store concept

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Macys Millenial Moms
Image source: Macy’s

Trading on the still-growing consumer appetite for out-of-season retail, US department store chain Macy’s has simultaneously debuted three off-price outlet concepts called Backstage in New York’s outer boroughs of Brooklyn, Long Island and Queens.

Averaging about 30,000 sq ft, the locations sell a wide range of previous-season products, including apparel, accessories, home decor and beauty, as well as exclusive newer items at up to an 80% discount.

According to Vanessa LeFebvre, senior vice-president and general merchandise manager of Backstage, the new concept was developed to attract the millennial mother, who it hopes will “graduate” to shopping at full-priced Macy’s stores as she gains more disposable income. Travel-sized products are used as a form of brand introduction, while the weekly influx of new merchandise encourages repeat visits.

Trading explicitly on the social media savvy of its millennial audience, “pin it, snap it, share it” stickers on store mirrors encourage shoppers to share the “treasure hunt” experience of discount discoveries. Additional amenities for this on-the-move generation include mobile checkout handheld devices for employees, as well as sit-down charging stations dubbed “juice bars” located just outside fitting rooms.

Social media also heavily influences the visual merchandising of the Backstage stores. Each features a single prominent display known as the “centre stage” which showcases a weekly product trend, such as ‘Country Life’. These themes are carried throughout the store on multiple Pinterest-esque product display boards.

Three more Backstage stores are set to open in 2015 in an additional Long Island location, the Bronx and New Jersey.

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - AlpStories
Image source: AlpStories, Croatia

In order to communicate its innovative approach to beauty retail, Slovenian cosmetics brand AlpStories enlisted Croatian interior design studio Brigada to create a tech-enhanced concept for its new store in Zagreb, Croatia, including an on-site robot that mixes personalised skincare products.

Situated inside the Arena Centre shopping mall, the store concept emulates its online retail model, which invites consumers to custom-create products by combining selected natural ingredients, such as vitamin-rich plant extracts sourced from the Austrian Alps. They can also design their own packaging; colour-ways, logos and a personal photo can all be added.

The co-creation happens in a customisation area stationed in the middle of the store. An AlpStories specialist provides one-to-one consultations using a skin analysis machine to determine the skin type and the combination of ingredients that will suit the customer best. Armed with that data, the personalised concoction is created using a mixing station partnered with a touchscreen digital kiosk, plus a robot inside a glass-walled studio that prepares the product.

The spatial design tempers the overall emphasis on scientific acumen with a nature-inspired aesthetic. Materials including pine wooden shelves and slate walls showcase product, while a photographic mural of a mountainous scene, referencing the product’s core ingredients, stretches across the back wall.

While some beauty brands are enhancing their selling spaces with lifestyle-focused initiatives to engage consumers, others are using high-tech concepts or science-inspired spatial design to denote industry innovation and advanced product knowledge.

Guest post Stylus.com by Samantha Fox