Another futuristic store is launching, bringing us ever closer to the pages of a Philip K. Dick novel. Fashion glossy Marie Claire is teaming up with Mastercard to debut The Next Big Thing Concept Shop, a temporary retail store boasting tech innovations like smart mirrors and new ways to pay. Using an app, consumers can purchase by tapping items in a display, an exterior window, or even the mirror in the dressing room.
Open in SoHo in Manhattan from Sept. 23 through Oct. 12, the store is organized by magazine section, such as career guide @Work, social guide @Play and wellness resource @Peak, and tied to Marie Claire's October issue, which highlights the intersection of technology and lifestyle.
"Today's consumer is seeking a seamlessly integrated experience across both the digital and physical environment," said Sherri Haymond, executive vp of digital partnerships at Mastercard, noting that the shop will showcase Internet of Things devices. Consumers will be able to pay for items, like skincare products and gadgets, from anywhere in the store. A mobile photography studio will also be on site for career headshots.
The store is another example of retail's increasing inclusion of more creative technology in its offerings. Six years ago Story, a Chelsea-based concept shop that uses brand sponsorships to showcase products on a temporary basis, was a pioneer of the merging of media and retail. Designers such as Ralph Lauren and Rebecca Minkoff have adopted more innovation, like smart dressing rooms, into their stores as well. And of course, a test of Amazon Go, the brand's test of a checkout-free experience, launched late last year.
The store also helps give the Hearst-owned Marie Claire brand, an 80-year-old print magazine, more exposure with consumers. Experts expect that shoppers will see more of such partnerships as brands team up to attract customers in new and engaging ways.
"The Marie Claire concept [store] is developed for the experience," says Marieke Witjes, a principal in the retail practice of AT Kearney, a strategy and management consulting firm. "It is about telling a story, creating one consistent experience and making sure it is all done well." She adds that payment and tech solutions should enhance that experience.