Retail innovation is blazing, even in the midst of the craziest holiday season ever. This November alone, Nike and Ugg both launched new store concepts, while 7‑Eleven and Foot Locker expanded on their new concepts.
Nike Unite launched with five store locations and the footwear and apparel retailer has announced more to come soon. UGG debuted a New York City flagship and promised the concept will be rolled out globally in 2021 and beyond. Meanwhile, convenience store chain 7-Eleven opened its fifth Evolution Store and Foot Locker expanded its Power Store concept to Canada, opening an eighth location with a ninth to come next month.
Here RIS takes a look at each and gives you the lowdown on the innovation inside.
Nike launched Nike Unite this month to help local consumers connect more closely with sport. The concept comes in addition to the retailer’s previous concept stores: Nike House of Innovation, Nike Rise and Nike Live.
Nike Unite stores are designed to be a reflection of locals’ “heart and spirit.” Consumers are welcomed by an in-store community wall highlighting the store team and local partnerships, and design elements throughout the space also look to tell the story of the community. The products in each Nike Unite door are also reflective of what the community is interested in.
Online and offline, Nike Unite delivers new ways to “gear up and get moving together,” including supporting local schools and nonprofits that give children more opportunity to stay active through Made to Play and participating in the Nike Community Ambassador program (which trains Nike store employees to be coaches). Digital and self-service features help shoppers discover Nike through contactless options like Nike Member self-checkout kiosks or buy-online-pickup-in-store.
The following Nike Unite stores are open: Portland, OR; East New York, NY; San Antonio, TX; Namyangju, South Korea; and East Kilbride, UK. The retailer plans to open four more locations for a total of nine worldwide: South Chicago, IL; Atlanta, GA; and two in Beijing – Jingliang (China).
Southern California-based global lifestyle brand UGG, a division of Deckers Brands, debuted a new flagship store at 530 Fifth Avenue in New York City (on the corner of 45th Street). This new concept marks the first of its kind for the retailer and UGG plans to roll out a curated fleet of flagship stores globally in 2021 and beyond.
Built to reflect the retailers’ brand evolution from the iconic Classic boot to a full lifestyle brand that offers a collection of footwear, ready-to-wear, accessories and home, the multi-level, 12,842-square-foot store reflects and reimagines its California roots. The flagship was designed by Los Angeles-based architecture studio Florencia Pita & Co., in partnership with San Francisco-based Quezada Architecture.
"We are thrilled to launch the new UGG Flagship on Fifth Avenue in New York City," said Stefano Caroti, president of Omni Channel, Deckers Brands. "As the pinnacle expression of our brand, we will showcase the breadth and depth of UGG as a true lifestyle brand and provide the customer with the ultimate brand experience."
The new design is meant to “transcend reality to characterize both the emotion and warmth of the California lifestyle that captivates the world. From nature to home and back again, this journey captures the aura of the UGG brand by highlighting the specific qualities of a California landscape that defines it – light, texture and air.”
To celebrate the first flagship store in NYC and connect with the local community, UGG regionalized their holiday FEEL LOVE. campaign and featured three New York-based real-life heroes. Building upon FEEL, the brand's platform and #UGGTOGETHER, a giveback program the brand launched in April 2020 as a response to the global pandemic, UGG is celebrating real-life heroes whose stories exemplify the spirit of giving and donated $10,000 to each charity proposed by the campaign's heroes.
7-Eleven Evolution Store
Convenience store retailer 7‑Eleven has opened another Evolution Store, the second in Dallas and the fifth in the country. It first rolled out the concept with one store in Dallas, TX, in 2019, and then began expanding the concept in March this year. More Evolution Stores are anticipated to open in 2021.
The newest store opened up in Lake Highlands in Dallas this month and features a Laredo Taco Company quick-serve restaurant; self-serve bean-to-cup coffee and espresso with touch-screen ordering; cookies and croissants baked in store daily; a wide selection of organic, natural and better-for-you items; an extensive wine selection and more.
Located at 9750 Walnut Hill Lane at the corner of Audelia Road, the store is an experiential testing ground where customers can try and buy the retailer's latest innovations in a revolutionary store format. 7‑Eleven opened three of these new concept stores earlier this year in New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Diego.
Lake Highlands native, mixed-media painter and artist Mariell Guzman helped create a unique brand personality for the store and the neighborhood. Two larger-than-life murals were painted by Guzman both inside the store and on the north side of the store, visible from Walnut Hill and suitable for selfies and social media posts. Guzman's Mexican heritage influences her art – the use of bright, rich colors and whimsical, fun designs reflect the energy of the neighborhood.
"We have learned a lot since we opened our first Evolution Store in early 2019, most importantly, that convenience shoppers love the concept and its unique product mix," said Chris Tanco, 7‑Eleven executive vice president and chief operating officer. "The Sylvan | Thirty store wildly exceeded our expectations, with sales three times what we originally projected. We've learned what resonates with customers and already incorporated our learnings into new and existing 7‑Eleven stores across the system."
The new Evolution Store offers digital initiatives that enhance the shopping experience. Mobile checkout technology allows customers to skip the checkout line and pay for their (non-age-restricted) purchases on their smartphones. And the 7NOW delivery app allows customers to have items delivered straight to their door or available for pickup by ordering and paying ahead of time.
"7‑Eleven continues to push boundaries and try new solutions to answer customers' needs," Tanco said. "We have been ahead of the game with digital technology, specifically with contactless payments, home delivery and loyalty programs. That has proven particularly important now as we continue to navigate the pandemic. The shopping experience will never stop evolving, and we are laser-focused on our bright future serving customers."
The store also offers a self-serve hot beverage bar, with bean-to-cup coffee and espresso, brewed after being ordered from a touch screen. Customizable, self-serve novelty beverages are on tap such as nitro cold brew, premium teas, aguas frescas, frozen coffee Slurpee Nitro drinks, blended smoothies with real fruit and flavored sparkling water.
Additionally, there is an expanded selection of domestic and international wines, and a walk-in beer cooler with curated selection of craft and local beers, popular imports and top-selling big brand beer.
The Lake Highlands store also houses the second Laredo Taco Company restaurant in Dallas. 7‑Eleven acquired the authentic Mexican concept along with Stripes convenience stores in South Texas as part of the 1,000-store acquisition from Sunoco in 2018. Laredo Taco Company restaurants are famous in South Texas for their handmade tortillas made from scratch in stores every day, as well as their popular salsa bar with on-site, daily prepared salsas, guacamole and pico de gallo.
Foot Locker Community Power Store
Foot Locker has expanded its latest store concept into Canada. It opened its first Canadian Community Power Store in Vancouver, British Columbia on November 20 and will open a second in Toronto, Ontario in early December.
The Canadian locations come in addition to Foot Locker Power Stores already open in Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, London, Compton, Liverpool and Hong Kong. The retailer brought the concept to the U.S. earlier this year.
"We are so excited to bring our Power Store model to Canada over the next two months," says Richard McLeod, VP of Marketing for Foot Locker, North America. "Although the shopping experience is different with current guidelines, we look forward to bringing locally-curated experiences to the Vancouver and Toronto sneaker communities."
The new 15,000-square-foot store in Vancouver offers a three-story retail experience, including a second-floor activation space where events may be hosted with key brand partners and influencers for the local community (pending COVID-19 restrictions). Gift with purchase offers will also be available for Foot Locker shoppers.
The store will offer an assortment of Nike, Jordan and adidas product in men's, women's and kids. Foot Locker's exclusive COLLABORAID product – a giveback initiative that brings together more than a dozen notable creatives with a shared mission of aiding in the recovery from COVID-19 through sneaker culture – will also be available in the store.
In support of Vancouver and the surrounding communities, Foot Locker has committed to hiring local residents who are naturally connected to sneaker and youth culture, as well as have diverse backgrounds and can speak multiple languages such as Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, Punjabi and Vietnamese. The store plans to host local DJs and brands in the space when the current conditions allow. At this time, the brand has engaged local artists Tierney Milne and KC Hall to design custom artwork for the interior of the store.
Foot Locker's Vancouver community-based Power Store is located at 1067 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 1A9. The Toronto-based community power store – located at 306 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1R4 – is expected to open its doors to the public on December 5th.