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Kate Spade Transforms a Construction Barricade Into an Interactive Shopping Experience

This is not your ordinary "under construction" facade.

For many store owners, construction barricades are like billboards: valuable real estate for advertising a store's opening date, and perhaps for blowing up a print ad or two. But Kate Spade thinks they can do more.

On October 24, Kate Spade will open its next store in the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. Last week, it transformed the barricade surrounding the construction site into an interactive shopping experience, complete with inset product displays and five touchscreens, arranged salon-style. Tap one of the screens, and you'll be prompted to take a short quiz to reveal your personality traits and style preferences. At the end, you'll receive your personal style statement (which might read, "She adores pretty things and witty words") and be asked to type in your phone number or email address to have that statement sent to you, so that you can share it on your social media accounts. Based on your answers, you'll also be shown a selection of products that you can tap to purchase with free next-day shipping. The entire site is available to shop from the touchscreens as well.

The initiative is similar to the pop-up storefronts Kate Spade set up for its Kate Spade Saturday brand in Manhattan last June, which allowed passersby to browse products shown in the window displays, place orders via iPad and have those orders delivered later that day through eBay Now.

"That was a situation where we were rolling out a new brand, which was predominantly [sold online], and to bring that e-commerce experience to a physical location," Mary Beech, the chief marketing officer of Kate Spade & Company, said in a phone interview with Fashionista on Friday. "[This time] we really needed to do new graphics because our boarding had become outdated." Beech reached out to retail innovation firm The Science Project after reading about some of the company's other work in the press. "They got the brand very quickly, and were able to come up with a solution," she said.

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Beech declined to say how much it cost to build the interactive barricade, but said it was worth investing in because, unlike your typical billboard facade, it allows Kate Spade "to have a dialogue with the customer" before the store even opens. The company can also collect a lot of data about those potential customers: Not only individual e-mail addresses and phone numbers, but also what products users are interacting with on the touchscreens. It's not a one-time investment either: By the end of this year, Kate Spade will have opened about 35 new stores, with more to come in 2015.