Envisioning The Future of Retail

Executives from Publicis Groupe challenged a group of students from Parsons the New School for Design to imagine fearlessly.


From augmented and virtual reality to near field communications and personalization, new technologies are changing the retail experience. Publicis Groupe, in partnership with NYC Media Lab, challenged NYC faculty and students to imagine the retail experience of the future through design of a prototype. The project was led by David Berkowitz, Chief Marketing Officer of MRY, who pitched this challenge as an open call to the NYC university community at NYC Media Lab’s Annual Summit in 2014.

Parsons faculty member Bernardo Schorr, along with a roster of students from the MFA Design and Technology program, answered the call. The group began to explore possible themes that would inform this notion of “future retail,” spanning personalization, social media, narrative and immersive experiences, and tangible interactions. After a round of research and initial mockups of these themes, the Parsons students identified three areas of opportunity: (1) in-store navigation, (2) pop-up stores, and (3) virtual reality. The students segmented themselves into three teams to prototype each of these concepts.

As the teams began to shape the questions and concepts that would drive their projects, senior executives from MRY, DigitasLBi, VivaKi, and Razorfish met with them periodically to receive updates on their progress and to provide feedback.

NYC Media Lab exposed our Publicis Groupe agencies to talent, perspectives, and ideas we never would have had access to otherwise. We need to keep challenging ourselves to find new and creative approaches to address the challenges facing our clients’ businesses, and NYC Media Lab is an ideal partner for that.
— David Berkowitz, Chief Marketing Officer, MRY