First Look: Puma’s Store of the Future
Puma’s first-ever North American flagship is open and the massive New York City store weaves together retail technology with futuristic experiences and customization, along with an innovative use of RFID.
The 18,000-square-foot store showcases an immersive space—offering consumers a unique shopping experience through innovative sports engagement zones, a customization studio and digitally connected offerings. The interactive retail space spans two floors of real estate at 609 Fifth Avenue, with state-of-the-art double-height storefronts across 160-feet of wraparound frontage. Throughout the year, the store will host unique events and experiences authentic to New York City, and feature exclusive collections designed by brand ambassadors and athletes.
“I believe investing in this new store—in one of the fastest paced cities in the world—will help us in our pursuit to be the fastest sports brand in the world,” said Bjoern Gulden CEO of Puma SE. “We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of sports, fashion and technology, and this store is the latest manifestation of that commitment.”
Puma has wrought the flagship with technology throughout. Shoppers can view products in alternate colors and styles through four iMirrors by NOBAL placed throughout the store. The mirrors allow RFID product to bring up alternative selections based on the item the consumer tries on. Two of them are the largest form factor iMirrrors to date.
When users interact with the iMirror "Discovery Wall," they can browse through all Puma inventory that is close to them using RFID. While browsing, users can also request a certain style and size right from the iMirror. This information will be sent to the sales associates on who will then bring them their requested items right to them. No need for customers to go look for help.
A lifestyle feed gathers information from PUMA's social media channels, which is then fed to each iMirror and displayed. There is also an event feature on the feed which will be displayed when Puma decides to advertise a certain event.
In addition, the Puma mirrors act as a selfie station. Users can take a selfie and add fun Puma stickers to their photos. They can then either email the photo to themselves or they send the photo directly to Puma's social channels.
Beyond the mirrors, the basketball zone features stadium seating and a large screen NBA2K gaming experience, as well as state-of-the-art technology including QR codes located on all products.
Shoppers can hop into professional-grade F1 racing simulators and virtually race down the streets of New York City — the same ones the company’s brand ambassador Lewis Hamilton and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen use to train when they’re not on the track. Soccer fans can test the latest PUMA boots on the in-store simulator that mimics the pitch of San Siro Stadium, all while being virtually coached by PUMA brand ambassadors and professional footballers Antoine Griezmann and Romelu Lukaku.
As retailers compete to update the notion of what the retail store is, many are adding customized experiences to draw shoppers into physical locations. To this end, Puma has partnered with renowned artists and designers to bring its exclusive PUMA x YOU customization studio to the store. Consumers can customize and personalize Puma footwear, apparel and accessories using paints, dips, dyes, patchwork, embroidery, 3D-knitting, laser printing, pinning, material upcycling, and many other creative mediums. New artist residencies begin every two weeks — including collaboration partners like Sue Tsai, BWOOD, Maria Jahnkoy, Même. and Pintrill, with additional artists announced later this year.
Beginning Labor Day weekend, the store will launch ‘Chinatown Market University, where store patrons will be able to customize their PUMA apparel, footwear and accessories using Chinatown Market’s state-of-the-art printing technology. The Chinatown Market team will also be teaching classes around various DIY and customization methods. Beyond the flagship store, Chinatown Market University, a program being launched in collaboration with PUMA, will pop up in various forms through 2020.
“PUMA continues to see solid growth within North America and this new store reaffirms our commitment to this important market,” said Bob Philion, president of Puma North America. “From visitors that come to experience this iconic city, to lifelong New Yorkers, we’re excited to open our doors in a vibrant and diverse community that aligns with our ‘Forever Faster’ mentality.”