shops as sales move online, the decision to invest in a new storefront might seem counterintuitive. Yet that’s exactly what Lamps Plus Inc. will do in Austin, Texas later this summer, when it will open its first brick-and-mortar location in nearly a decade. At 8,000 square feet, it will be smaller than most of the Chatsworth lighting retailer’s other 38 stores, many of which are as large as 14,000 square feet. But just like the rest, the new shop will feature at least half a dozen computer kiosks where in-store customers can browse the company’s website. “The kiosks are a very significant part of our business,” Chief Executive Dennis Swanson explained. It was his decision to implement them in Lamps Plus stores in the mid-2000s, when the retailer became one of the first in the nation to bring an online catalog into its physical locations. Working with the internet rather than against it has since been a major contributor to the company’s success, Swanson said. Today, more than half of its sales take place on LampsPlus.com, where it offers roughly 65,000 lighting and home decor items from both external vendors and its own product lines. Read the full story in the May 15 issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.
Preview: Kiosks Keep Lights On