Our 2016 Virtual Guide to New York’s Best Retail



Who would have thought it – a Brit, living in California, guiding hundreds of visitors around NYC. For the second year in a row, I was invited to present at NRF’s 105th Annual Convention & EXPO last month. The event boasts more than 33,500 attendees, miles of EXPO, mind-bending technology and dozens of thought-leadership sessions. I took the opportunity to invite three retail brands to join me on stage – Chris Derringer, IT Leader at Microsoft Retail, Nick Stowe, CEO of Nixon and Jonathan Luster, Vice President Market and Concept Development at Lowes, each offering our attendees a unique perspective and insight.

Our presentation included a Virtual Store Tour of NYC’s latest retail experiences, highlighting aspects of each that make them worth visiting. We put together a comprehensive Store Tour Map (thanks Nikki Clinton!) for attendees that show the location and gives a description of each retail space.

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We also created a google map to help visitors navigate the city – featuring several additional stores – both on Manhattan and some of the gentrified suburbs of Williamsburg & Brooklyn. You can download/access the maps here on the Retail Design Institute website.

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Rather than group the stores by neighborhood – I identified 5 unifying ideas or themes that bind together some of the more notable retail that you can visit – which opened in the past 12 months. We looked at stores that are Enriched – using authentic stories to enrich their spaces that are curated – educational & anthropological. Personal experiences – tackling issues of customization for the ‘maker culture’ that seek to experiment, to be a part of creating their own products. Stores that are Social & active – providing a place for consumer-to-consumer bonding in the community. Those who are engaging our Senses – with slower paced, provocative, experiential & immersive spaces. Lastly we discovered some Disrupters – experimenting with different formats – to grab the attention of customers by harnessing retail’s own WMD -‘Weapons of Mass Disruption’!

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Here’s a tasty sample of Kith Sneaker Store – featuring a cereal bar to the front of the store, serving their treats up in shoe boxes – of course! It’s a great example of retailers trying to disrupt the norm, to create something unexpected and memorable in the physical store.

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Kith includes an installation of 700 white cast-replica trainers which are hung from the ceiling on solid metal rods coated white to match the shoes. A cereal bar called Kith Treats has been created in an alcove to one side and stocks more than 24 different types of cereal, with the food served in specially-designed containers that look like shoe boxes (along with cereal-flavoured ice cream!) Beyond this, banks of floor-to-ceiling stainless steel and glass trainer displays line a corridor that runs down the middle of the clothing store. An infinity mirror behind the cash desk seems to make a neon light in the form of the company’s logo appear repetiti



This is just a sneak peak of what was shared at the conference,  but if you’d like to see more of the presentation material, you can view it on Slideshare.  I look forward to expanding this presentation to include more of a global perspective on trends in retail next!

March 4th, 2016 | Retail Therapy

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