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  • Christelle Magaud

New concepts: In New York, the new retail is on the move!

The NRF is always an opportunity to go on store tours to find innovative concepts. Here is our selection of inspiring shops, made in part with Retailers are returning to the physical world, with more theatrical, educational and community-oriented concepts.

Without a doubt, the Harry Potter shop is one of the must-haves in terms of dramatisation. It is "magical"! Welcome to the Wizarding World! With its fantastic décor, the shop offers the largest collection of Harry Potter products in the world, from Bertie Bott's sweets to magic wands or the famous choco frogs.

The biggest collection of Harry Potter products in the world

Ideal for fans who can literally "transport" themselves into the wizard's world on the spot. For example by trying on Hagrid's giant boots. Or by going to the Ministry of Magic via a red telephone box...

Also not to be missed is the interactive wand table where you can duel with another wizard! Those who use the Harry Potter Fan-Club app can also search for enchanted keys throughout the shop to unlock exclusive behind the scenes facts, figures and videos. Wizard's rest is also provided, with the option to order a Butterscotch Beer from the bar, the famous butter beer served by the Cauldron Tavern.

We leave the dark and subdued world of Harry Potter to plunge into the colourful world of Melissa Shoes, a gallery shop that really stands out. Large coloured balloons move in 3D on the windows and walls before melting into a bubble pool. Customers can jump in if they wish to start their shopping on a fun foot.

The rest of the customer journey is just as surprising, culminating in a huge room with mirrors, which contrasts with the psychedelic and colourful side of the entrance. Thanks to a subtle play of lights, the central decor of the shop creates a futuristic atmosphere. The Brazilian shoe brand likes contrasts, as in other areas of the shop, we find pop colours and an eighties atmosphere.

A different collection for each atmosphere. But each time, it remains an instagrammable boutique model!

When shops become "trainers"

Raising public awareness of the challenges of Web 3... This is the primary mission of the Solana boutique, named after the Blockchain. Installed above Louis Vuitton, in the very chic Hudson Yards shopping centre, it introduces visitors to all the uses of the cryptocurrency blockchain with a very playful tour.

To do this, an ambassador greets each customer and suggests that they download the Phantom Wallet onto their smartphone. Once the operation is done, the customer only has to stop in specific areas to discover a new use of Solana (Solana Pay, Solana Mobile, or how to make a transaction in cryptocurrency...) via an animation on tablet.

Each stop lasts about 3 minutes and a reward is given at the end of each scenario if the customer answers the quiz. After completing at least 4 steps, the visitor is invited to show their badges to collect the promised $10 in the window, received in Solana cryptocurrency.

In another field but with a concept that is also meant to be educational, we also discover the Savant shop. In a setting worthy of an art gallery, this one offers visitors a dynamic and attractive smart home experience highlighting the power of these home automation systems.

For their amusement, visitors can also create wall designs using Cync light strips (the name of the smart home brand that originated with General Electric). They can also test the colour-changing selfie station. In short, everything here is designed to be fun and learn about home automation.

At Savant, home automation is fun to discover.

When the neighbourhood becomes the shop

Gone are the huge flagships! The trend is now towards smaller, community-based shops.

Like in the Flatiron district, where the American brand has deployed its Nike neighbourhood concept. The offer is small and aimed at the local urban population who practice yoga and running. The shop is focused on proximity, not connectivity.

Here, no app, no screens, just small written messages reminding consumers of the brand's values and inviting them to get closer to the sales staff. The Nike teams understood that consumers wanted different shops depending on where they were. Hence these "neighbourhood" shops.

In fact, even the name has been changed: here we are at "Nike by Flatiron", named after the neighbourhood. Another interesting concept is that of Reddy, Petco's high-end private label for pets. This is a paradise for pet addicts! From floor to ceiling, the shop is full of dog products.

Including the food: a range of JustFoodForDogs healthy foods, formulated to meet specific nutritional needs and even fresh food in the refrigerated display case! Located in the SoHo district, the shop is intended to be a gathering place for the owners. Hence the "concierge adventure" station for planning group activities, a "Bark Board" for community news updates, and a "Polaroid" wall featuring owners and their dogs.

Reddy's Bark Board allows customers to benefit from activities, news

Proximity and community also rhyme at DNVB Lalo, which has just opened a nursery shop that wants to bring families together. The concept of Lalo? To make mothers and mothers-to-be feel at home; a happy family café allows them to stop by the shop. There is a cozy corner, hidden from view, where they can breastfeed.

At the back of the shop there is also a room where midwives come to give courses. There are no prices here: everything can only be accessed by QR code.

Note the presence of Babylist, for the baby showers of fashionistas! On the walls, other QR codes are flourishing, each time next to photos of smiling babies and a question that all parents ask themselves. For example, how do you choose a car seat for your baby? Simply scan the QR code to get a selection of appropriate advice.

Each time, the recipe is the same: less standardisation, more customisation. These shops are all unique. This is their number one asset in their strategy to conquer the American shopper!

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