Emmy-winning actor Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”) stars in Mr. Selfridge, a new Masterpiece series on PBS about the larger than life American entrepreneur/impressario who created a retail revolution in early 20th century London. The store he created, Selfridges, is still known for its bold designs and focus on the customer experience.
Harry Gordon Selfridge came to London from pioneering retailer Marshall Fields in Chicago. What he found was a culture that expected shopping to be a chore. Browsing was discouraged. Customers were supposed to know what they wanted, come in and buy, and leave. Merchandise was not displayed; customers had to ask for what they wanted and each item would be taken out one at a time. Selfridge thought that shopping should be not just fun but an event. And he thought customers could not know what they wanted until they saw it. His emporiums were filled with dazzling displays. He trained his salespeople to engage with customers. He hired a beautiful actress to advertise the store.
The rollicking, romantic, and surprising “Mr. Selfridge” begins on PBS Masterpiece tomorrow night, and will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 22.