WHEN A.R.E.’S FIXTURE OF THE YEAR is built of iPads and video screens, you have
to acknowledge that times have changed. Take a look at My.Suit’s Digital Pod and Bench.
It’s proof that technology doesn’t have to be ugly.
Retailers are using technology in an amazing number of innovative ways to create energy
in their stores, interact with their customers, and capture shoppers’ attention. In recent
months, we’ve seen virtual storefronts, interactive video screens, mobile check-out, mind-blowing digital mapping videos, and more.
TECHNOLOGY | From iPads to virtual storefronts
Photo: CRphoto, New York
Sephora’s new Meatpacking
District store (more below), was
built without a permanent cashwrap. All transactions use mobile
solutions in the store include a
touch screen display to help customers choose a fragrance.
Also in New York, a pop-up
multimedia experience called
Sensorium, described as part lab,
part dreamscape, was a hands-on
maze celebrating scents, including
a scent timeline, a performance art
darkroom that smelled of weekend mornings, fresh-cut grass,
and more. After emerging from the
exhibit’s “lucid dreams”—a room
of scented videos activated by breathing—the experience ended at the fragrance bar,
where “scent flights” consumed enthusiasts who scribbled on cards, trying to note
characteristics, and guess their favorites.
If you can imagine it, today’s technology will probably allow it to happen.
CURATION | Art exhibits and installations
MANY RETAILERS ARE REACHING OUT to local or national artists to contribute their
work, either through curated exhibits, as part of the permanent store environment, or in at least
one case, to contribute graffiti to the store exterior.
If you haven’t visited Sephora’s new store in New York City’s Meatpacking District, I suggest you put it on your list for your next trip. There are some very creative minds at work here!
Influenced by the neighborhood, Sephora is incorporating original art work from a series of contemporary artists into a designated gallery space within the store. The first featured “Flamenco
Tornado,” a custom work by New York-based installation artist and sculptor E.V. Day.
Over in New York’s NoLIta district, Rag & Bone responded to a rash of unpleasant graffiti on
the wall outside the store by inviting a group of street artists and volunteers to post on the wall
outside the store, each bringing their own unique aesthetic and perspective to the project.
In the U.K., John Lewis and architectural company Grimshaw joined
forces to create a touring architectural retail installation called
Fashion Pavilion. The bold installation houses new private-label
designer collaborations and is on
tour throughout the U.K. this year,
adding drama and inspiration to
flagship John Lewis stores including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff,
and Liverpool. RAG & BONE