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Target Pilots Pop-Up Retail With An NYC Christmas Wonderland

Target is making a real spectacle of itself.

That’s the company’s own word choice in describing its pop-up store in New York City — a “retail spectacle” called Wonderland, spanning 16,000 square feet and containing 10 holiday-themed displays that merge digital elements with interactive physical experiences, each one promoting a specific toy that Target is selling for the holidays.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune describes a number of features offered at Target Wonderland (which is located next to the Chelsea Market), including a giant Etch A Sketch onto which visitors can have their picture superimposed and shared on social media, a ball pit surrounding a life-size replica of a Lego pirate ship and a racetrack where shoppers can — using a smartphone app as a remote — test drive drones, miniature cars or BB-8 (the robot from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”).

“It will be a wonderful gift to our guests in New York during the holidays,” Jeff Jones, Target’s chief marketing officer, told the Star Tribune prior to the pop-up store’s opening yesterday (Dec. 9). “But strategically, it’s a continued evolution for us to think about what physical shopping is like when we blur the lines with experience and digital layers.”

While the Wonderland experience is not something that Target can feasibly replicate across its 1,800 stores, as the Star Tribune story points out, the temporary New York offering does provide the company with a testing ground of sorts, seeing what consumers respond to and taking that into consideration as the retailer considers future endeavors.

To that end, visitors entering Wonderland are supplied with an RFID tag (worn around their neck with a lanyard), which they can use to scan at kiosks at the various displays if they wish to purchase a particular item. At the end of the experience, they check out and pay for whatever items they have scanned.

Amy Koo, an analyst with Kantar Retail, told the Star Tribune that the idea behind Target Wonderland “is to make the shopping experience feel weightless and less encumbered and to make the transaction more seamless and effortless.”

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