The Skypad retail intelligence platform powers the new interactive Open Sesame map.

Sky I.T. Group, the provider of retail intelligence platform Skypad, has launched a new interactive map showcasing which department stores have reopened in the U.S. and their locations, the company said Monday. 

“We built OpenSesame for a couple of reasons. One reason was just to make everybody feel good that the world is opening up again,” Jay Hakami, chief executive officer of Sky I.T. Group, told WWD. “We’ve been speaking to many of the brands, and one thing that they’ve said is, ‘We don’t know which stores are opening, when they’re opening and how they’re opening.’ And we said, ‘Wait a second, let us see if we can come up with something.’”

Skypad already had the necessary fundamentals in place.

According to the 15-year-old firm, its core platform caters to 72 percent of the world’s luxury fashion brands — including Fendi, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch and Celine, among others — providing insights on sell-through data from major department stores. The retail list features names including Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Dillard’s, as well as other multibrand retailers such as Sephora and Ulta. 

With all that data moving through the platform, the company can see which physical stores and locations are open and which ones remain dormant. From there, it’s a matter of representing the doors geographically. The firm used the Google Maps API for its state-by-state interactive map, which can drill all the way down to street level. What’s immediately noticeable is the empty space over the Northeast — which is logical, considering the region hasn’t reopened for retail yet. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, a key coronavirus epicenter, said Monday that a phased reopening could commence sometime in the first half of June.

An animated look at the Open Sesame map.  Courtesy image

As for the rest of the map, Hakami believes it covers the vast majority of department stores, upward of 75 percent. And by the end of the week, he said, the coverage could surpass 90 percent, particularly as restrictions lift and more stores return to operation. 

Already the demand has been large, Hakami said, with thousands consulting the map within hours. That’s no surprise — patchwork policies from state and local officials across the country have complicated matters, with different degrees of operation varying from total closures to full reopenings and, in some places, a middle ground of curbside pickup. For now, the map doesn’t feature store policies or other details, but the company is fielding numerous requests for that, so it’s mulling over ways to improve the map. 

For now, Hakami’s glad if brands, and even consumers, just find the baseline map useful. But he also hopes it becomes obsolete. “Someone asked me, ‘How long are you looking to have this map up?’” he said. “Obviously, we would like this to be used while the stores are reopening.

“But we’ll be more than happy to take it down, once U.S. retail opens up.”