Luxury department store retailers are combining digital shopping technology with dining experiences in their latest locations as part of their overall innovation plans. Neiman Marcus is gearing up to open what it describes as a “multi-level retail experience” at a new development in Manhattan. The move comes as the retailer is looking to build a luxury platform — and recently appointed two executives to lead its customer and store strategies. The store itself, which is scheduled to open on Friday (March 15), will host three levels of luxury fashion as well as dining at The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards. The 188,000-square-foot space is said to house three dining options along with iconic and emerging brands as well as exclusive products.
Neiman Marcus Group CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said in an announcement for the store, “We’re thrilled to be introducing Neiman Marcus Hudson Yards as a continuation of our strategy to transform the Neiman Marcus brand into a digital luxury platform.” He continued, “This store recognizes our brand’s history and heritage while adapting to how the next generation of luxury customers shop. Neiman Marcus Hudson Yards will be all about providing physical and digital experiences in a way not seen at other stores, creating a personal customer experience that is seamless and magical.”
The store will feature technology such as fitting rooms that are digitally enabled. Shoppers can customize lighting with five different environment settings and can check out directly from the space. In addition, digital stylists will have a space to engage with customers in an area dubbed the new “Digital Styling Lounge.” At the same time, Memory Makeover mirrors will be able to text and email makeup tutorials and beauty demonstrations to customers. And digital directories placed at store entrances will enable shoppers to search vendor locations, departments, promotions and in-store events. In addition, the store will have ChargeItSpot stations to help juice up mobile devices (the company charges more than 2 million mobile devices annually).
When it comes to dining experiences, the space will house food and beverage concepts such as an outpost of Maury Rubin’s City Bakery offering items such as sandwiches and salads. There will also be a chocolate bar with sweets from Nunu, Fine & Raw and other local chocolatiers. Moreover, the company said its Zodiac Room “will be serving over 60 years of fine dining history with customer favorites from our 45 restaurants nationwide.” Bar Stanley is said to pay “homage” to Stanley Marcus, whose father and uncle opened the retailer’s first location, and will offer a “mixologist-curated selection of specialty cocktails, wines, beers, and non-alcoholic drinks.”
Neiman Marcus is hardly the only department store to offer dining experiences, with Tiffany & Co.bringing breakfast to its reimagined retail experience. And last year, it was reported that Crate & Barrel was planning to add a full-service restaurant to its Chicago store.
Along with dining options, the Hudson Yards space is said to house the Neiman Marcus “Travel Shop,” which would come with travel apparel as well as accessories for women and men on the go. That development comes as Neiman Marcus is expanding its horizons with travel this spring through its “The Art of Travel” campaign. The themed offering was to come with 500 travel-themed exclusives such as fine apparel and handbags, among other products, to be offered from March to May.
Beyond Neiman Marcus, Hudson Yards will reportedly house a dedicated floor for these brands called The Floor of Discovery. Related Companies Retail Specialist Esty Ottensoser told The Wall Street Journal of the idea in January, saying, “We want to showcase their brand in a way they can’t do behind a screen.” It is also said to feature stores by Rhone, a menswear brand and Stance, a maker of socks. There will also reportedly be a place “with a coffee station from Japanese housewares and clothing retailer Muji” per the WSJ report. The space is said to house a M.Gemi store that will tap into Resy for reservations.
Ottensoser said of the space, according to reports at the time, “The addition of sought-after emerging brands and one-of-a-kind experiences round out our collection of leading brands in every category from luxury to fast-fashion.” Ottensoser continued, “It reflects our passion for creating a destination that fosters retail innovation, offering our customers and retail partners opportunities to explore new products, services and technologies.”
From emerging brands to iconic department stores, then, new developments such as Hudson Yards are becoming home to new retail spaces designed for the digital age with unique in-real-life experiences.