retail
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“It’s a tough time to be an old-school retail company. This past summer, I was walking around Chicago with a realtor. We were looking for popup spaces in Lincoln Park for Ministry of Supply, and she pointed out an American Apparel. “They’re not doing well,” she whispered. “That space may become available.” Six months later, Warby Parker moved in.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Startups

NRF

Image source: https://nrf.com

Not ones to leave room for misinterpretation, NRF’s Annual Expo and Convention earned the nickname “Retail’s BIG show” some years ago – and yes, it’s sprawling enough to be quite difficult to summarise in the space of an article. A leading flagship event in the industry, the four-day event took place in New York just last week. For those of us who couldn’t make it, here’s our rundown of the top emerging retail trends set to disrupt the in-store/on-line shopping experience in a big way in 2015.

Interactive mirrors

Intel’s interactive MemoMi MemoryMirror was an undoubted star of NRF. A digital mirror designed for changing rooms, it captures and augments the experience of trying on clothing: including 360-degree views, comparisons of what you’ve tried on so far and virtual garment changes. The omni-channel MemoryMirror is already in place at Neiman Marcus, where it has prompted increased customer loyalty and boosted sales. On the flip side, more interaction means more valuable information can be converted: turning the anonymous customer into a fully connected one. But don’t worry – we don’t think the mirror can tell whether you’re the most beautiful of all just yet.

The digital wallet

Will collaborations between big tech companies and retailers convince us to ditch our metal and plastic in 2015? Digital wallets – that is, payment methods that use any connected device such as your smartphone – are designed for two reasons: to allow consumers to shop not only more quickly, but (arguably) more securely. In-store, contactless payment terminals make transactions speedier, whilst at home it can also facilitate online shopping as it stores payment details. In a panel discussion dedicated to the subject, speakers agreed that making the transaction easier will inevitably win over customers – as those speaking were Maria Thomas (of SmartThings) and Lisa Gavales (CEO of Things Remembered), however, their vested interest in proclaiming the dawn of the digital wallet was pretty evident.

Crowdsourced clothes

Are customers the new designers? In the age of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, allowing customers input into the process of bringing a product to the point of sale could be the key to not only engaging customers, but also shaking up a manufacturing process that hasn’t caught up with the digital generation. One of NRF’s most popular talks was given by Jane Park, CEO of award winning website Julep: a beauty brand that uses crowdsourced feedback and technological innovation to produce and launch 300 new products each year. One case in point is the brand’s Plié Wand nail polish applicator, for which 6000 customers pledged $75,000 toward developing the product – and that’s within a mere 24 hours.

 Even faster delivery

The rise of click-and-collect has been one of the biggest success stories for retailers this season: take John Lewis, whose Click and Collect service overtook its home delivery and helped online sales grow 19% over the Christmas period. New delivery concepts were on the agenda at NRF, however – for example, VP of corporate strategy at Cole Haan Kyle Gallery spoke about the brand’s efforts in trying out new delivery innovations. Its partnership with Uber Rush – offering New Yorkers $10 same day delivery on online purchases in September – was immensely successful, with customers receiving their goods within the hour. Overall, NRF showed that the next step for faster delivery won’t be drones, but rather, somewhere in the middle. Wipro’s drone caught eyes at the Exhibition Hall, but its Wipro Sight System provides shelf space analysis in the warehouse space as opposed to delivering your new shoes to your front door.

Reported by: Claire Healy

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“Competition is fiercer than ever in the retail industry as brands compete for customer loyalty and share of wallet. According to James Farnell, international direction of the Retail Design Institute, during a panel presentation Hot New Brand Concepts at NRF ’15, “The ultimate differentiator is experience. Experiences are what forge meaningful connections between shoppers and their brands.””

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  NRF 2015


Image source: http://www.coach.com/online/handbags/Home-10551-10051-en

The homepage, according to popular belief, died sometime in the summer of 2014.

At its funeral, the bell that tolled most deafeningly was the leaked New York Times innovation report: homepage traffic had fallen by a whopping 50% in recent years. But its not just news brands that have hastened to alternative traffic sources; fashion brands informed that user engagement now occurs predominantly through “side doors”, and have flocked to maintain an omni-social approach: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest are supposedly the only platforms their customers care about.

Right? Wrong – at least when it comes to luxury fashion retail. In fact, a rising trend of customers “researching online, purchasing offline” – dubbed ROPO – is clear to see in customer engagement with luxury labels (emphasis on the ‘customer’, rather than the ‘user’). Whilst some fans may view the latest runway shows and lookbooks by indirect means, those who actually intend to buy, say, a Dior handbag, will want to research the brand ethos and product specifications thoroughly. Moreover, whilst he or she is there, they are likely to follow through with the purchase in one of two ways: within the same e-commerce destination, or in-store at a local retailor. Either way, a good-looking, intuitive homepage is key.

There is evidence to suggest that some established luxury brands, too quick to offload engagement paths to their social media channels, are falling behind when it comes to their own stand-alone site and e-commerce platform. In the sixth annual iteration of L2’s Fashion Digital IQ Index, released last month, 90 leading fashion labels have been assessed for their Digital IQ: a combination of not only their digital marketing on mobile and social media, but, crucially their own sites. Burberry, long a forerunner in the digitized retail stakes, is seen to fall to sixth place in the ranking, behind brands like Coach, Gucci and Tory Burch. This might not be so surprising, looking at uk.burberry.com: the brand’s mobile platform, in an ironic twist, feels older and less up-to-date simply because they got there first.

Alternatively, sites like Gucci and Coach are one-step ahead because their back-end digital optimization precisely suits the ROPO model: customers can order online and pick up in store, and the in-house digital system knows both what inventory is there and when and where it is needed. Digital interaction and technical competence shouldn’t just mean relying on NET-A-PORTER: when it comes to luxury purchasing, a strong, defined environment in which customers can research (and fall in love) with their investments is essential to maintaining brand loyalty – as well as driving sales, even in the real world.

Reported by: Claire Healy

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“PSFK was privileged to have Courtney Lapin speak at our Future of Retail Event in San Francisco. As the Head of Retail Partnerships for Westfield Labs – the innovation arm of Westfield Malls – Lapin shared how new technologies in malls are helping online brands engage with customers in real world settings.”

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1-15-2015 9-54-12 AM
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“Between them, they’ve raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture funding. They’ve launched high-tech e-commerce platforms and Main Street brick-and-mortar stores. They’re turning media sites into customer bases, creating affordable bespoke and luxury products and making the historically murky retail supply chain more transparent.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Emily Weiss
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“Online retail sales increased 15% in November and December, comScore says today, ahead of the 14% the web tracking firm had predicted. Today’s estimate includes only purchases made on computers. When counting mobile devices, one analyst says the total growth will exceed 17%.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily
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“America’s most prominent technology firms have all built reputations for futuristic thinking through secret, ancillary Silicon Valley labs.”

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“The e-marketplace, which calls itself the Amazon of South Korea, just raised $300 million to grow beyond its $2 billion in annual sales. Founder and CEO Bom Kim discusses the keys to its success and what it plans to do with all that cash.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Coupang
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“With online sales up 17% and physical retail down 11%, it’s no wonder retailers large and small are increasingly living online. An alternative to simply shuttering the windows, though, is to experiment with new technologies to integrate the showroom, the storefront, and the web.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily
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