E-Retail comes down out of the cloud.
In addition to the iconic ‘Vessel’ and some space for visual and performing arts, the core of Hudson Yards is a designer shopping mall. You’ll find luxury stores from New York City’s first Neiman Marcus to Jo Malone and Cartier. But the second floor is the exciting shopping experience. It is called the Innovator’s Floor and the Floor of Discovery.
The innovative stores which caught my interest are a curated selection of e-retail sites that have been granted bricks and mortar storefronts on the second floor. These ‘digitally native retailers’ are given room to experiment with real live customers – in person. This is a leading example of online brands offering products in stores.
Commenters in retail have suggested that while the internet is an inexpensive way to launch a business, it is has become costly to acquire customers online with Google and Facebook. Bricks-and-mortar stores may be the best ways to grow these businesses. These are not pop-ups. For some of these businesses, these are their first permanent stores.
A lot of expertise went into the curation of these e-businesses. Here are the innovators on the Floor of Discovery – with links to their online stores for you to check out.
AG Jeans by Adriano Goldschmied offers apparel.
b8ta – Tech Retailer with Curated Brands is the home to gadgets, travel, home goods and apparel.
BATCH – At Hudson Yards currently features a curated selection of innovative furniture, clothes, toys and products for stylish babies and children – most from brands born on the internet.
In San Francisco, Batch offers home décor . The showroom feels like your stylish friend’s home.
Dirty Lemon – Come here for trendy beverages with Matcha, ginseng, charcoal, aloe, collagen, turmeric and lots of other tinctures to set give you stamina for your Hudson Yards explorations.
FRANKIE CoLAB is a clothing store offering small, limited editions by hard to find independent designers. You’ll be the only one at the party in one of their outfits.
Heidi Klein – Swimwear and resort wear. Heidi uses high quality materials, innovative design and a focus on fit. Her swimsuits have adjustable straps for the best possible fit for all bodies.
L’Oréal (a new concept store). You will enjoy a new way of shopping for beauty products at this ‘Shoppe’ connected to L’Oréal’s new worldwide headquarters at Hudson Yards.
Lovepop – Beautiful, laser-cut pop-up greeting cards engineered with shipbuilding technology and the ancient paper art of kirigami.
M.Gemi has grown quickly online by offering quality Italian shoes which resemble Tod’s, Prada and others. Women and Men’s Shoes and Accessories. Now you can try them on before you buy.
Milk & Honey – Bee related bath and beauty products made with pollinator-friendly ingredients, including organic oils and butters, raw honey, and 100% natural colors.
MUJI offers a curated collection of travel aides, basic clothes, bedding, household goods, stationary, snacks and more – all with innovative designs. Muji, in Japanese, translates as “no-brand quality good.”
Stance sells colorful, performance socks and unique apparel with a ‘featured artist series’ plus t-shirts with ‘butter blend fabric’, beach blankets and back to school products.
The Innovation and Discovery floor is also home to new experiences and food. The Snark Park (not my favorite) offers visitors winding walks through a space with furry seats and hidden dens. Kith cereal bar will mix rice krispies into your ice-cream and sell you a branded t-shirt to show that you are on the leading culinary edge. Go up to the fourth floor, 3den, and you will be given a chance to shower and chill out in a ‘nap-pod’ in 30-minute increments. Even Neiman Marcus is innovating, with a luxury, Resurrection Vintage Shop, 50 digital stylists for online shoppers, a cosmetics department without counters (like Sephora) and street-level pick-up for orders.