While the pandemic has forced footwear brands like Naturalizer to shut down stores, others have decided to forge ahead with their brick-and-mortar presence. Cole Haan debuted its third Japanese Grandshop earlier this month. In November, Ugg opened a flagship location in New York City, with a “curated fleet” of similar stores expected to roll out in 2021 and beyond.
Swiss performance running brand On joined them with the launch of its first-ever retail store.
The global flagship, located in New York City’s NoHo neighborhood, centers around a nine-foot-tall, 62-foot-long wall. Spanning nearly the entire length of the store, the “Magic Wall,” as On calls it, features hidden gait-cycle analysis technology capable of interpreting guests’ running styles “in seconds.” Shoppers need only run a few strides and the technology will match them with the best shoes for their individual running style, On said.
A custom-built, invisible foot scanner rounds out the store’s technology offerings, ensuring consumers not only receive the right shoe, but also the appropriate size. On’s team of running expert store advisors, it added, are available to facilitate and coach along the way.
“With design and technology at the forefront, On NYC will empower shoppers to engage with our products in an entirely new way,” On co-founder David Allemann said in a statement. “This year more than ever, people have found solace and joy in running. That’s why, in many ways, there has never been a better time for us to open our first global flagship store in a city that we’re confident will remain the shopping capital of the world.”
The store, currently open for in-person shopping, will also allow consumers to schedule virtual shopping appointments. Within two to four hours, On said these remote shoppers will receive product that they can try on from the comfort of their homes before purchasing.
Those who do decide to shop in-store can peruse On’s entire shoe collection with the back side of the “Magic Wall” storing every model and size the brand sells. This setup eliminates time spent waiting to receive sizes, prevents the store floor from becoming crowded with shoe boxes and allows for more valuable interactions between in-store workers and customers, On said. If a shopper decides to purchase the shoe, an advisor brings out a fresh pair and facilitates a seamless, contactless purchase.
Changing rooms are available for customers to test the brand’s apparel collection, including items like jackets, shirts, shorts, tights, pants, tanks and vests, behind the store’s signature wall.
Situated near the store’s exit, a life-size, 3D-printed boulder scanned directly from the Engadin Valley in the Swiss Alps alludes to the brand’s history and founding. To learn more about any touch point or product in the store, shoppers can simply hold their smartphones to the piece for instant access to more information using near-field communication technology, or NFC.
On’s first brand retail store arrives just three months after it introduced its “fully recyclable” sportswear subscription service. Named Cyclon, the program allows subscribers to receive and wear “the latest in running sportswear” and then return end-of-life products back to the brand in exchange for the newest version. Once the used item is received, it’ll be fully recycled by On, which will reuse the materials to create new running gear. Customers can sign up now with a launch expected in the latter half of next year.