As New York City landmarks on the obligatory tourist route are concerned, Macy’s Department Store is for most visitors a must-see. While the retail giant has never had trouble appealing either to tourists of to shoppers over 30, they’ve launched a new campaign to attract a younger demographic, the group known as the “millennials.” Trendy fashions and cutting-edge technology, including 3D printing, are combined to draw in the 12- to 20-year-olds who, like their older counterparts, have come to regard shopping as a multi-sensory cultural experience.
The effort includes a complete reconfiguration of the basement of the Macy’s flagship Herald Square store. The newly converted space called “One Below” is a hip and chaotic hive something like a cross between your best friend’s room–the friend with the “cool” parents, that is–and your favorite dance club.
The $400 million renovation of the 53,000-square-foot space is a kind of experiment and One Below its massive laboratory. Rather than segmenting the store by products, it’s a mix-and-match kind of experience that indulges and brings together the desire to embrace the latest trends with the impulse to emphasize individuality.
In One Below, youthful customers can shop to a soundtrack of hip, electronic house music, get their new Levi jeans “tattooed”–that is, embroidered with a personal message or image–using a laser etching machine. They can design their own Fossil watches and add engraving to personalize them. There’s even a “wearables” (as in “wearable electronics”) area where a variety of electronic gadgets such as Fitbits can be incorporated into one’s get-up.
3D printing figures prominently in the updated Macy’s-for-millennials department. Not only can customers 3D print jewelry and iPhone cases using a 3D Systems Cube printer, but they will also be able to use a photo booth to get a quick 3D scan in order to create a 3D printed selfie. According to Macy’s, the 3D photo booth and selfie printing options are coming soon, although we don’t have specific details.
In the interim, chic young shoppers will have to content themselves with the video wall, which displays Instagram photos taken by shoppers who have “tagged” One Below or the so-called “selfie wall,” where they can photograph themselves standing before iconic New York City landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. What could be cooler than a selfie that features you wearing the latest Vera Wang or Betsey Johnson and standing in front of the newly constructed One World Trade Center?
One Below, in its function as a huge, trendy laboratory, will give Macy’s an opportunity to assess what’s hot and what’s ho-hum with millennials before they begin reconfiguring their 800 or so other locations nationwide. In their efforts to diversify and expand product awareness, Macy’s ought not to neglect the 30+ generations. While the high-energy space of One Below won’t likely appeal to more mature consumers, the high-tech offerings such as 3D printing and personalization will surely entice shoppers across the age spectrum.
Let us know if you’ve gotten a selfie created from Macy’s in the 3D Printed Selfie forum thread on 3DPB.com.[Photos: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg]