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5 minutes
Bertand Leseigneur, our US Retail Innovation correspondent, analyses the latest pop-up stores and shops that have recently opened in the Big Apple.

What’s New New York?

On the programme:

  • Square, Marie-Claire and Levi’s: services that can at times lack conviction
  • All birds: a unique and ethical shoe store



Mobile payments provider Square opens its first bricks-and-mortar showroom

Square has recently opened a store in New York showcasing its wide range of products for its current and prospective customers. The store should also be of interest to developers wishing to find out about Square’s API in order to develop new online services. The store also features a selection of artisanal products made and sold by Square customers to embody a community dimension.

A great project, but

Twitter Square

The showroom can only be visited by appointment, to be made online: web site.

If you go there directly, you cannot enter, because the only way to enter is by appointment. Paradoxically, our correspondent was never able to book any appointment online, even though he has a business account with Square.

After six failed attempts to book an appointment, the messages our correspondent sent via Twitter went unanswered too. No joy other through their customer service… We’ll keep you posted about developments, as the initiative is nonetheless interesting: how a start-up that, as you will recall has developed a service that transforms any mobile into a payment terminal, decided to contextualize its offer by opening a pop-up store to boost its top of mind.








Marie-Claire opens its pop-up store, the “NEXT BIG THING”: a really innovative idea?

The Marie-Claire magazine wants to make a splash by opening a pop-up store in the image of its well-known magazine. In partnership with Mastercard, the pop-up store is meant to be the “NEXT BIG THING”.


Modelled on the magazine’s sections (active woman, sporty woman, fashionable woman, geek woman), the venue showcases clothes and a variety of products in a well-designed setting.

A transparent touch screen hanging in the entrance displays the products sold by the brand, even when the store is closed.

The fitting rooms for their part feature tactile mirrors that serve for instance to adjust the lighting in the room, call a sales assistant or watch videos about the products that the customer is trying on, thanks to a system of RFID microchips fitted in the garment. Lastly, the pop-up store is also a venue for many artistic or fashion events. For instance, you can meet artists or have a during pop-up events.

Finally, a mobile app called “The Next big thing” lets you book a private styling session in the store, or even pay from a mobile.


A strong trend already identified

Much care has been taken in the interior design of this store/magazine. The finish is perfect and the store flows seamlessly. However, modelling a store on the pages of a magazine or web site is already a strong trend in NYC. GAP launched this concept several years ago with one of its brands that only sold online and that had opened a well-known bricks-and-mortar store mirroring its web site. But the brand and the store have since closed.

Only a minute away from the Marie-Claire pop-up store, Rebecca Minkoff and Kenneth Cole have also offered fitting rooms with tactile mirrors to call sales assistants for a long time…

We can only encourage the work accomplished. Opening a pop up store offers many benefits and is big news. Even though the store is not very busy, it has been a hit with the magazine’s fans, thanks largely to the events held there every day (make-up sessions, photoshoots).


Levi’s and Google launch their collaboration in store focusing on the JACQUARD jacket.















Levi’s and Google have joined forces to propose a smart jacket. The sleeve is fitted with a sensor connected to a mobile app that lets the wearer select music, raise or lower the volume or get information from Google Maps simply by swiping or tapping the cuff.

An innovation in tune with consumers’ needs?

Admittedly, the price of this product is still high for the core target: 350 dollars. Also, the system only offers four different functions: music, navigation, SMS and phone calls. Compared with Apple’s new Watch (which is cheaper) or other connected watches on the market, the price is indeed off-putting.

The main advantage of this connected jacket is that it blazes a trail. According to Levi’s staff we interviewed, other clothing brands are adopting Google’s technology to integrate it into other clothes (hopefully with more functions). For the time being the Google Levi’s jacket only makes life easier for people needing two free hands when walking, talking or driving/riding around town…

Our favourite, All Birds

The All Birds couldn’t be more basic, as it only sells one product: shoes made out of wool, in an uncluttered yet differently designed store.















No sign of a cash desk in the store, but a curved counter where the customer can sit down to try on a pair of shoes or consult the sales “menu”.

The show-stopper is found without doubt at the back of the store: A space “in the clouds” is set aside for trying on these shoes that are as light as feathers. You can walk in the clouds, on a wheel that turns with your steps.

A welcome breath of fresh air in this store.



Article published on October 5th 2017 by

US Retail Innovation correspondent for Echangeur


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