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McKinsey Tries Its Hand at Retail in New Mall of America Store

Management consulting firm McKinsey is diving head-first into the retail game with a new, technology-enabled storefront in North America’s largest mall.

The Modern Retail Collective, which opened last week at Minnesota’s Mall of America, will host a rotating cast of retailers and brands. The space is outfitted with the latest technology to “test and measure how innovations resonate with consumers throughout an interconnected space,” McKinsey said in a statement.

Shoppers can virtually try on products in augmented reality mirrors and access product information on their phones through scannable tags. Shoppers can also pay for their purchases using fast mobile payment and cryptocurrency options. McKinsey plans to expand the breadth of retail technologies with the introduction of new retailers to the space.

The store’s launch lineup includes jewelry by Kendra Scott, lingerie from DTC brand ThirdLove, Eleve Cosmetics and Type: A Deodorant.

Meanwhile, a host of technology companies will support the store’s interactive shopping capabilities and act in an advisory capacity to the project. They include Chatter Research, Compass Marketing, ComQi, FaceCake, Farfetch, Flexa, Microsoft, MSM Solutions, Smartrac, Square, RetailNext and Zebra Technologies.

The sheer breadth of new and innovative retail technologies can be paralyzing for brands and retailers deciding on where to invest their marketing dollars. And yet, delivering a true omnichannel experience that blends in-store and digital shopping experiences has become an integral part of attracting young consumers.

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McKinsey’s research shows that 60 percent of apparel transactions include a digital touchpoint—meaning that the majority of consumers are either researching products online before buying them in store, or checking out online. Omnichannel shoppers also spend more on average and purchase twice as often as consumers who are only engaging with brands or retailers in brick and mortar.

“Retailers are experiencing many pressures as they navigate the evolving retail landscape. As a result, stores are closing left and right, with more than 8,000 U.S. store closures announced so far this year,” Tiffany Burns, McKinsey’s retail stores practice lead in North America, said.

“Modern Retail Collective will provide insights to retailers exploring opportunities to re-imagine the store through new in-store experiences and technologies that will enhance customer experience and overall store performance,” she added.

McKinsey’s retail store will act as a testing ground for these advanced and sometimes expensive technologies, allowing brands and retailers to try them on for size before committing to integrating them into their own store operations.

“Modern Retail Collective will unlock the power of multiple technologies working together to cultivate pioneering insights retailers need to transform their customer experience,” Praveen Adhi, McKinsey’s retail operations lead, said. “Through this project, we’ll produce cutting-edge data and analytics to help retailers define their own vision for their store of the future.”

McKinsey plans to usher in the second round of retail and technology partners in early 2020, with an eye toward tech-enabled service and personalization.