Just a year after declaring bankruptcy, Payless puts its foot down on a new location near its headquarters in Miami, Florida, with plans to open a whopping 300-500 stores over the next five years to boot. Here’s how the retailer hopes to accomplish what could be considered one of the greatest feats in footwear history.
When Payless filed for bankruptcy back in 2019, it could have easily tapped out of the industry. Instead, it focused on the path to e-commerce, relaunching a new site and new management team. The decision to lean into digital continues as the new Payless store will not look like the friendly-frumpy stores many consumers grew up with. Encompassing some 4,000 square feet, the new store will feature interactive touchscreen wall panels alongside augmented reality capabilities that will be available in both English and Spanish. An AR foot measurement chart and floor decal comprised of 16 3D animated characters and 16 2D animal footprints will replace the old-fashioned foot measuring tool of the old days. The newest store will also embrace the soul of Miami by featuring a colorful mural from a local artist, Amaranta Martinez, also known as Superama.
The store isn’t cutting ties with its roots completely, however. Excellent value, which Payless proved it can offer in its viral fake luxury store stunt of 2018, is still the brand’s main mission. Given the effects of the pandemic on consumer wallets, prioritizing cost efficiency, along with digital guided selling tools, is a smart move for any brand trying to step up the likelihood of customer acquisition and retention, according to Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail. Finally, by lacing in a local artist and amplifying inclusivity with bilingual features, the brand can renew its appeal with younger consumers, who actively seek out labels that add a level of positive purpose.
The future of brick-and-mortar business has been bleak long before the pandemic hit. But instead of admitting defeat, Payless dove (feet-first) into digital, proving that with the right strategy, any brand can pull itself up by the bootstraps.