Bertand Leseigneur, our Retail Innovation US correspondent, this month decrypts the latest pop-up stores and stores that have just opened at Brooklyn.
Everlane, Wegmans, a covered market, bicycles and coffee!
In New York City, we often talk about what’s going on in Manhattan, but Brooklyn is finally starting to develop a real culture of innovation in the store. Here are 4 examples that show this upcoming revival in this trendy New York neighborhood!
Everlane is a men’s and women’s clothing brand that has always emphasized its respect for the environment. Thus, in one of its stores, you can discover the different stages of the manufacturing process of the brand’s products, but also listen to the noise of its factory in Asia to check that it respects the noise standards for its workers for example.
Pure player, Everlane has opened numerous physical stores in the United States, most recently in Brooklyn.
The building, with its glass facade, includes 400m2 of commercial space, instagrammable plants and natural light. It is also the first shop with a floor reserved for men. Indeed, the other physical shops are reserved for women.
In addition to its minimalist design, the store wants to be a link between the customer and the brand’s website. You can of course buy online and pick up your purchase in the store, use the shelves to consult the brand’s online catalogue as only 20% of the brand’s products are displayed in the store. However, you can also reserve your spotlight in the fitting room on the shelves provided for this purpose.
Also note the minimalism of the crates, using Square’s technology. These are based on turntables that allow salespeople to easily show their screen to customers. Payment is then made directly by card or cash.
For those who hesitate to shop because of the long lines of fitting rooms, Everlane now offers the “Save My Spot” service. The system is simple and similar to a restaurant reservation application. You leave your mobile phone number on the screen next to the booths and book a fitting room right away with all your clothes in your arms.
The tool was developed in response to the dissatisfaction of Everlane customers in Manhattan and San Francisco who sometimes had to wait 20 to 50 minutes to try on clothes.
While waiting for their turn, customers can leave the store for a coffee or a walk. The store undertakes to send an SMS 3mn before leaving a booth and to keep their clothes to try on until their return.
Wegmans is America’s favorite brand for shopping for groceries and home care products. The American giant has just opened its 101st store in the heart of Brooklyn’s Navy Yard district. A giant store of nearly 7,000m2 in the heart of a rapidly changing neighborhood. Wegmans is a brand apart in the world of mass retailing with its group of unconditional fans: the Wegmaniacs who even did a musical on their favorite store.
Why such an infatuation?
The store offers services that provide a family atmosphere. Are you afraid to cook your lobster at home? The “Seafood” department will do it for you for free while you shop, giving you time to choose one of the 750 types of beer in the store. If you can’t wait to have a drink, head to the “Old Fashioned Bar” to enjoy a Margarita made only at Wegmans.
Cheese fan? The store innovates with its in-store dry mist system that keeps the cheese moist. Originally, Wegmans built caves near its first stores to age cheese in upstate New York. Here, the store mimics the same conditions as those offered in those caves.
Wegmans also has its own barista school at its “Coffee University” in Rochester, upstate New York, to serve the best possible coffee to customers. The brand is also developing its own organic farm to offer its products in-store. However, Wegmans does not communicate specifically about this farm and this “Coffe University” in its store…
Finally, another advantage of the store: it offers a space for singles in the “Butcher’s” department. Only one slice of meat is sold there to avoid waste.
But why do Americans love Wegmans so much?
An irreproachable customer service and always ready to help in store or outside. When you pay, for example, there is always a store employee present to fill your bags. And of course, if you need it, this employee will help you load your purchases into your car.
The store also offers a very wide selection of products and its own brands. The quality of these products is recognized. Last but not least, Wegmans is known for its charitable work and community awareness programs. According to its website, Wegmans has donated over 6.5 million kilograms of food to local food banks since its inception. If you’re not convinced, there’s always a little train to admire like the kids. Finally, for the tourist aspect, Wegmans is located in the Dumbo district and is accessible by ferry.
By visiting Wegmans you can see the new building of WeWork which has just been finished. You can also, on your way down the ferry, test the self-propelled cars that connect the landing stage with the new Brooklyn incubator, The New Lab and Wegmans. A security driver and a test engineer are in the front and the passengers stay in the back. We are driven from the ferry to the New Lab listening to the driver’s explanations, who leaves his hands under the wheel, but without touching it.
Smorgasburg and Flea Market for Winter
One of the highlights of the summer season in New York City is the famous Smorgasburg. Since 2011, Smorgasburg is the largest weekly outdoor food and art market in America. Every weekend, the markets attract between 20,000 and 30,000 people to eat from 100 local suppliers: Saturdays on the Williamsburg waterfront and Sundays in beautiful Prospect Park. The New York Times has dubbed Smorgasburg “the Woodstock of Food”.
If you want to try the latest fashionable sandwich, the latest New York honey that’s causing a stir, or the new local beer everyone’s talking about, Smorgasburg is where you’ll find it.
But what to do in autumn and winter?
Since early fall, Flea Market has moved into the top floor of a building under construction in Williamsburg to provide a covered market experience during the cooler months of the year.
Every weekend, 75 vendors share the space to sell works of art, second-hand clothes, food or services. A real popular success!
Enjoy the view and pay with Apple Pay!
In this covered market you can discover artists, exotic dishes or clothes that are sometimes a little crazy, but above all you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Manhattan.
iPhone owners are spoiled because the market is working in collusion with Apple to propose specific offers with Apple Pay. Indeed, the Smorgasburg offers contactless payment on its terminals, so you can make small savings on your purchases by paying with your iPhone. A great way to promote contactless payment technology in a country with track reading!
One of Brooklyn’s most spectacular shopping venues is the “Industry City”, a former industrial complex that has been transformed into a business center with shops, corporate offices and co-working spaces. In this space there is also a coffee: the Maglia Rosa.
The coffee, which has a slightly retro design, offers a space to relax or work. You can enjoy an espresso, a panini, or a pastry, but it is above all a meeting place for passionate cyclists.
Like the Rapha bicycle brand, which opened a coffee in New York City, Maglia Rosa allows bicycle fans to get together to talk about their favorite stars, their equipments or simply to see the products on display.
And when you get out of the coffee shop, you can also buy the materials you need to repair your bike in this vending machine.