What’s New New York?
After a busy summer, new stores have been opening up in New York and new strategies are being developed by a number of brands. Let’s take a quick look back at the last 3 months in New York.
Amazon offers different prices for Prime customers at Whole Foods
After Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market, Americans expected the e-commerce giant to offer heavy price cuts in stores. Recent studies show that these price cuts haven’t happened. However, Amazon customers with a Prime account can get extra discounts compared to non-Premium account customers.
To qualify for these discounts, you have to download and install the Whole Foods app on your smartphone and log into Amazon Prime.At the checkout, you just need to scan the QR Code from the Whole Foods app to get a 10% discount on your purchases or special offers.
After opening the Amazon Bookstore to promote Amazon Prime, Jeff Bezos’ firm is now using Whole Foods to showcase its premium service.
A new Allbirds store
Allbirds is a San Francisco based cleantech startup that designs eco-friendly shoes. The first Allbirds shoe was the Wool Runner, made from superfine New Zealand merino wool. In March 2018, the company released shoes made from eucalyptus fibre. In August 2018, a collection of bioplastic foam flip flops made of sugar cane was launched for the opening of its new store in New York.
Allbirds worked with the design studio Partners & Spade to design and develop the store experience. The minimalist store showcases certain models of shoes, by style and material (wool, tree fibre and sugar cane). The maximum space possible is dedicated to customers, with beautiful spaces conducive to trying out shoes. Close to each product customers can find information to understand how they’re manufactured and reprocessed. The store also sells laces and soles. You can easily customise your pair of Allbirds with different coloured laces.
According to Joey Zwillinger, co-founder of Allbirds, raising $27.5 million has allowed the brand to invest in research and development into new sustainable materials for its shoes.
Allbirds has also finalised new openings in Chicago and Boston, and is planning new projects in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. The brand aims to open a total of eight stores in the United States in 2019, as well as two sites outside the US.
There is minimum technology in its stores, as the brand prioritises contact with the customer to sell its shoes and to maintain its natural image.
An all-gender brand
A new store has just opened in New York. Its name: phluid.
Phluid is more than just a clothing and fashion accessories store: it’s defined as the first “gender neutral” commercial space, in other words gender-free. Although an increasing number of people are gender nonconforming (representing 27% of the Californian adolescent population), until now, the fashion world hasn’t had a dedicated offering.
In 2016 we noted initiatives responding to this trend. Zara launched an “ungendered” clothing collection. In 2017 H&M also tried it, without however selling its products on the website.
The Phluid project aims to bring together a community of people interested in gender-fluid fashion and issues with its website and New York store. Located at the edge of SoHo in New York, Phluid displays a message before you even go in: “This is a welcoming, inclusive, diverse and safe space. Intolerance will not be tolerated.”
Once inside, at first glance the store looks like an Urban Outfitters, with colourful t-shirts, tops, one-pieces, latex clothing, pants, leggings and dresses. Some of these articles have positive slogans, such as “Optimist” or “Hope”.
No gender is targeted. There’s no division between a women’s section and a men’s section. These are clothes, accessories, makeup and body care products for everyone, without any gender, and without labels. The distinction between the sexes has disappeared!
The back of the store features a community space with a bar and lounge area that hosts store events.
Phluid is seeking to give people a voice, to talk about the subject, and to get this change accepted into the American way of life.
It’s a new type of store that’s generating a lot of press coverage in New York.
Humans have beaten the robot: the end of Chloe at BestBuy
In 2015, the electronics store BestBuy decided to test out a robot in one of its New York sales locations. Named Chloe, this robot allowed customers to buy CDs, DVDs and a series of cables and small electronic equipment, 24/7.
Using a touch screen, customers could place their orders and get their purchase via a robotic arm that would pick up the products from a mini-warehouse visible from the shop window.
Numerous malfunctions of the machine and a lack of interest of the public pushed BestBuy to stop using the robot. It has started being dismantled.
There have been no comments from BestBuy at this time as to whether Chloe will be re-used or not, whether it will be relocated to another store, or whether this withdrawal marks the end of the electronics store’s experiment with robots.
Article published on October 18th 2018 by
US Retail Innovation correspondent for Echangeur