In an ever-evolving, omnichannel retail world, a retailer’s physical stores, in conjunction with its digital presence, play a critical role in meeting customers’ multidimensional and dynamic shopping needs. According to A.T. Kearney’s Omnichannel Shopping Preferences Study, two-thirds of customers purchasing online use a physical store before or after the transaction. Therefore, the value of physical stores for customers and retailers amounts to far more than just the sales that are captured within them. Many savvy retailers are developing brand stories that carry from digital to in-store, and are investing in their retail locations to showcase the engaging, sensory experience that only a physical location can provide. And even beyond these savvy retailers, are those globally scaled brands that are quite literally creating immersive brand experiences with highly impressive flagship locations, located in major cities throughout the globe. Nowhere does this concept come to life in sharper focus than in New York City’s Times Square.
Times Square is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, drawing 50 million visitors annually. Between 300,000 and 500,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square daily. It’s no wonder that Times Square has been referred to as “The Center of the Universe” and is home to
many of the most dynamic flagship retail locations.
When T-Mobile made the decision to open a flagship store in Times Square, brand alignment to other retail experiences was key, but the true goal was to provide a new sense of understanding of the brand. The experience needed to be elevated. The Creative Materials team understood this need, and all of the market dynamics at play, and worked as a strategic sourcing partner to meet T-Mobile’s needs.
Challenge | Meet Design Team Requirements
As the flagship location, the design concept for T-Mobile Times Square was very specific and needed to be upheld. For the field tile, T-Mobile’s designers were seeking a large-format, monolithic metallic/concrete aesthetic, but also needed a product with above average slip resistance to mitigate the risk of slip-and-falls in what was sure to be a heavy foot traffic environment. Based on the combination of required elements needed for the field tile, the exercise of sourcing a product that could meet all of the design teams’ requirements might have presented a significant challenge in sourcing a suitable product.
Solution | Global Options Through One Source
Backed by Creative Materials’ in-house sourcing department and extensive relationships with a global manufacturing network, a Creative Materials team member was able to identify the Alloy collection, a perfect black metallic/concrete field tile that achieved the desired aesthetic to fit within the brand experience desired but also carrying a Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) slip resistance rating almost 1.5 times more than industry requirements. For the feature wall, another tile from a separate manufacturer was suggested to meet the white, modern concrete aesthetic that was desired.
Creative Materials worked to ensure that both products would also fit within the budget and that they could be produced and delivered on time. The project management department worked closely with the manufacturing partners to proactively have the tile produced, on hold, and ready to ship when the award was made and final quantities were provided.
Result | On-Time Grand Opening Success
As a result of Creative Materials’ highly efficient and skilled client services team, the tile arrived right on schedule for the flagship grand opening. T-Mobile’s flagship Times Square location has been used to create immersive brand experiences for customers since January 2016.