Magazines have been testing the waters of brick-and-mortar retail by opening temporary stores in major cities, and New York Magazine is no exception. The company is opening a pop-up shop in time for the holidays in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City for the company’s popular product recommendation vertical called The Strategist.
The venture, which is dubbed "I Found It at The Strategist," will feature items chosen by the magazine’s editors. They will include home goods and skin care products, among others, from brands such as home goods company East Fork and luxury bedding company Parachute. Beauty items will be presented in the format of “try-before-you-buy.” According to one report, each brand will have about 10 to 15 stock keeping units (SKUs) offered in the space. In all, the store will feature approximately 250 different items and will be open for a seven-week period between November and December.
To put their products in the stores, some brands pay a commission rate and others pay a flat fee to appear in the store. New York Magazine eCommerce GM Camilla Cho said the project’s aim is to put The Strategist brand in front of a large audience. “It’s a marketing and brand awareness play," Cho told Digiday. "We don’t see the pop-up as that much of a revenue play, although we do intend to move product.”
To bring the concept to fruition, the magazine turned to a firm called Uppercase that specializes in helping brands launch retail spaces by assisting with designing the spaces, bringing staff on board staff and setting up a point-of-sale (POS) system. At the same time, the company seeks to serve the brands after opening by providing them with data on sales, traffic and returns.
The Strategist is not the only media brand to wade into brick-and-mortar retail. In Minnesota, Good Housekeeping opened a Mall of America pop-up store called the GH Lab that carries items such as smart home devices and beauty products. But the store only offers one product per category, which comes with the magazine’s famous seal of approval. The idea, like with The Strategist, is that magazines aren’t opening retail stores that carry just any product – they are carefully choosing and curating the selections.
In Other Brick-and-Mortar News…
Amazon Go is opening a New York City location inside of Brookfield Place, which was formerly known as the World Financial Center, in Manhattan’s Battery Park City neighborhood. According to Recode, the Amazon Go store will be located adjacent to Brookfield Place’s Winter Garden atrium, near the security desk in front of the American Express office tower and an Oliver Peoples eyewear store.
Earlier this year, the eCommerce retailer launched its first checkout-free convenience store in Seattle. Amazon recently opened two more locations in the city and, in September, it debuted in Chicago. The company reportedly plans to open quite a few more Amazon Go stores – 3,000 locations by 2021, according to some reports.
In other news, Sears Holdings Corp. is not publishing its iconic holiday catalog this year. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Wish Book will still be available online in early November. The printed version was reintroduced after a six-year hiatus for the retailer’s “best members” of its Shop Your Way program. Then known as the Sears Christmas Book, the catalog made its debut in 1933 and came out almost every year — with a gap in 1993 and 1994 — until 2011.
The move comes after Sears announced on Oct. 15 that it would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and gearing up to close another 142 stores after decades of declining revenue and hundreds of store closures. The bankruptcy filing is the culmination of years of effort on the part of Sears and Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert to turn the company around.
And a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey found that consumers are expected to spend an average of $1,007.24 in the upcoming holiday season. The figure marks a 4.1 percent increase from last year, when consumers said they would spend an average of $967.13. "Confidence is near an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest we’ve seen in decades and take-home wages are up," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release. "All of that is reflected in consumers’ buying plans.”
For more on the latest retail trends, keep your finger on the PYMNTS’ Retail Pulse.