Multiple pop-ups, one roof. An in-house restaurant and bar. Sales associate paging. A live podcast recorded in-store. Shopping on your terms.
The department store is getting a makeover with Neighborhood Goods—a newly opened concept in Plano’s Legacy West that is being rightfully dubbed the “future of retail.”
With the goal to innovate the traditional shopping experience to foster a new culture, Neighborhood Goods cultivates an ever-changing landscape of brands, products, and concepts.
In a combination of physical storefronts and e-commerce, the store is a hub for rotating brands, whether that be digitally native sites, new startups, or direct-to-consumer platforms. Think coworking, but for retail—each brand pays a monthly fee to receive its own space, staffing, marketing, and retail design. Inside the 14,000-square-foot store is also a restaurant and bar, a live recorded podcast, calendar of events, and communicative app.
Combine it all and you get a modern alternative to a stilted concept, in what Neighborhood Goods itself refers to as a “vibrant space for building a community through social discovery.”
The Dallas-based startup, co-founded by serial entrepreneur Matt Alexander and real estate investor Mark Masinter, raised $5.75 million in seed funding before launch from industry investors like Forerunner Ventures, Maveron, CAA Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest, Global Founders Capital, and NextGen Venture Partners. Designed by Dallas’s Droese Raney Architecture, the store officially opened Nov. 17 at 5905 Legacy Drive with 22 brands.
If you haven’t yet shopped the Goods, step inside the ‘community’ on a photo tour with Dallas Innovates as we take you through the different parts of the dynamic retail environment, even giving you a glimpse of the VIP Private Grand Opening. All photos courtesy of Neighborhood Goods.
Shop the activations
Each brand will have its own designated space within the store—referred to as “activations”—typically lasting six to 12 months. At launch, Neighborhood Goods had a laundry list of diverse brands, from Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James, to UK pajama retailer Desmond & Dempsey, to mattress and bedding direct-to-consumer Allswell. Some companies have never had a physical retail space, while others are using the opportunity to advantageously experiment with displays.
The activations aren’t what you’d typically imagine in a department store display—each space is minimally merchandised, with most of the inventory kept behind closed doors. Interested shoppers can venture into the space, find what they want, and use the mobile app to page a store associate when they wish to purchase.
Specially curated activations will also come and go, like the current Gift Guide set up for the holidays.
But, not all brands have an actual activation. In an “everything is shoppable” concept, some companies have products incorporated throughout the space, like Otherland’s scent, Made In’s cookware, and simplehuman’s mirrors and bins. Custom artwork by local artist Rob Wilson will decorate the walls, and will be available for purchase exclusively at Neighborhood Goods.
Keeping prim and proper
In a partnership with Front Burner, Neighborhood Goods will feature an in-house restaurant and bar concept: Prim and Proper. Matt Alexander told D Magazine this invites customers to walk around with a glass of wine and shop.
“The restaurant is designed to be integrated into the shopping experience,” he said. “It’s the heart of the store.”
With bites, coffee, and cocktails filling what Neighborhood Goods calls a thoughtfully-edited menu, Prim and Proper is intended to be comfortable, unique, and welcoming all day long.
While most major retailers these days offer their own mobile application, not many combine the online and brick-and-mortar experience. With the Neighborhood Goods app, customers can use their phones to enhance their in-store shopping trip.
Self-guided checkouts are available to make a purchase, context can be provided mobile-y about the brands around you, and on-demand ordering allows a product to be brought to you by a staff member, no matter where you are in the store. For example, if you’re in Prim and Proper sipping a cocktail and finally decide to bite the bullet on those shoes you’ve been eyeing, you can buy them from the app, and have them brought right to your table.
The app will also pair with the security scattered throughout the space to track shoppers’ habits and later personalize notifications, Vox reports. So, if you decide not to purchase those cute shoes but the cameras see you pick them up, the app could send you a notification a week later, offering a discount. Alexander admitted to Vox that it was a fine line between innovative and creepy.
“The cameras and beacons will be capturing data to see how people interact,” Alexander told Vox. “Department stores already have tons of cameras on shoppers, they just don’t do anything with the footage. We’ll be providing useful information for brands to determine what their overall retail plan will be.”
Online and in the iOS app, consumers are also able to shop, order items to be picked up later, RSVP for events, and read editorial content about featured products.
A ‘department store with a story’
The Neighborhood Goods team says it believes the stories behind the brands are just as important as the items themselves—along with their own story of “transparency, fallibility, and experimentation.”
To share this, Neighborhood Goods will launch a podcast—to be recorded live in-store—in late 2018, and a printed magazine in early 2019. And, also on the horizon, the store says it will be announcing its next locations soon.
The VIP Opening
On Nov. 15, Neighborhood Goods opened its doors to its first crowd of eager shoppers in a private gathering. Alexander and Mark Masinter were joined by bloggers, the media, friends, and brand owners to sneak a peek of the space and embrace all the Good Goods.
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