It’s been a huge month for innovation in New York’s thriving retail scene. From big brand partnerships to lots of totally new concepts, here is the best of New York retail for October…
Luxury women’s apparel retailer M.M.LaFleur has opened a new Manhattan concept store called M.M To Go. It’s another evolutionary step in the brand’s model from its ecommerce only beginnings to its showroom spaces.
Located in the financial district, this new concept is squarely focused on its local customers by offering ‘work-wardrobe essentials’. Unlike MM.LaFleur’s other physical spaces, M.M To Go holds stock so that customers can take their purchases away the same day (instead of having them shipped to their home). This makes it the perfect stop for customers who need something then and there – for example if they’ve had an outfit mishap.
There are also no appointments in this space, but items can be returned and exchanged. What’s really lovely is that M.M.LaFleur wants to make its customers’ lives a little easier. You can pop in for a plaster for your blisters, stain removal, deodorant wipes if you’ve got hot and bothered or just grab a coffee or wine.
Foot Locker/Nike Power Store
In a Foot Locker first, the brand has partnered with Nike on its latest Power Store. It is the first Foot Locker store to be fully integrated with the Nike mobile app.
As such, customers are able to enjoy all the benefits of the app, including scanning in-store products to check the inventory or reserving items for pick-up. The store also features an ‘Unlock Box’, where loyalty programme members can access limited edition gear, and a ‘Shoecase’ for early sneaker releases.
It’s interesting to see this team-up given Nike’s own presence nearby, but it’s a great example of combined brand power when it comes to customer experience.
Over in Williamsburg, fashion retailer Everlane has opened up its biggest store so far. It’s a response to its learnings from its other space. Long lines to try clothes on has inspired the larger store this time, which has double the number of fitting rooms.
It’s also the reason behind the interesting new fitting room system ‘Save My Spot’. This text-to-try on initiative lets customers text to secure a space in the fitting room queue – rather than physically waiting around. Everlane holds the items they want to try and when it’s their turn they get a notification on their phone.
The store also houses the brands first ever men’s floor to serve even more customers. What’s more, you can also reserve items online for pick-up in-store for an omnichannel experience.
German sports retailer Puma has opened a new flagship store on Fifth Avenue. The experiential store will act as a testing ground for the brand to try out new ideas. There are three interactive experiences that will definitely drive footfall. To reflect the brand’s long standing relationship with motorsports there is a car racing simulator. A ‘Skill Cube’ simulator mimics the pitch of San Siro stadium in Milan, and there’s a video gaming console in the basketball section.
In order to keep people in store, there is a Birch Coffee stand in the middle serving snacks and beverages. The store also dedicates an area to exclusive products only available at this store to ensure it becomes a destination for fans of the brand. Other efforts to drive footfall include the artists-in-residence area that will host different artists every two weeks.
Luxury department store Nordstrom has brought its ‘Local’ concept to NYC. Located on the Upper East Side, the store will serve as a hub for buying online and picking up orders.
As with the other Local spaces, there is no inventory for sale. Instead, the focus is on personal styling services with shoppers able to pre-pick items in advance online, which will then be waiting for them to try on. They can also access other useful services like alterations to make those purchases perfect.
New York is the retailer’s biggest market for online sales so it makes sense that another ‘Local’ store has opened up in the West Village too. There are lots of great initiatives to entice people into the store such as the gift wrapping service and stroller cleaning service for busy mums. It’s a really multifunctional space that can only help build customer relations.
Saks Fifth Avenue The Vault
American luxury department store Saks has been undergoing a $250 million renovation of its Manhattan flagship. The latest part to be unveiled is The Vault, an area dedicated to ‘high’ fine jewellery and watches, including one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces. The space is also home to the retailer’s largest ever selection of men’s watches.
Here, customers can find private jewellery shopping experiences as well as private VIP rooms. There is also an international lounge with a multilingual concierge service, daily store tours and watch repair services. The central exhibition area, which will regularly be updated, showcases brand partners, guest curators and special collaborations. Visually the space is very striking too – with a colourful escalator designed by Rem Koolhaas that creates seamless access to the space.
Outdoor clothing company Woolrich has launched its first store in NYC. The flagship store can be found in the SoHo neighbourhood and provides customers with a high quality shopping experience. It has partnered with local coffee company Ground Support Café for an in-store café for customers to enjoy a coffee whilst shopping.
The retailer has also partnered with Italian tech company TechnoAlpin to bring the outdoors inside. The tech enables shoppers to envisage their outerwear in an outdoor space. There will also be a multi-sensory ‘snow room’ opening this autumn in which customers can try out products in extreme weather conditions. It’s a great way of providing customers with an experience whilst showing them what the brand is all about.
Apple’s original flagship on Fifth Avenue has completed its two year renovation project and it doesn’t disappoint. The space is the latest in cutting edge design, with ‘sky lenses’ that pop up onto the plaza and look like mirrored seating.
There are 80 skylights in the ceiling and a lighting system that has been designed by a team that includes an astrophysicist – in the evenings the lighting adjusts in-keeping with people’s circadian rhythm. The store is packed full of greenery which Apple is increasingly incorporating into new stores. It’s another beautifully designed store from architects Foster + Partners.
Japanese retailer MUJI’s latest New York space is a long-running design and retail pop-up store. Open until January 2020, the SoHo space aims to show off the brand’s design history by highlighting classic archive MUJI products. It also taps into MUJI’s graphic design chops with an exhibition of its posters, including work by Ikko Tanaka.
The space shows just how much MUJI has evolved over the years with video screens showing off some of its latest global initiatives, such as the MUJI hotel and MUJI diner. After all the design inspiration, customers can buy a selection of iconic MUJI products to take home with them.