Nation’s largest mall is ‘mapping out’ a better shopping experience
Technology that works like GPS for indoor locations is helping shoppers find their way through Mall of America.
The retail and entertainment center — which features 5.6 million square feet of retail attractions and hotel space, including more than 520 retail stores and restaurants — is hoping to enhance its visitor experience with a sophisticated, app-based indoor positioning system. The StepInside Indoor Positioning System, from Senion, directs visitors to their desired retail, restaurant, or entertainment destination within the huge complex through an app on their mobile devices.
The indoor positioning system (IPS) technology leverages wireless access points from Cisco, with the points positioned throughout Mall of America, The technology detects the smartphone’s movement and radio sensors to provide accurate positioning. Both companies are calling the project the largest retail installation of IPS in the United States to date.
“As a destination that welcomes millions of visitors from around the world each year, MOA is continuously implementing new offerings to enhance the guest experience and make the property more accessible,” said Jill Renslow, senior VP of marketing and business development at Mall of America. “StepInside indoor positioning system, allows us to of-fer step-by-step wayfinding, a more personalized visit that caters to the guest preference, and a way for visitors to more easily connect with our brands and attractions.”
Popular British brand to jump the pond
Hunter, best known for its signature rain boots, is expanding its fledgling retail footprint.
The iconic British brand will make its North American freestanding retail debut in October, at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.
The 2,800 sq. ft. store will be the third standalone location for the brand, whose boots are sold in department stores and specialty shops around the world. It will showcase the brand's weatherproof footwear, outerwear and accessories with the full Hunter Kids collection.
To date, Hunter has opened two stores, one in London and the other in Tokyo. But more outposts are likely. Creative director Alasdhair Willis told Women's Wear Daily that the brand is "planning activity in New York and London, in addition to the Yorkdale store opening, in line with that. Details to be outlined in due course.” Willis also said that the U.S. is Hunter's biggest market.
Timberland unveils new experiential store format
Timberland has opened a new concept store that will be completely transformed with a new theme and products every six weeks.
Called Timberland Tree Lab and located at King of Prussia mall, King of Prussia, Pa., the new store emphasizes storytelling and features curated product collections in a gallery-style setting. Sleek, angular design elements combine with minimalist product displays for a fresh and modern brand presentation. Fun displays, including an oversized, Timberland-style periodic table, casually reinforce the science of comfort behind the new technologies that go into the product on display.
While in the Tree Lab, shoppers can also sample a local craft beer (from Tröegs Independent Brewing) or enjoy a bottle of water that may one day be recycled into Timberland linings or shoelaces. The store associates, sporting custom Tree Lab hoodies, are on hand to connect visitors with everything from the latest style trends to local city events.
Tree Lab's opening theme is called Streetology, and is described as "where style for city streets meets hidden technology that's been tested and proven for long days (and nights) in the city." It showcases Timberland's new men's FlyRoam collection.
In late September, Tree Lab will be ramped with an installation called SHEvolution. The entire store will be dedicated to women, with a curated selection of boots and shoes. A holiday-themed installation will open in early November.
"The Tree Lab is more than just a place to shop — everything a consumer experiences from the moment they enter has been designed to enhance their visit, expand their horizons, and leave them with a great memory to go along with that beautiful new pair of shoes," said Kate Kibler, VP of Timberland's direct to consumer business in North America.
Tree Lab is one of several initiatives Timberland plans to introduce this fall. The brand also plans to open a series of "flex retail" stores across the country, starting with a Mall of America location debuting on Sept. 1. In addition, Timberland plans to open a specialty store in mid-August at the Stanford Shopping Center, Stanford, California, and one in the heart of Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 1.