Pier 1 starts anew as Internet-first retailer of home furnishings and accessories; REV retains brand’s senior buyers and other key personnel, revamps functionality and look of Pier1.com
Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV) officially relaunched Pier1.com, the new customer-centric online store for home furnishings and accessories retailer Pier 1 Imports.
The 58-year-old brand closed its brick-and-mortar locations this year as part of its bankruptcy plan, but millions of people continue to cherish Pier 1 Imports and its curated assortments of proprietary and imported goods, said Tai Lopez, Executive Chairman and Co-founder of REV. This past July, the investment firm acquired the rights to Pier 1’s trademark name, intellectual property, data and various ecommerce-related assets for $31 million.
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“At REV, we transform beloved brands like Pier 1 into Internet-first companies positioned for robust growth,” Lopez said. “Central to our playbook is retaining the brand’s strengths. It’s why we retained veteran buyers from Pier 1 to reengage with vendors and bring back the merchandise our customers know and love.”
All told, REV hired about 15 of Pier 1’s buying, marketing and customer-support personnel. Formerly based in Fort Worth, the new 30-person Pier 1 team is now located in Dallas.
Bringing a best-in-class ecommerce experience to Pier1.com is another top priority for REV, said Shayan Zadeh, Pier 1 CEO. “We have made tremendous progress in revamping the site, with much-improved discovery, filtering and search capabilities,” said the serial entrepreneur, whose past achievements include cofounding and leading dating platform Zoosk, which sold for $298 million in 2019. “In addition to completely redesigning the look, feel and functionality of Pier1.com, we’re sharply focused on the mobile side, with iPhone and Android apps coming in Q1 2021.”
The relaunched online store already offers hundreds of familiar SKUs in categories such as holiday and seasonal, furniture, pillows and cushions, dining and entertaining, décor, lighting and candles, rugs, curtains, bed and bath, and outdoor. However, shifting to an ecommerce model also frees Pier 1 of the limitations associated with brick-and-mortar portfolios, Zadeh added. “It means we’re able to add hundreds of exciting new SKUs to Pier1.com even as we explore a wider array of potential new offerings,” the CEO said.
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REV hired veteran Pier 1 executive Brian Thompson—the brand’s former Director of Global Sourcing—to serve as Chief Merchandising & Supply Chain Officer. Earlier this month, Thompson took part in a Zoom call with hundreds of loyal Pier 1 shoppers, who quizzed the new team on its plans for the brand as well as the coming availability of products like Li Bien Christmas ornaments and Pier 1 signature fragrances.
“As someone who has spent most of his adult life with Pier 1, it was exciting to see the high level of engagement on that call,” Thompson said. “We share the love that came through for Pier 1 and are looking forward to taking this journey with our customers and investors.”
As part of that journey, the team is reconnecting with Pier 1’s vibrant community of collectors and influencers and getting the message out that the brand is back, said A.J. Bhatia, Pier 1’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We’re restarting our Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts—our loyal customers continue to use #pier1love to share their tabletops and other design ideas—and we’re also working on a new blog called ‘Pier 1 of a Kind,'” he said.
So far this year, REV has also acquired the brand assets and ecommerce businesses of Linens ‘n Things, Franklin Mint and Modell’s Sporting Goods. In 2019, the investment firm purchased the brand assets and ecommerce business of Dressbarn from Ascena Retail Group, Inc. Since re-launching the brand’s ecommerce site earlier this year, Dressbarn saw a 165 percent, quarter-over-quarter sales increase in Q2, followed by an additional 50 percent jump in Q3.
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