Is Showfields the Future of Retail?
By Lauren Parker, Contributing Editor
Retailers often complain about “showrooming,” where consumers come to their stores, engage with their product and sales help, then pull out their phones and order the items for less on Amazon. Newly opened retailer Showfields, however, flips this on its head. At this new retail concept space, in downtown New York, showrooming is encouraged because the brands are the showrooms. And they reap the benefit.
Showfields features numerous branded micro “showrooms” featuring digitally native direct-to-consumer brands showing in brick-and-mortar for the first time. Knowledgeable salespeople guide consumers through the brand and product, and each space offers clever experiential and Instagrammable moments. Each showroom is also equipped with a kiosk where consumers can then jump online and order the product.
Since little to no inventory is stocked, brands only need minimal space to get their names known and the products tested, and consumers can then be turned over to the limitless depths of the brands’ respective websites. (I tested out the awesome—and sold-out—Gravity Blanket while lying on a bed staring up at hanging puffy cotton clouds.)
Co-owners Tal Zvi Nathanel and Amir Zwickel explain: "SHOWFIELDS is designed to bridge the gap between discovery and physical experience, representing a new model and the future of brick-and-mortar retail," says Zwickel. "We want to create the most interesting store in the world," adds Nathanel. "A space filled with wonder that connects a curious and creative community to the brands and experiences reshaping our world."
Showfield’s first floor also serves as the launch for The Den, a space for rotating cultural programming. In 2019, the second floor opens with home brands, design and fashion on the third floor, and The Loft — a community-centered co-working and programming space on the fourth floor. Showfields also partnered with Joshua Liner Gallery to curate revolving art programming throughout the first floor.
With short-term lease commitments, brands will cycle through the space, allowing them to test the brick-and-mortar waters while giving consumers a fresh experience each time they visit. Overall, it’s a fresh, dynamic experience that’s about discovery.
Showfields is currently open at 11 Bond Street, New York City.