omni-channel

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - NRF retail
Image source: NRF

Mobile payments were the hot topic of last year’s National Retail Federation Big Show. Although NFC was still a buzzword at this year’s event, other issues – like omni-channel retailing and the increased spending power of millennials – came into play. We’ve analysed some of the emerging trends.

Swapping Virtual Reality for Reality

With last year’s raft of news stories explaining that millennials are more interested in purchasing experiences than material objects, it has become paramount for retailers to keep their customers engaged. In an increasingly tech-driven retail landscape, GoInStore’s technology gives in-store salespeople the opportunity to speak to online shoppers in need of assistance.

An in-store salesperson can wear a pair of GoInStore glasses, created by Epson, to allow an online customer to see items from the salesperson’s point of view. This could be a game changer for companies selling high-ticket items like designer goods, or indeed any items that are best seen ‘in the flesh’ before purchasing.

Augmented Reality Provides a Solution for Time-Poor Retailers

Earlier this month, advisory firm Digi-Capital forecast augmented reality (AR) revenue to hit $120bn by 2020. Unsurprisingly then, the trend for AR-enabled technology continued to shine through at NRF.

During a panel on AR, James Ingram, CEO of production company Splashlight, spoke of its benefits for fashion retail, commenting: “You can’t compete without personalisation.” Splashlight works with Looklet, a clever piece of tech that allows e-tailers to shoot one image of a model and then virtually ‘change’ their clothes with the brand’s newest lines – a perfect solution for today’s fast fashion landscape, which usually requires retailers to constantly photograph new product.

Mobile Devices are More Important Than Ever

The results of a survey into consumers’ mobile shopping habits, commissioned by the Economist Intelligence Unit, were revealed at NRF. Findings showed 69% of respondents use either smartphones or desktops for shopping but, crucially, 81% of millennials claimed to primarily use their smartphones to make online purchases. So, as long as the spending power of millennials is on the rise, it would be wise for retailers to think hard about the capabilities of their mobile apps or sites.

Mobile devices could also shake things up on the shop floor. Diebold has created a new technology that allows consumers to use their mobiles to scan items they wish to purchase while shopping in-store. They can then pay for the goods by simply tapping their phone on a self-checkout unit, alleviating the need to queue.

Retailers Need Exceptional In-Store Experiences

As tech becomes more powerful and relevant to today’s retail landscape, this year’s NRF really drove home the fact that bricks-and-mortar retailers need to offer exceptional in-store experiences in order to survive.

One example of a brand getting it right is Burberry, which, for several years, has integrated its extensive e-tail offerings with its ‘offline’ retail experience. In-store, staff use iPads to showcase products and profile customers, while LED screens stream recent footage from the Burberry runway.

At the other end of the market, a great deal of high-street giant Zara’s success can be put down to its speedy supply chain. The Inditex Group brand adds new lines every fortnight – comparably faster than its competitors – encouraging shoppers to return. Robin Lewis, CEO of the Robin Report, told Retail Dive: “Consumers can’t wait to go to [a Zara] store to see the new lines… Zara’s visitation rate is 17 times a year vs 4 for traditional retailers because [customers] don’t want to miss the nuance of that. That is a form of experience.”

So, what is the store of the future? Join us at SXSW in March as we explore this topic and many more. See more details here.

Reported by Grace Howard

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Liberty London Department Store

Image source: LDN Fashion

People only buy expensive things once they’ve done their research online, right? Well according to new findings from research and advisory firm the Luxury Institute, wealthy shoppers still want their shopping experience to be firmly ensconced in the physical world.

As reported by Bloomberg Business, a survey of 1,600 men and women who earn at least $150,000 a year found that the majority prefer to go to shops first, browse items up-close and in person, and receive expert advice from the salesperson. The report goes against the ‘Compare the Market’ myth pervading attitudes in luxury retail – something that has led to retail brands placing less importance on the customer service shoppers receive in-store.

