Digitally native brands, Casper among them, have turned to pop-up shops to introduce their products to consumers through an offline experience. And, this week, an iconic American magazine, Good Housekeeping, said it was opening a pop-up shop of its own in the Mall of America called the GH Lab that, too, melds the worlds of brick-and-mortar and eCommerce — with a bit of twist from Amazon.
The 2,800-square-foot space will carry all sorts of items, from smart home devices to toys and beauty products. But the store’s selection will differ from traditional retail stores that carry multiple choices for, say, lipstick: It will only offer one product per category and that option will come with the magazine’s famous seal of approval. That seal may provide a bit of reassurance to customers perusing the shop, as the magazine will offer customers a refund or replacement if a product fails within two years of purchase.
Now, in a uniquely digital twist, consumers can also purchase the items in the store by using Amazon’s “Smile Codes.” With that feature, consumers can scan the visual pattern of the code using an app that will, in turn, bring them to a product detail page on Amazon’s website. Then, a consumer can purchase the product as they would normally. Beyond the pop-up shop, the brand offers products tested by the magazine through an “online boutique” on the eCommerce retailer’s site.
In a statement, Jill Renslow, senior vice president of business development and marketing for Mall of America, said the experience highlights a “unique intersection of online and brick and mortar shopping.” She also said that the store is a “one-of-a-kind concept that redefines shopping for our guests.”
Good Housekeeping’s announcement comes in an era where retail is resetting rapidly all around, and the pop-up store model has become a popular option for all types of businesses. To that end, eTailers have used the format to put feelers out into physical commerce without a big commitment and physical retailers have used it to test-drive an expansion into a new market.
They’ve become so popular, in fact, that permanent stores have actually started incorporating them into their design with an eye toward drawing customers back in with a new and exciting experience. Pop-In@Nordstrom, in particular, has featured stores within stores at Nordstrom locations care of The North Face, Everlane and Allbirds to great effect.
Amazon has announced plans to open an Amazon Go location on the East Coast. “We plan to open Amazon Go in New York,” an Amazon spokesperson said, according to Reuters, though it was not revealed when the company plans to open the location. That announcement comes on the heels of news in May that there are plans to also expand the concept to Chicago and San Francisco.
Earlier this year, Amazon launched its first Amazon Go store in Seattle. At the concept’s original location, customers can choose from pre-made salads, sandwiches, snacks and meals, as well as beer, wine, produce, meat and Amazon meal kits. The retailer has recently opened two more locations in the city, which will make New York its first foray outside of Seattle.
In other news, 7-Eleven now takes Google Pay and Apple Pay at most of its U.S. locations, speeding up shopping trips for its customers. The new options are in addition to other mobile payment choices, such as Samsung Pay, Chain Store Age reported. 7-Eleven’s chief digital officer, Gurmeet Singh, said, “Frictionless experiences are the future, and digital payments are key to such experiences.”
Macy’s announced it is hiring 80,000 temporary workers for the holiday season, as well as adding more employees to handle online orders. The retailer said that around 23,500 of the seasonal positions will be based in facilities that support online sales — an increase of 5,500 positions compared to 2017.
In a press release, Macy’s chief stores officer, John Harper, said, “Seasonal colleagues play an especially important role in the Macy’s holiday shopping experience, whether in a store, a fulfillment or distribution center or in a call center.”
Is it too early to be talking about this year’s holiday season? Not for retailers, who have to prepare for the holidays long before festive music hits the radio airwaves. Stay tuned to upcoming Retail Pulses for all the latest updates on retailers preparing for the holidays, brands opening pop-up shops and more