Digital platform Babylist will open its first-ever permanent flagship showroom in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Aug. 18, 2023. The 18,000-square-foot store aims to reimagine the baby registry and shopping experience based on insights from its thriving digital business.
The store opens amid continued upheaval in the world of big-name baby chains: BuyBuy Baby is in the midst of closing nearly all its stores following the bankruptcy of parent company Bed Bath & Beyond, while Babies ‘R’ Us has returned with the opening of its first new store since its own 2018 bankruptcy.
In this dynamic environment, Babylist is counting on having a digital edge: “It’s always been really important for me for Babylist to be the modern option,” said Babylist Founder and CEO Natalie Gordon in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’ve shown that we are great at creating the kind of experience people who are becoming parents want online, through TikTok and in the metaverse — this is very much in our DNA.”
Now the brand plans to bring that deep understanding of its customers to physical retail. Babylist Beverly Hills will include products from all key childrearing categories, alongside opportunities for connecting with community (both online and in the showroom) and spaces to learn, reflect and laugh.
Unlike traditional big box stores, consumers won’t just see products on shelves; they also will have the chance to touch and try products and have some fun. In fact, the primary goal of a visit to the Babylist Showroom is not to fill a cart, but rather to build out a Babylist Registry, helped with:
- Eight areas where parents can try out products in real-life settings, including six distinct nursery styles, a kitchen, parents’ bedroom and bathroom. In each space, shoppers can also easily access Babylist product guides to help in creating their registry;
- Over a dozen photo moments (including locations for announcement photos) and nostalgic games are peppered throughout the space, such as an adult baby bouncer, a classic carnival claw and colorful light peg board;
- Product trialing areas, including an all-terrain stroller track and a life-size car to test out car seat and stroller placement;
- The Expectful Lounge, a quiet, relaxing oasis where moms can take a moment of self-care and browse a product assortment dedicated to their postpartum needs;
- Nursing, feeding and/or pumping rooms; and
- Community events such as new product launches, local meetups and circles, pop-up festivals and registry parties.
“Customers have always been at the center of every decision we make at Babylist, which has led us to build a simple and helpful digital destination,” said Gordon in a statement. “We are excited to bring this online experience into the physical realm. Having a baby is an exciting and celebratory time, but we heard from our consumers that when they shopped in-store they were overwhelmed at best, discouraged at worst. We wanted to bring joy back to something joyful! We used our expertise in supporting and guiding our customers online to create a unique physical experience that will leave them feeling confident, celebrated and connected.”
The store also flips the script on the retail model itself by working directly with brands to build out their presence in store with custom activations, Gordon shared with Retail TouchPoints. This means that the Babylist Showroom will feature a number of brands that don’t already have dedicated retail spaces. A total of 34 brands have partnered with Babylist on the initial launch of the showroom, including BabyBjörn, Chicco, Gap, Hanna Andersson, The Honest Company, Motorola, Mustela, Safety 1st, Thinx and Wayfair.
“Brands understand that consumers wouldn’t visit 15 different baby boutiques to learn about their products,” said Lee Anne Grant, Chief Growth Officer of Babylist in a statement. “They also don’t want to incur the expense of concepting and building out their own spaces, much less signing a long-term lease. Because we have such deep and long-lasting relationships with brands and a proven expertise in bringing their brands to life online, they approached us to co-create this showroom together.”
“If we get this right, rather than being overwhelmed, [parents] will have a feeling of being taken care of,” said Gordon. “My goal is that this is something parents look forward to — that going to the Babylist Showroom is a milestone of having a baby.”
Learn more about how Gordon conceived and founded Babylist as well as her plans for the brand’s retail presence in this episode of the Retail TouchPoints podcast Retail Remix.