McKinsey opened a brick-and-mortar store to test retail technology, but the simulation is far from reality.

WHAT HAPPENED: McKinsey opened a 3,000 square foot retail store named the Modern Retail Collective in the Mall of America. The year-long initiative will test a rotating slate of new technology from RetailNext, Zebra Technologies and Microsoft. The first brands the store will carry include Kendra Scott, ThirdLove, Type:A and Elevé Cosmetics.


  • McKinsey isn’t implementing the right criteria to adequately assess consumer behavior. Modern Retail Collective features everything but the kitchen sink, which makes it challenging to understand consumer behavior. This setting will likely overwhelm shoppers and the numerous variables will cannibalize each other, which will taint the results. Conducting the same experiment with a more limited group of variables and a diverse range of retail locations across the country would provide better results.
  • Collaborating with one brand versus multiple would also improve the validity of the research. It would have been better for McKinsey to work with a single brand, which brings with it a refined customer base. This would allow it to focus on new technology and services for one audience, versus averaging many and diluting the results. With multiple brands under one roof, there are bound to be contrasting demographics who are looking for very different in-store experiences.