The coronavirus pandemic has forced most furniture purveyors and design showrooms to close their doors and pivot to digital sales, so it may sound odd to hear that Herman Miller recently opened two new bricks-and-mortar store concepts in New York City and Los Angeles. The heritage office furniture brand is leaning into remote working by offering individuals—not just companies—the opportunity to test drive their famous high-performance Aeron, Sayl, and Cosm task chairs in-person for their home office setup, offering both an educational and experiential process for customers.
Designed in-house by the brand’s creative design team, each 1,500-square-foot Herman Miller Stores outpost is staffed with dedicated ergonomics experts who can help shoppers better understand the health and productivity benefits of sitting well. The in-person consultations are also crucial to convince customers who may not immediately understand the value of great design to spend upwards of $1,500 on an office chair tailored to their specific ergonomic needs. “Some people fidget while they work, so they need a chair that adapts to their movement,” Debbie Propst, Herman Miller’s head of retail, tells Fast Company. “Others don’t move as much, but they need more back support since they’ll be stationary for hours.” Given the extent of Herman Miller’s catalogue, shoppers will likely find an ideal chair for their seating habits—they can customize each chair’s physical features, ranging from pressure distribution and breathable suspension materiality to backrest adjustments, as well as pick out their preferred colors and finishes on-site.