Retail benchmarking assesses the positives and negatives of a variety of retail stores. David Gore and Jake Knowles from BJSS recently benchmarked 30 stores in New York, looking through 3 lenses: branding, experience and digital. Find out what they liked, what they didn’t and what they learned.

This is the second part of my catch up with David and Jake. You can listen to part 1 in episode 27. 

Listen to part 1 of this conversation

So, in this episode, you’ll find out:

  • What were the digital trends in New York (and if they working).
  • How New York stores measure up against Europe as well as the Middle East.
  • What really delighted David Gore and Jake Knowles. 
  • Their key takeaway and advice from the store visits

David Gore

Introducing David Gore

David Gore is the Head of Retail at BJSS. Having previously worked for Aldi, M.H. Alshaya Co. and Capgemini, David brings experience from the UK and internationally. You can connect with David on LinkedIn or at


Introducing Jake Knowles

Jake Knowles is a Retail Management Consultant. He’s previously worked with Capgemini and is now at BJSS. You can connect with Jake on LinkedIn or by email:


Highlights from the best stores in New York

In the episode, Jake Knowles and David Gore share the findings from their retail benchmarking store visits. If you want to find out more, be sure to access the report at at for pictures, descriptions and the results of their scoring. 

Roman and Williams Guild had personalityRoman and Williams Guild - New York

Several retailers delivered well on their brand. Being clear on their personality, they could stamp down a clear brand experience. Roman and Williams Guild was one of these stores. 

The brand’s 7,000-foot flagship was definitely a unique standout across the stores we visited. Targeting hotels and restaurants, it’s predominately a high-end interior design destination. The deep, rich interior combined with good lighting, classic homewares merchandising and a balanced yet luxurious environment made for an inviting and surprisingly sensual space.

BJSS’s Concrete Comparisons report, 2019

B8ta shows the art of the possible from a digital perspective

B8ta technology concession in Macy'sB8ta (pronounced Beta) are a small concession in Macy’s. Plus, they are a great example of a new and innovative store.

They’re innovating with a “retail as a service” model. They sell tech products and have a very small range – only around 15 products – and suppliers pay for one of these exclusive spots. However, each product is displayed alongside a tablet which includes the product information and multimedia content. Customers can learn and interact with the products, especially potentially confusing technology products.

Whilst this is useful for customers, the benefits of these tablets don’t stop there. Meanwhile, B8ta are collecting data and insight from the tablets and what information customers browse. Then, (the paying) suppliers can see real-time feedback and can push content updates to the tablet. They can witness and react to customer shopping habits. 

To me, this feels like a coming together of the data rich, analytical side of online retail along with the touch and feel of offline retail. It feels exciting!

Nike’s New York Flagship misses the markNike House of Innovation - New York

Nike is often classed as one of the best in class for retail. However, the report shares some interesting insight based on how David and Jake found the store. 

Nike’s House of Innovation flagship can only be described as a multi-level, sensory overloaded tsunami. With a huge assortment of products and technology on show, every floor offers newer and more innovative concepts. But increasingly manic, bewildering and in-your-face marketing. Whilst the tech is smooth, convenient and fast, with the store really coming alive once you’ve accessed the app (QR codes used extensively to scan and equip the customer with info and Nike with your info), the whole experience actually detracts from the core purpose of retail; flogging gear.

BJSS’s Concrete Comparisons report, 2019

Have you been to the Nike House of Innovation? What did you think? Do you agree? Comment below or let me know on social media. You can find me on LinkedIn or on Twitter:

Oliver Banks on LinkedIn      @ollie_banks on Twitter

Converse customisation station from New YorkCustomising products with Converse 

The ability to customise and personalise products can generate excitement and give customers a reason to visit. Converse have looked to create a real experience and to make custom shoes.

The customisation workshop downstairs is the real show-stopper and a must for any retail geek. Head down to the lower floor, and you enter a fully customisable wonderland, where you’re able to design your own unique sneaker which takes 6 weeks to produce and costs around $250. Not cheap, but you’ll be fixed up and looking sharp.

BJSS’s Concrete Comparisons report, 2019


Get the New York retail benchmarking report

New York Store Report - Concrete ComparisonsBJSS are giving you their New York store report and it will help you understand more about the stores that they discuss in the podcast. Download a free copy now at

David Gore and Jake Knowles visits 30 of the best stores in New York. These visits include some of the big, famous brands as well as smaller, up and coming retailers. The report includes:

  • Who wins the race between Nike and Adidas?
  • Is Amazon’s 4 Star store the future of retail and how have they done moving online to offline?
  • Discover which retailer scored full marks across digital, experience and brand.

And now – get the London retail benchmarking report

London Store Report - The London CollectionPlus, you can now get the London report which is hot off the press. The BJSS team continue their journey, this time hitting the streets of London. Pick up your copy of the report at

Read the report and you’ll find out:

  • A detailed review of how the London and UK retail stores measure up against New York’s best stores.
  • Whether Amazon delivered with their Whole Foods store in Picadilly Circus. 
  • Which stores scored best and which have more work to do. 



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