We spend a lot of our time on our phones these days, especially on Instagram, where not only can we keep up with our friends and favorite celebrities, but where we, increasingly, have been doing a lot of our shopping. What started as a way for stores and brands to gain additional exposure has now become one of the prime channels through which businesses can make a profit.
For some people though, making a purchase on Instagram — or even online — can require a bit of a leap of faith. We want to feel things, see them in person, and know they're as good as they look online. There are so many filters, after all; it's natural to be a little skeptical. With that in mind, the folks at Simon, the company responsible for all your favorite malls, has created a new innovative concept designed to bring Insta-brands IRL.
The Edit @ Roosevelt Field is a new retail concept that is akin to a permanent pop-up store, with a rotating cast of brands and services. "We created this idea as we wanted to bring new, exciting brands to the customers, [who] really demand all of our properties bring the latest fashions, and the latest brands and we really didn't have the template to do it with our traditional models," Zachary Beloff, national director of business development for Simon, tells Refinery29. "So this concept was created for us to be able to bring brands that the customers might be familiar with online, but never have encountered in person to the shopping centers."
Currently, customers can check out collections from Lively, Raden Smart Luggage, Winky Lux, Rhone, and even the oh-so-instagrammable JARS by Dani. "We wanted to find brands that were fresh and exciting, " Beloff explained. "Think about a brand like Winky Lux beauty, they're really quite popular on Instagram and other social media channels and they have a really amazing product, they have this Flower Balm [that's a] clear lipgloss [with a] live flower inside it. We worked with them to create a Flower Balm "Wall Experience" so you can interact with them within this environment." He adds: "[With] Jars by Dani, we wanted something that was visually exciting, and really giftable, and a product that you couldn't just find in a shopping center."
This innovative concept is a win-win situation for all involved. For the young brands, it allows a chance at experimenting with a brick-and-mortar concept, they get to see customers experiment with their product in real time, and at the same time, it increases brand awareness for mall-goers who might not be super-attuned to social media trends. For the mall, it means more foot traffic, and a way to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to the changing retail landscape.
"In order to capture the attention of the customer who's increasingly less focused and more mobile, you need to create exciting and different experiences for them," reveals Beloff. "If you look at what Yankee Candle did with their pop-up in Soho, where you walk into this immersive retail environment, [usually] the customers around the country don't necessarily get to experience all those bespoke things that are going in Manhattan. We create experiences for our customers on a more national scale, it’s something that we’re focusing on."
He continues: "We know that customers love these interactive photo moments, [and] we strongly encourage customers to share their experience [on social media]. A lot of what we’re doing in the retail space, we also compliment with different events, [like] barista art, breakdancers, things that are kind of unexpected in the shopping center; so in addition to the retail it's just creating this experience that you might not expect to see in a mall or a shopping center."
Looks like those rumors about the death of the mall are gonna have to wait.