Walking through the streets of New York, an impression of an elephant cemetery emerges, given the impressive number of closed stores. But for all that, physical commerce in New York is full of immersive, communal and frictionless concepts.
Physical stores at the heart of the immersive experience
In New York, the world of physical stores seems to be surfing on the immersive and experiential dimension. Signs have certainly been inspired by places like the Museum of Ice Cream or the Sloomoo Institute open since 2020. Magnificent and immersive places in which you have to pay around $50 to live a unique experience and incidentally eat an ice cream or make your own slim. A kind of mix between store and amusement park. This type of offer can be found in stores such as Lego or Harry Potter.
In its refurbished store on 5th Avenue, Lego launches Brick Labs which allows creations made by customers to come to life on giant screens in a dedicated space. Lego is also offering a virtual reality space for its store in the American Dream mall. And of course, each time you have to pay an additional cost to access these optional activities.
A good way to generate revenue in addition to the sale of products from the store.
The invasion of QR codes
QR codes have taken over American commerce. Whether it is to subscribe to a loyalty program, find information about a product, download the brand’s application or make an appointment with a salesperson, QR codes are displayed everywhere in the store.
But QR codes are also used to create immersive experiences. Nike uses them, for example, to create an augmented reality scavenger hunt in its Broadway store. A good way to introduce new products to customers but also to occupy your children. To do this, all you need to do is access a dedicated mobile site which, thanks to the smartphone camera, will display virtual items in the middle of the store.
The Harry Potter store also offers a treasure hunt to collect magical items from the characters in the saga written by J.K Rowling.
Interchanger. Buy Now Pay Later solutions like Klarna or Afterpay also promote themselves in-store via QR Codes.
And QR Codes even allow you to buy NFTs in dedicated art galleries on the streets of New York. Blockchain-based digital art that has been buzzing for several months.
Stores, these new teleworking places
The brand Saks 5th Avenue has launched an exceptional offer in partnership with Wework, the workspace specialist. With Sakswork, the entire top floor of the store on 5th Avenue has turned into a co-working space. To access it, simply subscribe to the day, week or month. Obviously to subscribe to the offer, simply scan a QR code and pay on your mobile.
In this workspace, subscribers can obviously work while dining, doing their sports session, meditating, showering and even leave with aromatic herbs or salads produced on site thanks to a hydroponic growing space within this space.
Community and proximity marketing
Nike stores are no longer just stores, they have become ambassadors for their neighborhood, like at Nike by Upper East Side or at Nike by Williamsburg. These stores promote New York and local artists. Local artists were also employed for the design of the stores, beyond the highlighting of their creations.
Warby Parker had the entire window of his Williamsburg store redone by a street artist from Brooklyn. A way to integrate into neighborhood life and assimilate the codes of the inhabitants near the brand, but also to attract more and more street art fans.
Target for its part, promotes creators from the African-American community, echoing the Black Lives Matter movement. A movement that fights for more justice for African-American minorities. Target customers can discover young designers while supporting a good cause.
At Whole Foods in Hudson Yards, what strikes you in the first place is the impressive number of posters promoting the local producers who supply the store . Consumers can thus discover the producers while being reassured about the origin of the products they are going to consume. The brand bought by Amazon even goes so far as to promote alternative agriculture and ever closer to the point of sale thanks to hydroponics. This is reminiscent of one of the scenarios of the Prospective Day carried out by the Echangeur and L’Observatoire Cetelem in November 2019.
The deployment of cashless stores
Beyond the deployment of stores Amazon Go and the partnership with Starbucks, the technology deployed by Amazon is also used in New York airports with the food chain CIBO Express.
American Express, for its part, has also rolled out a store that works like Amazon Go, but this time without using the technology of the Seattle giant. The American Express Store is accessible to holders of an Amex card within the Barclays Center in order to be able to eat more quickly during time-outs or half-time of sporting events or concerts . A concept launched in May 2021 following a study showing that 73% of Amex cardholders want to prefer contactless transactions. The store’s offer is based on local suppliers from the drink to the burger such as Brooklyn Bites, Dona Chai or Brooklyn Brittle. In the end, physical retail in New York seems to be making customer experience, contactless and proximity the keys to its recovery after 2 years marked by the pandemic.