The retail landscape in Los Angeles is as shape-shifting as its star residents. Department stores and independent boutiques are adapting to the new digitized consumer lifestyle by transforming into playful, interactive, tech-infused spaces that offer shoppers the perfect escape from the city grind. Here are some of the best experiential stores in LA:
Gentle Monster (816 S Broadway)
The downtown LA outpost of South Korean luxury eyewear brand Gentle Monster is the perfect mix of art, fashion and zen. Inspired by “the spirit, emotions and oriental traditions associated with harvesting,” the Gentle Monster store features decor reminiscent of paddy fields, as well as “kinetic installations” and unique art objects with finishes of marble, metal and mother-of-pearl. The objective? To take visitors “on a journey through the stages of harvest.”
Samsung Experience (The Americana at Brand, 889 Americana Way)
Opened in February 2019, the Samsung store at the Americana at Brand shopping complex in Glendale is one of the handful of Experience stores from the South Korean electronics giant. Visitors to the new Experience stores can learn about and shop Galaxy smartphones, tablets, wearables, TVs and SmartThings devices, as well as enjoy a gaming lounge, get hands-on demonstrations from Samsung experts, and receive customer support at the Samsung Care bar (the brand’s answer to Apple’s Genius Bar). “We want to build a ‘playground’ for Samsung fans—a place to learn about and try out all of the amazing new products we have to offer,” stated YH Eom, the president and CEO of Samsung America.
Nike by Melrose (8552 Melrose Ave)
Opened in July of 2018, the Nike by Melrose store is the athletic footwear and apparel brand’s first members-only neighborhood shop that combines a “streamlined online experience with our most premium in-store service.” The store’s largest selection of products will change every two weeks and is unique to West Hollywood, powered by the trends inspiring its local residents. The back half of the store will feature items “365 favorites,” basically their bestsellers, items divorced from seasonality. One of the coolest in-store amenities is a digital locker – which looks and acts like a vending machine – that customers can access using QR codes to pick up shoes they purchased online. Other cool perks for members include complimentary tailoring services and SwooshText, a curbside pickup texting service that delivers your purchase to your car.
The Apartment by The Line (8463 Melrose Place)
The Apartment by The Line, located on tree-line Melrose Place in West Hollywood, bills itself as “a place of connection in a vast and sprawling city.” The store is designed as a home, showcasing The Line’s signature collection of luxury home, fashion, beauty and art objects with a focus on craftsmanship and versatility. The curated objects “gain new meaning and greater dimension through context and special events.” The immersive concept of the store helps shoppers get an intimate feel for the brand and better visualize their designs in their own homes.
Fred Segal (8500 Sunset Blvd)
Fred Segal Sunset is the iconic high-end, breezy apparel brand’s flagship store in Los Angeles. The store capitalizes on its over 21,000 square feet of space to host live music, designer trunk shows, fashion and beauty influencers, and exclusive product drops every week. “Really, almost everyone can find something,” John Frierson, president of Fred Segal, said. “Beyond that, it’s the fun of Fred Segal — to come in and hang out and have a good time and find joyful objects that you wouldn’t necessarily type into a search bar.” The store also boasts a concierge division with services ranging from personal shopping assistance and personalized deliveries to tailoring, gift baskets and reservation booking.
B8ta (395 Santa Monica Place)
Located in the Santa Monica Place shopping center, B8ta is a brick-and-mortar showroom that offers shoppers the opportunity to try out the latest tech gadgets that aren’t sold in traditional retail stores, including drones, smart home devices, and VR gear. Winner of the 2018 Shop! Awards’ “Store of the Year,” B8ta introduces new, under-the-radar tech (and some non-tech) gadgets to consumers who can provide feedback to makers before their launch and help build pre-launch buzz. B8ta’s vendor partners can access essential customer data like how much time customers interacted with their products on the floor, how they engaged with products online via the in-store iPads.
Warby Parker Green Room (8618 Melrose Ave)
The Warby Parker “Green Room,” located on Melrose Ave, is a Hollywood-themed store you may have already read about it in our 2017 roundup of Coolest Experiential Stores. A fun homage to LA’s iconic movie-making history, the eyewear brand’s Melrose outpost features a rotating movie marquee on its storefront, a large mural with vintage Hollywood imagery, and a wall of clapper boards. Its best known feature – and hence the store’s name – is the actual green room where customers can create and share mini videos with a dozen different fun backdrops – from an outer space scene to a shark-filled aquarium.