Fixing Bed Bath & Beyond’s Stores Should Top Tritton’s To-Do List

Another chapter in the ongoing Bed Bath & Beyond saga of reinvention has been written with the hiring of former Target executive Mark. J. Tritton as the home specialty store’s new president/CEO.

greg sleter

Greg Sleter

In announcing Tritton’s hiring, Bed Bath & Beyond officials said his immediate focus will be on accelerating the company’s ongoing business transformation. This includes enhancing the omnichannel experience, enhancing the merchandising assortment and reviewing the company’s cost structure and asset base.

The to-do list sitting on Tritton’s desk when he arrives on November 4 will be lengthy, but here’s hoping he is able to cross off a few items on the list soon.

My advice to the new BBB chief executive would be to keep it simple. The company currently operates approximately 1,500 stores and they are in need of a rather extensive facelift.

For far too long, the layout of the stores has been cramped and crowded. What do you call three shopping carts in an aisle at Bed Bath & Beyond? Gridlock.

Nothing frustrates a shopper more than being unable to easily walk around a store while perusing various items. Choosing the right coffeemaker, air fryer or piece of cookware requires a bit of evaluation on the part of the consumer. Give them the space to do so.

In a recent conversation about shopping with my 15-year old daughter— a member of Generation Z— she informed me that she does not like going into Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

Why?

“The stores are too tight and there’s too much stuff,” she said. “It’s hard to walk around the store and see stuff. It’s overwhelming.”

And this from a kid who enjoys cooking and cooking-related products.

What I also found interesting is that her negative feelings on BBB’s stores leave her with a negative impression of the brand overall. As a result, shopping Bed Bath online is not top of mind and she goes elsewhere.

Staying with the topic of overhauling the stores, while allowing the product assortment — and shoppers — to be able to breathe more easily in the stores why not also create some excitement?

Carve out some space in select locations for a cooking studio. While it would drive some additional revenue, it will also engage consumers in the art of improved cooking while the chef instructor uses products that can also be purchased in-store.

And in those stores where space does not allow for a cooking school, in-store demos would be a good alternative.

Not long ago, Vitamix saw its blender sales grow exponentially when it teamed with Costco to do in-store demonstrations. Some consumers bought a $300 blender they had no idea they needed on the spot. For those that didn’t make a purchase immediately, the in-store demos served as a brand builder for Vitamix.

As he arrives at Bed Bath & Beyond, Mark Tritton will have a lot on his plate. Taking care of its stores first could provide the company with a strong foundation from which to build upon.