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.
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.
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’!
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.
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!