Wired store

High tech meets high design at Wired’s new summer shop for Los Angeles-area residents.

The Condé Nast-owned magazine is to hold an opening night, private event Tuesday just a day ahead of the store’s official opening to the public at Santa Monica Place. The store provides a number of demos across product categories ranging from fashion and home to entertainment and travel. The inventory in aggregate serves as a mix of both uber “smart” items and those that are well designed, explained Wired head of marketing Maya Draisin.

“I think we have a very gallery approach,” Draisin said of the store’s merchandising. “Our main focus has not historically been sales. It has been driving interest and awareness, which ultimately drive sales. We initially played off the trend of showrooming where people were wanting to see things in real life and then buying on the Internet.”

That will be the case with Hyundai Motor America Inc.’s luxury badge Genesis — the store’s presenting sponsor — which will have on-site demos of its G90, including the exclusive to show off the sedan’s recently unveiled Google Home Assistant feature. The overall point of the automaker being there is to showcase its use of technology, said Genesis general manager Erwin Raphael.

“We’re a young brand. We’re a new brand and there are a lot of people who aren’t aware of us as a brand and once they become aware of us, they fall in love,” Raphael said.

The store, open through Sept. 4, marks a return for Wired to Santa Monica Place. The company offered locals a kiosk at the shopping center for last holiday season and expanded on that concept with the store.

“I think we’re really intrigued by the growth of Silicon Beach in that area, which is clearly such a Wired thing and Wired audience,” Draisin said.

The Santa Monica temporary shop follows holiday stores in New York and a June announcement that Wired plans to open a permanent store at Newark Liberty International Airport by early 2018 in Terminal B.

“We’ve really been playing the last several years with this idea of phygital, where physical meets digital,” Draisin said. “Two years ago we took it all the way to its extreme with an interactive window in SoHo [in Manhattan]. I actually spent a lot of time just standing there and watching people react to that and really learned that while people enjoyed that, there was definitely a desire to go inside, especially with the kind of products we had, and so we then moved back to a scenario that allowed for that. But I do think that as we continue to be more screen-focused, there will always be a part of the audience that very much prefers to walk up and buy something without talking to a person.”

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