The New York Times has a story about how some traditional bricks-and-mortar retail businesses have decided that less may be more - in part because recent events have suggested that in many cases, more isn’t more.

The notion is that “cozier spaces that sell very little of anything” may be an alternative: “In intimate salons, some the size of a cafe, shoppers can examine a limited selection of merchandise and place orders for products to be delivered or collected later. The customer service is often luxurious, but so is the time commitment for shoppers. This is the antithesis of the standard shopping mall experience, with the overwhelming assortment of products, the glazed apathy of part-time store workers, the disrobed patrons bellowing from fitting rooms for another size.”

Among the retailers testing this approach are Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters; Nordstrom calls its “Nordstrom Local” store on Melrose Avenue, just minutes from one of its more traditional 122,000 square foot department stores, a “concept store focused on service experiences.”

“Instead of slashing prices and accelerating delivery times, praying for fickle customers to stay loyal,” the story says, “many retailers are aiming higher, to become a desirable place to shop.”

KC's View: In other words, more than source of product … but a potentially invaluable resource for the consumer. Which is a lot harder to compete with if you do it well.