In Seattle, Washington, in the northwest corner of the United States, a tiny store is trying to bring mobile shopping to life. Hointer sells designer jeans for men—nothing unusual there. But the shopping experience is unique: consumers use a smartphone to scan a QR code or tap a tag on the products they want. The desired items are then robotically delivered to dressing rooms, and shoppers can go online to request more sizes and colors. The purchase is completed via a slide-through credit card machine—and the buyer can then exit the store without interacting with a human being. Sound dehumanizing? Founder Nadia Shouraboura, a former Amazon executive, told the Seattle Times, "The whole idea behind Hointer is to combine the ability to try on items with the very fast and efficient model of online shopping."
|Dover Street Market |
Whether you’re in London’s Dover Street or Tokyo’s upmarket Ginza district, the creative minds behind Dover Street Market want to engage, challenge, and delight. Sophisticated and surprising, luxurious yet unpretentious, it’s the brainchild of Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo, whose goal is to mix like-minded luxury brands with vintage wares and art in a retail environment that’s one part designer flea market, one part salon, and constantly reinventing itself. "I want to create a kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos: the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision,” the Japanese designer states. “I would like for DSM to be the place where fashion becomes fascinating." Next stop: New York, which is slated to get its own DSM in late 2013.
Online retailers have the ability to sell products while maintaining a magazine-style feel, so why should physical stores be different? STORY, a curated retail store in New York, is exploring this idea with an innovative store that behaves like a walk-in magazine, changing focus every four to six weeks with a new pop-up shop concept that mixes events such as pasta-making classes with unexpected products. Exploring themes such as art, love, and color, each new iteration of STORY offers a selection of products that span price points and target markets. Founder Rachel Shechtman aims to encourage consumer engagement with retail and brands. She recently told PSFK, "within the next six months we will be launching e-commerce; and in the same way our spin on retail is a little different, so will our interactive commerce experience."
| Dongdaemun Design Plaza |
The Pritzker prize-winning British architect Zaha Hadid has been bringing her modernist, breath-taking designs to such futuristic shopping experiences as the 18-floor Galaxy SOHO project that opened last year in Beijing. Now all eyes are on her next project, which aims to establish Seoul as a leading design hub with a futuristic, eco-friendly plaza merging design, fashion, and retail that’s slated to open in 2013. Hadid’s website calls it an urban oasis to promote “fluid thinking”: a multi-purpose design edifice that will comprise a variety of design-related facilities, including exhibition halls, museum, library, resource center, park, two big convention halls and, of course, stores—daring to lure away luxury brands from the now-famous Gangnam Cheongdam-dong shopping district, where Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Tory Burch, Prada, and Gucci can be found.
| MakerBot Store |
3D printing is all the rage these days, and the MakerBot brand of 3D printers is eager to demystify the process. Its retail outpost in New York City's Nolita area is the first full MakerBot retail experience in the world. Visitors can watch the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer working live to create new objects, attend classes and workshops, check out the 3D photo booth, and even buy a 3D printed item for as little as $5 in the MakerBot Gumball Machines, which sell tiny designs that fit into classic prize capsules, dispensed through a coin-operated vending machine. Who said the next big idea couldn't be small?