Real Estate Weekly
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Experiential evolution

By Faith Hope Consolo, Chairman, Retail Leasing and Sales Division, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

The retail industry as a whole is facing a major transformation. Online and  brick-and-mortar stores transform to become “experiential retail.” This trend is being driven by many factors, including the increasing popularity of e-commerce, the decline in traditional department store and mall traffic, and the proliferation of mobile devices.

Retailers are reinventing the in-store experience, creating environments that attract and delight consumers through features like spas, cafes, theaters, art exhibitions, and a host of other amenities, along with personalized service, in-store kiosks, 3-D experiences, pop-up shops, mobile commerce, and more. The Big Apple is the ultimate experiment and we are seeing various concepts creeping into every facet of shopping.

To succeed in the current retail environment stores must dig deep and create inspiration, innovation and a willingness to redefine the consumer experience, which are essential parts of brick-and-mortar stores’ success.

Check out how some major players prioritize experiential retail.

Field Entertainment and Universal Brand Development are taking 12,000 square feet at 218 West 57th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, to develop an attraction off the beaten track and based off a 2016 Trolls movie:DreamWorks Trolls the Experience. Expect to find 3-D technology, a Trolls hair salon and a life-size Trolls village. The 90-minute walkthrough will also feature augmented reality and several other interactive play areas for kids. Interestingly, the 22,000-square-foot property currently presents a Downtown Abbey-themed exhibition through September 2018. Last summer and fall it housed Doing/Living, a pop-up marketplace focused on health and wellness retailers and events. This trend continues to skyrocket.

In an effort to evolve or become extinct, Macy’s acquired Story, the concept store (pictured top) which is located in Chelsea neighborhood and Story will come to life in a new format. Story will operate as usual, continuing to rotate new themes at its Chelsea location.  This is all about in-store experiences and brand activations. Story takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store. Every four to eight weeks, the space reinvents itself – from the design of the store to the merchandise – with the goal of highlighting a new theme and in partnership with a brand. Macy’s wants reach young shoppers in a digital age; curation, editorial storytelling, interactive events and displays, and will help amplify Instagram moments and connect with Millennials. In the near future, expect to see Story shop-in-shop within many Macy’s locations creating a testing ground for new products and brands.

In another exciting collaboration, global art platform Artsy is joining forces with Dior, Bergdorf Goodman and American Express to spotlight some of the most significant artists of today; unveiled as The Artsy Vanguard, the collaborative project spans in-store displays and editorial content bringing together art and fashion, two of my favorite things! This year’s Artsy Vanguard edition includes 50 contemporary artists and Artsy has chosen nine artists to showcase in an exhibition and window displays at Bergdorf Goodman. On the second floor of the iconic Fifth Avenue department store works from TM Davy, Rochelle Feinstein, Allison Janae Hamilton, Tyler Mitchell, Cynthia Talmadge, and Lina Iris Viktor showcased alongside Dior’s fall/winter 2018 collection, which was inspired by surrealist photo.

Brookfield Property Partners, acquired seven retail storefronts across four properties on Bleecker Street; 350, 367-369, 382-384 and 387 Bleecker Street to help repopulate one of NYC’s most distinct retail corridors with new, innovative brands and use it as a testing platform to revitalize the shopping landscape by creating an incubator where e-commerce stores can try out a brick-and-mortar space. Bravo!

 New and Noteworthy Shopping News….

On Madison Avenue, we see the consignment sector making moves. After 64 years, the Upper East Side fashion icon Michael’s, a high-end, secondhand-apparel shop is moving uptown from 1041 Madison Avenue to 1125 Madison Avenue at 84th Street; four blocks up Madison Avenue, giving up its second-floor space for a ground-floor home.The Rebag flagship at 575 Madison Avenue is just five blocks south of the Hermès store and steps away from Chanel, Dior, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton. The Madison flagship is the second brick-and-mortar retail presence for the digitally native brand, though it follows a highly successful pop-up-turned-permanant-store in Soho. Resale markets are booming and introduces younger, more price-sensitive customers to the luxury brands who will eventually, hopefully be able to purchase new one day and reinvigorate the luxury market.

In Times Square, beauty continues to conquer as Coty, the beauty products maker, inked a deal at 719 Seventh Avenue for a flagship retail space. Jimmy Buffet is trying something new as Margaritaville Holdings, the company that runs Buffet’s Margaritaville hotels and restaurants, announced that it’s constructing a 29-story, 234-room resort on the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 40th Street to open in 2020. The Times Square Margaritaville Resort will bring a new, laid back, take on the bustling epicenter that is Times Square to feature “several Margaritaville food and beverage concepts, a rooftop pool and retail businesses.”

In SohoTrader Joe’s Soho edition is here at 233 Spring Street expanding upon its recently debuted location on the Upper West Side at Columbus Avenue and West 93rd Street. Fitness is featured as Peloton took 152 Christopher Street and Y7 Studio, the original hip-hop yoga studio to come to 250 East Houston Street. Gucci’s store opened at 63 Wooster St. in what was formerly a pencil factory, spanning almost an entire city block.

So much happening in our City that Never Sleeps! The only limit is your imagination and these new developments reveal we are part of an entirely new world. I can’t wait to see what is next!

 Happy Shopping!

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