Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company launched a new pop-up store at the Mall of America last month, a large investment in its retail practice. The store, Modern Retail Collective, features products from Elevé Cosmetics, Kendra Scott, ThirdLove and type:A Deodorant.
“The purpose of the store is to provide retailers a real, flexible environment — a learning lab — where they can test new technology and learn what resonates with shoppers,” a McKinsey press release said.
In an exclusive interview with Total Retail, Tiffany Burns, partner at McKinsey & Company, discussed the consulting firm's new endeavor into the world of physical retail.
“Over the last few years, McKinsey has received many questions from clients around how to re-imagine the customer journey leveraging technology, given [the] challenges retailers experience navigating the ever-changing context,” Burns said. “We believe retailers need a flexible environment where they can test new technology and learn what resonates with their customers prior without disrupting in-store operations. This is exactly what Modern Retail Collective solves for.”
As for where the experimental store would be located, that was a no brainer for McKinsey. “As a leader in designing and evolving the consumer experience, Mall of America made perfect sense for our store,” Burns said. “The mall, which welcomes 40 million shoppers each year, is constantly looking for opportunities to innovate the shopping experience, which is what we hope to do with Modern Retail Collective.”
So, what can shoppers expect to see and experience when they walk into Modern Retail Collective? McKinsey has incorporated technology that's designed to encourage in-store product discovery and exploration. Specifically, the store has the following:
- Smart mirrors and fit predictor software: This will give shoppers more ways to try on products and find their perfect fit, outside of the fitting room. Consumers can even virtually try on products that aren’t available in-store.
- Interactive mobile hotspots: Hotspots will be available throughout the store, giving consumers the ability to create virtual baskets as they shop.
- Faster, future payment options: This includes mobile and cryptocurrency capabilities.
Modern Retail Collective will be introducing new retail participants every few few months to keep it fresh. “Each installment will focus on a specific theme,” Burns explained. “The first installment was catered towards discovery. The second installment, which will launch in early 2020, will be catered towards tech-enabled service and personalization. Therefore, when selecting retailers, we will determine whether they fit the focus area and assess how they’ll work with other retailers.”
McKinsey firmly believes brick-and-mortar is critical to the future of retail.
“The ‘store of the future’ will essentially bring the best of the digital and physical worlds together, bridging online and in-store shopping and showcasing what’s possible when multiple technologies work together,” said Burns. “It will provide consumers with an experience they can’t get online: in-person product discovery, on-demand service, and tactile experiences within a highly social environment.”
While Modern Retail Collective is McKinsey’s brainchild, Mosaic, a third party that handles staffing for other retail stores at the Mall of America, will handle the labor management processes. McKinsey anticipates the need for at least 10 full-time store associates.
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