Discover the future of retail in New York

This month, our Cloudi-Fi team had the opportunity to participate for the second time to the NRF 2020 Retail’s Big Show along with Business France at the French Tech Pavilion in New York.

During these three days of exhibition, we participated to a Store Tour around the most iconic and digitalised shops of the city such as Amazon Go, Nike and American Girl. The aim of this Store Tour was to see how the big American retailers re-invented their phygital strategy in order to provide the best customer experience through personalisation and an omnichannel approach.

Amazon Go, beyond a convenience store

Our first stop was the Amazon Go store located in Park Avenue. In New York, there are 4 stores around the city, and 25 stores in the big cities of the country such as Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco. According to Bloomberg, the company is planning to open around 3,000 larger convenience stores and small pop-up stores all over the country.

The customer journey starts in the application of Amazon Go that the visitor needs to download and in which he puts his personal information such as his credit card. To get to the shop, the visitor scans a QR code connected to the app. Moreover, the store is equipped with hundred of cameras that track every single gesture of the visitor, whether a product has been taken or put back in its place. During its journey, the visitor can receive recommandations in the app of products he could be interested in and that he could add to his cart. Indeed, it creates personalised suggestions to meet customers’ interests.

At the end of the journey and when the client leaves the store, he receives a receipt within a few minutes in his app which shows the details of his purchase and also the time spent in the store.

With this innovative concept, the customer is fully autonomous during his purchasing journey and also comfortable as it allows him to save time which is advantageous for crowded cities like New York. However, this concept may have some limits as it may not be adapted for all generations since it is mainly digital-based and also because some customers still prefer to be in contact with sales associates for advice. Furthermore, customers may need time to get familiar with this particular concept especially to find the products they need in the areas without asking a sales assistant.

Nike, a successful omnichannel strategy

The second store we visited was the Nike “House of innovation 000” in the Fifth Avenue which covers more than 68,000 square feet. They launched their digital loyalty program called “NikePlus" which enables customers to have the most suitable purchasing journey.

In fact, everything happens in the app used by the members of the loyalty program, from reserving a product to having personalised advice from professional athletes. Indeed, when the customer sees an item, he can scan it thanks to the app to see the availability of sizes and ask to try it on. Then, the customer can pick up the item at a specific corner and try it. When it suits him, he can confirm the purchase on the app, pay it and pick it up directly at the cashier. The app aims to create a seamless experience by simplifying the purchasing process and by saving time for the customer.

Moreover, the members of NikePlus also have the privilege to access to the “Nike Expert Studio” which is the highest level of the store, where they can buy a limited collection, customise their items and also get advice from professional athletes for the most suitable shoes or clothes for them.

Nike is a real example of accomplishment, indeed, the brand succeeded in establishing an omnichannel strategy while other retailers still struggle to achieve this kind of strategy. Thanks to its concept, Nike creates a unique and homogenous experience for its customers.

American Girl, in the core of experiential retail

American Girl is not only an American doll brand for young girls but it also provides customised dolls with a large range of possibilities. We visited the New York flagship which covers around 40,000 square foot and which has different dedicated areas such as

  • "Create your own": an area equipped with digital screens which enables customers to choose, design and personalise their own doll. Little girls have more than 1 million possibilities in terms of combinations, looks and characteristics. They can also create unique clothes for their dolls.
  • "Salon Digital Lookbook": it is an area where little girls can create new hairstyles for their dolls but also do the same for themselves. It enables a 360º interaction with customers as they first access to an online lookbook with different hairstyles and then reserve it beforehand which will drive them to the store and make them enjoy a unique and desirable experience.

The goal of American Girl is to provide technology tools to their customers that will make their experience more pleasant and also to interact with them both in-store and online, which is the core of the phygital strategy. Moreover, the brand's strategy towards their customers is to make them feel privileged through their loyalty program called “AG Rewards”. Indeed, they are rewarded for every purchase and they also have additional advantages such as early access to special offers and limited dolls editions, and to special events such as birthday parties and exclusive experiences in-store.