One place where the customer is (still) always right, however, is the traditional department store. Here’s our rundown of the department stores whose forays into new retail technologies are designed to straddle the offline and online worlds with ease – and are championing the kind of multichannel models that will keep affluent shoppers in their ideal comfort zone

Liberty, London

Department stores don’t get much more traditional than the Tudor-style enclaves of Liberty. The store was set up in 1875 with just three dedicated staff and a focus on Eastern furnishings. But fast forward to 2015, and the company has been laying the foundations for an omni-channel strategy that it says is both “functional and fun”. Always careful not to alienate its core customer – who appreciates the in-store experience and the brand’s pared-back marketing compared to its competitors – Liberty has nevertheless launched new technologies in line with how people are really shopping.

A traditional loyalty scheme has gone mobile via the Tapestry app, which adds Instagram into the equation of the usual points and perks – you can browse your favourite brands, and save an item when you see something you like into your “Tapestry.” Then, you can see where it’s located in-store. Moreover, when you want to redeem your points, in-store sales associates will scan phones as well as the usual cards. The scheme allows Liberty’s core customer base to choose whether to sync their existing loyalty card with the app, while attracting new customers through its fun take on utility and bespoke perks.

El Corte Inglés, Spain & Portugal

Founded in 1940, Spanish retail powerhouse El Corte Inglés is Europe’s biggest department store group. It is also one of the most traditional, selling luxury designer clothing alongside electronics, furniture, books, cars, real estate and food. Rather than targeting the entire business, the company is using new retail technologies to optimise particular aspects. This month, for example, it announced it will be launching a mobile shopping platform in its Portuguese market with technology company Grability, following the launch in its home market of Spain last December. Focusing on grocery shopping, the app offers El Corte Inglés customers an intuitive mobile shopping experience that, according to the company, has resulted in marked enthusiasm for the new platform and boosted sales.

Nordstrom, USA

As Lauren Sherman wrote in her report on the Great American Department Store for Fashionista in April, “the role of department stores is changing, and only those willing to recognise the need to transform will survive”. In an era of struggle, some stores are faring better at moving on from mid-20th century models than others.

Nordstrom, based in Seattle, is spending big on technology, warehouses and acquiring businesses like e-commerce site Trunk Club. At the same time, however, it is putting its reputation for great customer service to good use in the age of e-commerce. It takes risks with brands rather than veering towards the conservative, and ex-Opening Ceremony hire Olivia Kim creates monthly shop-in-shops, dubbed Pop-in @ Nordstrom. Schemes like this show how Nordstrom is capitalising on a younger customer’s desire for newness offline, as well as online.

Reported by Claire Healy

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“No retailers in Europe are able to deliver a complete omni-channel experience and they all have to work a lot harder on in-store, mobile and delivery offerings to come close, warns a pan-European omni-channel capability study carried out by IBM.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Europe Omni-Channel

Paris Launch

After touching down for all of 8 hrs after SXSW, we hopped on the Eurostar to continue our European Meetup tour! First stop Paris, with the support of our local host Celine Lippi, Co-Founder of Fashion Capital Partners. With a full house at the newly opened Le Numa, it was time to discuss the ins and outs of the ever growing omni-channel.

Kicking off with an opening keynote from Google‘s Pauline Butor who told us an astonishing five billion queries regarding fashion and beauty are made through Google every month! She went on to demonstrate the vast amount of Google tools available to fashion brands, that can help them gather data and create content. Talking us through last years hugely successful Topshop Fashion Week campaign, which used live hangouts to create another layer of content and a live view of a model’s runway walk.

Next both iVentures Consulting and DemandWare discussed how to improve customer experience, with the connection between both physical and digital stores. iVentures Consulting gave us a preview of their eShopper Index, which brands came up top digitally? The top 5 included Zalando, Zappos, Amazon, NET-A-PORTER and Gap.

Fusalp, Vilebrequin & l’Exception debated best practices; rethinking retail with smart shopping experiences, digital windows and customer touchpoints, with a gentle reminder that at the heart of all these tech innovations still remains the physical product and of course the consumer!

The evening closed with 3 startup pitches; Shop’n’Brag, a mobile shopping app that seems to do just about everything, with augmented reality features and deal finders rolled into one; HappyBeacon, allowing retailers to interact directly with the consumer through push notifications and our final startup Bodi.me, joining the fight against returns by letting the consumer try on clothes virtually.

For all the photos from the evening, head over here and Paris, we cannot wait to return in June!

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