How Top New York Retailers Create Next-Level Service Experiences
As the retail renaissance continues, here's how leading names from Starbucks and Neiman Marcus to Hudson Yards' Vessel are staying on top of the brick-and-mortar game with immersive, personalized, discovery-driven experiences
New York City has become an important proving ground for both brands, retailers and food-service companies looking to revitalize their customer experience strategies. Thanks to a steady stream of tourists and its hard-to-impress residents, New York is at the forefront of many of the key trends driving a physical retail renaissance today.
From experiential flagships in Midtown to social media-friendly SoHo pop ups, the store and restaurant have become as much a marketing channel as a place to consume. Offering access to an exclusive experience is becoming just as important as offering access to a one-of-a-kind item. The city’s leading retailers and food-service companies are also utilizing technology to turn the physical stores into a dynamic, personalized shopping experience, empowering staff to provide a higher level of service:
High-end furniture retailer RH (née Restoration Hardware) has a vast, new six-story store in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, featuring a rooftop restaurant, wine terrace and espresso bar. The store also offers private client presentation rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery
Starbucks’ 23,000-square-foot location in Chelsea is designed to be a high-end, immersive coffee experience. Beans are roasted in house, with Willy Wonka-esque tubes in the ceiling that transport beans from the 30-foot copper roasting silo to the coffee bar. The store also features sleek design elements like leather-bound door handles, tea-infused craft cocktails, mixology stations, Princi baked goods, a giant in-store terrarium and a ‘scoop bar.”
This start-up incubator in Meatpacking recently revamped the style of its office from engineering laboratory to collaborative co-working space. Membership to betaworks includes access to various events.
Iris Nova: The Drug Store
Direct-to-consumer beverage brand Iris Nova has opened The Drug Store, a beautifully designed cocktail bar experience featuring alcohol-free mixed drinks with inventive ingredients, such as yuzu and wasabi, alongside a cashier-less vending store that uses RFID-enabled refrigerators that track inventory sold and QR codes that prompt shoppers to pay via text message.
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proud moment — we opened our first retail store in NYC today 😊. The Drug Store (293 Church St – Tribeca) is stocked with all of your favorite DL flavors. stop by & take what you need — txt us after & we’ll charge it to your account. First bottle free for current customers this week only 😘
Mercado Little Spain
World-famous Chef José Andrés and the Adría Brothers have opened an all-day destination market in Hudson Yards to provide the very best of Spanish food, drinks and culture.
The department store retailer is looking to broaden its offering by providing in its Hudson Yards Store extraordinary experiences and “top notch dining.” Foodservice experiences include Irving Farm New York service draft coffee, The City Bakery chocolate bar, and Cook & Merchants, a counter service with pre-made salads, soups and sandwiches.
Source: stock photos from Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock
The Vessel at Hudson Yards
For fun, visitors on tour can scale British designer Thomas Heatherwick's giant honeycomb-like sculpture at New York's Hudson Yards. With 154 staircases, this huge artwork comprises an Escher-like lattice of the interconnected stair flights and 80 landings.
Source: stock photos from Francois Roux/Shutterstock
Lead image: stock photos from Jason Sponseller/Shutterstock