Has Lego built an unforgettable retail experience for kids and adults?
One of the most popular toy brands is betting on experiential retail coming back in a big way. Lego just opened a two-story flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
The new location features Lego installations of famous NYC landmarks, a personalization studio that allows visitors to make customized Lego-brick portraits and a station for making customized mini-figures, according to a Forbes article. The site represents a brand-wide move toward a more immersive retail experience as Lego intends to fold some of the fixtures of the flagship into its mainline stores nationwide.
In addition to the new experiential strategy, Lego has been proving it’s not just for kids anymore, courting older customers through niche-oriented partnerships. The brand recently partnered with Adidas on a limited-edition Lego product aimed at sneakerheads which creates a replica of an Adidas Original Superstar shoe, according to Geekspin.
Lego has some competition when it comes to its adult appeal. A ticketed pop-up called the Brick Bar, which features themed drinks, DJs and Instagrammable installations created from off-brand plastic bricks, plans to begin touring major U.S. cities again after being shut down due to the pandemic, according to SFist.
Big toy stores have had their ups and downs in recent years in the Big Apple.
In the mid-2010s, two of the biggest experiential toy flagship stores in Midtown Manhattan — Toys “R” Us and the iconic FAO Schwarz — both closed their doors. Toys “R” Us cited overwhelming retail rents as the reason, though the chain was suffering from larger issues and shuttered all of its stores after declaring bankruptcy in 2017. In late 2018, FAO Schwarz opened a new iteration of its flagship at Rockefeller Center.
The FAO Schwarz flagship closed down alongside a great deal of brick-and-mortar retail at the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but reopened its doors to customers in August of 2020, ABC 7 reported at the time.
Concerns remain both in NYC and nationwide, however, about the possibility of restrictions being reintroduced as the delta variant of the novel coronavirus continues to circulate. Such restrictions could negatively impact retail that focuses on in-store experiences in the short- or medium-term.
- Step Into The New LEGO ‘Retailtainment’ Store In NYC To Glimpse The Brand’s Future – Forbes
- LEGO releases a buildable model of Adidas Originals Superstar – Geekspin
- Instagram Trap Off-Brand Lego ‘Brick Bar’ Pop-Up Coming to SF This Fall – SFist
- FAO Schwarz makes an iconic comeback in the Big Apple – RetailWire
- Reopen NYC: Iconic toy store FAO Schwarz reopens flagship location – ABC7NY
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think now is the time for a brand like Lego to open up an experiential flagship and does the current retail landscape still lend itself to this type of play-heavy retail — for kids or adults? Do you see an experiential strategy like the one Lego has planned for NYC working throughout the U.S.?