Did a Publisher Just Build the Future of Retail?

What New York magazine opening a brick-and-mortar store tells us about the new media business model

Mike Mallazzo

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Photos: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for New York Magazine

Probably like many men in long-term relationships, I spent Christmas Eve hopelessly meandering through U.S. retailers, trying to find a solidly adequate gift for my fiance. Maxed out on giving jewelry or vacations that I secretly wanted to go on, my travels brought me to the storefronts of Soho in New York City, brimming with the real-life presences of beloved digital brands such as Allbirds, Warby Parker, and Untuckit.

Amid the usual holiday glitz and glamour, there were really only two interesting ideas: Amazon 4-star, and a holiday pop-up by the Strategist, the commerce arm of New York magazine. Both stores are unique in that they are merchandised entirely based on product reviews written on the internet. Each beckoned to me by promising to solve the paradox of choice that cripples my feeble attempts at consumerism.

As a hopeless shopper, the idea of a store telling me what to buy is my personal American dream. I can (somewhat) easily run 10+ miles, yet five minutes after walking into a mall, my feet are always in searing pain. If forced to choose between the fifth level of Dante’s Inferno and the bedding aisle at Kohl’s, send me into the fire.

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Mike Mallazzo

Drinking gin and writing about the future of media and commerce.