Retail as media takes on new dimensions at Story, a store that is merchandised like a magazine, reports Elizabeth A. Harris in The New York Times (3/15/14). Like a magazine, Story puts out a new "issue" every month or two, each with its own "story" (link) as well as products to support it. "A magazine tells stories between pictures and written words, and we do it through merchandising and events," says Story founder Rachel Shechtman. "And our version of publishing is sponsorship."
Major sponsors have indeed "paid tens of thousands of dollars to take part in one of the store’s singular themes." General Electric, for example, sponsored Story’s Making Things story, meaning that "much of the floor space was devoted to GE machines that customers could play around with, like 3-D printers and laser cutters." There were also some products to buy, but that wasn’t the point. As GE marketing chief Beth Comstock explains, the purpose is that it "gives people a good experience."
Benjamin Moore sponsored Color Story, offering "merchandise like colorful wireless speakers, bright cashmere socks and lipstick." Home Depot is more tight-lipped about its Story plans, but marketing chief Trish Mueller thinks Story is a "revolutionary type of retail: ephemeral retail … The concept of product as content." Or, as Rachel observes: "When you look at the square footage certain brands occupy, and … the amount of time consumers spend in those spaces, why isn’t that a media channel?