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Hudson Yards bolsters store portfolio; focuses on experiential retail

Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus at Hudson Yards

New York City’s massive new retail center expects a new slate of upscale retail brands and innovative store experiences to attract “millions” of additional consumers.

Located on the Far West Side of Manhattan, The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards is about to up the experiential retail ante with a new set of tenants — many of which will open their doors next month. They will join the likes of Sephora, H&M, designer boutiques and Neiman Marcus. The luxury department store, which opened its first New York City flagship store in Hudson Yards, will discuss the location’s experiential store design at the upcoming SPECS 2020 conference, March 15-17, at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas.

The new brands bolstering the Hudson Yards portfolio include Tiffany & Co.; family experience store Camp; digitally native apparel brands Faherty and Naadam; fine jeweler Marli; Italian watchmaker Panerai; sunglass brand Ray-Ban; and Belgian chocolatier Neuhaus Chocolate. Other recently opened stores include luxury retailers Kenzo and Dior. 

Hudson Yards, which opened in March, currently features more than 100 stores and dining options — many of which deliver innovative and immersive experiences. Many Hudson Yards retailers are merging technology and innovation to attract shoppers, and create more personalized, immersive experiences inside of their stores. The retail center expects this formula to ensure it hits its goal of hosting over 20 million visitors during its inaugural year, according to the retail center.

Here are three ways some of Hudson Yards’ tenants are engaging shoppers:

Digital Signage. From touchscreen maps of the complex to ordering kiosks inside specific stores, robust digital screens are commonplace throughout Hudson Yards. For example, a huge digital wall welcomes customers as they enter the Watches of Switzerland foyer. Meanwhile, Kate Spade’s front windows and cash wrap feature digital screens that display the latest trends across its handbags, ready-to-wear, fashion accessories, and jewelry categories. 

Taking a more interactive approach, Lululemon’s 4-ft. digital touchscreen — positioned in the center of the sales floor — invites users to scan product QR codes to research merchandise, place orders, even share feedback and product reviews.

Mobile checkout options. Many flavors of mobile point-of-sale are available throughout Hudson Yards. Specialty greeting card retailer Lovepop uses an iPad-enabled cash wrap to ring up customers. Tory Burch associates use a tablet for clientelling, as well as to confirm prices and inventory status, place online orders for customers, and check out shoppers. 

Customers at sock retailer Stance use their smartphones to scan and pay for merchandise from anywhere on the sales floor. After shoppers pay using Apple Pay, Google Pay or a credit card, a digital receipt is displayed on their phone screen. Once an associate views the receipt, they help the customer bag their order.  

The Drug Store bar uses an unconventional version of self-checkout at its cashierless pop-up store (which is adjacent to its non-alcoholic full-service bar). The self-service location, which sells flavored beverages from online start-up Dirty Lemon, uses sleek kiosks to describe elixir flavors and its checkout policy — one that is based on SMS texts and the honor system.

When customers text the dedicated number displayed on the kiosk, they are sent a link to enter their credit card information, and then charged for their purchase.

Immersive experiences. Many of Hudson Yards’ retail tenants encourage customers to get up close and personal with their merchandise. For example, b8ta provides an experiential environment that enables customers to “test” a variety of innovative merchandise typically available online. Customers can also head to Lululemon on Sunday mornings for complementary 45-minute meditation classes. 

Upon settling in for their treatment at Sundays Nail Studio, customers can enjoy a complementary cup of tea, or don a set of headphones that guides them through a meditation. 

Meanwhile, Micro Kickboard (which operates its flagship store in Hudson Yards) invites shoppers to test its full line of scooters on its indoor test track.
Want to hear more about Hudson Yards happenings, as well as innovations featured in Chain Store Age’s article, “Top 10 Retail Center Experiences?” Register here for SPECS 2020.

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