t’s safe to say that brick and mortar retail hasn’t been having an easy time of late. Rising costs and the shift towards online shopping has created a much more challenging environment for merchents.

With iconic brands such as Macy’s and Sears closing down hundreds of locations, it really does seem as though the so-called &lsquo'retail apocalypse'’ is upon us.

Yet other indicators show quite a different story. Physical store openings actually grew by more than 50% last year, while the pop-up store trend continues to see rapid growth.

As consumers grapple with the sometimes impersonal nature of eCommerce, we are seeing the rise of a new form of brick and mortar retail - one that prides immersive experiences with brands and products.

SHOWFIELDS is a one-of-a-kind department store in New York City which is putting the customer experience at the center of its strategy. This festive season, their short-term theatre experience ‘Holiday X SHOWFIELDS’ is wowing customers with tactile retail encounters.

Sydney Taub and India Sherman, of the SHOWFIELDS marketing team, tell us about their mission to bring the spark back into retail (with the help of a chic noissue wrapping station!)

Q: Tell us how/why SHOWFIELDS began. What is your vision, and why is this important to you?

Sydney: The idea for SHOWFIELDS came to life after our CEO and Co-founder, Tal, was living in NYC for four years. He noticed a gap between what he imagined retail should do, and the often impersonal, transactional reality of the modern department store. From our perspective, the issue with the multi-brand retail environment is that it places a greater focus on its own brand, making the customer’s experience an afterthought. This imbalance often prevented meaningful discovery - a missed connection.

With SHOWFIELDS, we envisioned a space that would ‘flip the formula’ and create a model that is entirely focused on the consumer experience and the brand therein. More than that, SHOWFIELDS became a new way to engage with the brands of tomorrow; aiming to become the leading platform for offline retail discovery.

Q: Tell us about Holiday X House of SHOWFIELDS. What makes this retail concept so unique?

Sydney: Holiday x House of SHOWFIELDS is an immersive theatre experience that bridges art and retail. At Holiday x House of SHOWFIELDS, guests are invited to participate in the environment’s magical realism by touching, smelling, eating, and testing all products and artwork onsite from a variety of brands. Experience the magic for yourself with our complimentary reservations!

Q: What does sustainability mean to your brand? How do you showcase this to customers?

India: When we open a space for the first time, our curation committee looks at 3 parameters:

Is the DNA of the brand aligned with our community?
Is this brand mission-driven, consumer-centric and design-oriented?
Is this product truly innovative? (Most of the time in this day and age that means sustainable!)

Our guests are our ultimate curators, as through their interactions with our brands, we are able to determine which brands, artists and events are the right fit for that community. Therefore, if sustainability is important to our guests, it is to our brands and it is to SHOWFIELDS, since we are a platform for innovation in this generation.

Q: What made you decide to set up a wrapping station for the holidays?

India: There is tremendous satisfaction in opening a well-wrapped present! It is a very sensorial experience, like everything at SHOWFIELDS. When you receive a well-wrapped gift, it shows a special attention and care for aesthetics that is nothing short of respect for the person you are gifting to. Additionally, the eventual discovery of the item inside is postponed for as long as possible - an unboxing experience which creates a theatrical suspense!

Q: Why did you choose noissue? How has custom packaging helped your brand?

Sydney: noissue allowed has SHOWFIELDS to get into the holiday spirit by offering easy, complimentary gift wrapping with every SHOWFIELDS purchase. We chose noissue because not only can customers leave with a beautifully-wrapped gift, but they can leave with the SHOWFIELDS branded wrapping paper and stickers!

Tickets for Holidays X House of SHOWFIELDS are available through to February 2020.