1 Big Apple, 7 Days and 99 Shops! Immerse yourself!


For Reinventing Retail we studied 99+ retail spaces in New York. We talked to experts, start-ups, retailers and we took the customer perspective to understand the state of retail transformation. In seven days, we explored an immersion experience on the state of global retail. Keep reading for insights and examples on in-store experiences, shopping, payment and much more!


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Day 1/7: Move Me Product Experience

A store is there to transform you. Physical sensations, education & customisation coin memorable store experiences. Go beyond brand storytelling and product testing and sense the brand through smell, sounds and fully physical immersive sensation.

  • Slide into another world. The Showfields store is a revolutionary retail concept built to engage and inspire your sense of discovery through exciting experiences e.g. a slide to a secret floor that lets you explore new products.
  • Prove your skills. Puma Skill Cube lets you compete with other customers in scoring soccer goals. 
  • It’s all about you. Customization services are essential for every good flagship store like Adidas, Converse or Nike to bring parts of the factory into their stores and make people part of the product.

The retail focus shifts more to entertainment, experience and customization.
How do you engage customers in your store?

Day 2/7: Human connection

It’s a people business. E-commerce is powered by tech; retailers are powered by people. Get your priorities right. See how:

  • Hero omnichannel tool enables customers to message available advisors in their nearest store e.g. Longchamp or Levi’s, and helps shoppers with questions about products, size or availability. The advisor can help with photos, videos or just scheduling an appointment. This relationship lasts not just for a session but for all personal brand interaction the customers have to create a human connection around your brand. 
  • When a store occupies space in a local community it should create value for the community – not just selling their products. The Nike “All For 1” collection and partnership supports local parks by creating awareness for the parks and its people and helping to renovate the parks appliances. 
  • Rally Rd is a free mobile App that allows members to easily invest in individual collectibles and leverages human emotional connections into investment opportunities e.g. baseball cards, game worn shoes of Michael Jordan or special old-timers.

How do you connect human beings to your business actions?

Day 3/7: Reduce friction and complexity

Successful retailers remove even the smallest burdens to purchase. No waiting in line. No double guessing on gifts.

  • Starbucks mobile first pick-up only store eradicates waiting in line by preordering through the app and timely pick up in store. While on the way order your coffee to your nearest outlet and skip the cue by simply picking up your fresh coffee from the pick-up counter. Easy as that – no cues and all transaction and payment done through the app. 
  • Uniqlo eases you off the worries whether a gift might be the right colour or size with GiftNow. Select a product in store, scan the GiftNow option, pay the product and share a link or printed gift card with a QR code to your friend so that they can then select their size and colour online and get it delivered to their home. Low tech but high customer pain point awareness.

Easy peasy. How do you see, understand and reduce the frictions of your customers?

Day 4/7: Pop-up Stores reloaded

Digital first retailers push physical stores to become more agile. Roaming retailers spawn short-term precision outlets. Rather than a continuous outlet many digital first brands will leverage seasonality, location advantages and the costs agility with limited time pop-up physical locations. Deepening their online-data insights, short-term outlets will help retailers to gain insights into location, size, portfolio and branding for their physical outlets.

  • Neighborhood Goods is featuring an ever-changing selection of DTC brands and digital first brands. To complete the shopping experience, the store also provides a full-service bar, restaurant and a lounge area. Customers can discover new products every time they come to the store and join a community of likeminded explorers.
  • Story at Macy´s goes the extra mile by integrating various brands and products around one theme. The store is completely updated every 3 months and invites customers to come back regularly to explore new brands, products, ideas and solutions around an alluring theme and story.

What’s your business idea to become the WeWork of retail? 

Day 5/7: Amazon everywhere

Reinventing Retail Convenience. No doubt that Amazon, the everything-store, impacted retail like no other player since the start of the 21st century. They changed the retail game forever. With more physical retail presence, the e-commerce juggernaut proves its customer centric thinking and ventures beyond its digital home channel.

  • Amazon Go. Hate standing in line? Shopping without check-out lines.
  • Amazon 4 Star and Amazon Books. Don’t know what’s a great gift? Amazon 4 Star Shops and Amazon Books give you top online products that other people loved.
  • Amazon Pick Up offers delivery lockers available 24/7 in hotspots and Amazon Key enables deliveries to your car cars and house without you even being there.
  • Amazon Dash lets you automatically restock supplies with Smart Shelves. Alexa and the Dash Wand lets you reorder in whatever situation you are.
  • Amazon Pop Ups show you the newest and exciting products not yet available in stores. It’s a channel to promote brand new products, test concepts and get people excited. 
  • Whole Foods as part of Amazon is the backbone for its fresh food and grocery delivery endeavours.

Amazon updated their arsenal of grocery outlets with #AmazonFreshFoods in August 2020. It is placed in-between being a food discounter and a premium outlet like Whole Foods. 

How do you see the new retail reality? Any big transformational idea for that?

Day 6/7: New York experience platform

Reinventing retail experience. It’s getting more and more important to engage customer senses in unexpected ways and create a whole new experience.

  • Color Factory has a unique concept and it’s all about exploring. They’ve hidden surprises throughout the city. On 20,000 square feet the Colour Factory features brand-new participatory installations of colors they’ve collected around the city focusing on curiosity, discovery and play.
  • Artech House is a destination for an innovative, 21st-century art – combining art, science and technology. The goal is to get inspired, educated, and empowered by exploring the latest and the best works of art and tech. Over 100 million public photographs were used to train an algorithm.
  • Museum Of Ice Cream has 13-multi sensory locations spread over three floors, including a spiral slide, bouncy house, rainbow sprinkle pool and an adult-only sprinkle jacuzzi. Also taste plays a big role e.g. scoops of MOIC signature flavors and sweet specialty sundaes.

How do you see colourful moments in your own daily life?

Day 7/7: Retail Innovation Key Takeaways

What did we learn from #ReinventingRetail New York? No one talks channels anymore. Business is human. DTC becomes DTI. Check out more below:

  1. Channels don’t matter. Stop talking about omnichannel. There are physical and virtual environments in which all of your actions have to impact your customers at any given moment. Where and when doesn’t matter to the consumer.
  2. Business is human. Technology is supposed to accompany your customers to build a human connection with your brand. Your customers long for social interaction and community around shared values – in some situations they want convenience and speed but never cold tech interaction.
  3. DTI. Direct to Consumer? Direct to Individual! Empowered through data, brand experiences will be tailor-made and a dedicated associate will connect each individual customer to the brand in store.

These are some of our learnings from our Retail Innovation Tour. Retail NYC will be back soon. Have we mentioned Covid? Looking forward to see the latest  reinvention from a city that normally never sleeps.