Alicia Fiorletta

Alicia Fiorletta

Inquisitive writer fascinated by all things mobile and social media. Loves covering consumer trends in apparel, cosmetics and luxury markets.

Alexa: Retail’s Next Friend…Or Foe?

0aAlicia Esposito G3“Alexa, what’s the weather like today?”

“Alexa, add coffee to my shopping list.”

“Alexa, play David Bowie.”

If you asked me a year ago, I would say that the mere idea of a small, voice-powered device orchestrating my day-to-day life and household would be ridiculous. When my husband initially proposed we order an Amazon Echo, the landmark product powered by the Alexa operating system, I was adamant in my response: “I’m a paper-and-pen gal, there’s no reason for it! Give me a compelling use case, and maybe I’ll buy in.”

Aptos Commits Millions To Launch Aptos Labs

00aptosAptos is doubling down on its commitment to retail innovation by making a multimillion-dollar investment in Aptos Labs — an innovation development team focused on helping retailers keep pace with rapid industry change.

During his opening remarks at the company’s annual Engage user conference in Hollywood, Fla., Aptos CEO Noel Goggin noted that retailers need to make innovation an ongoing business practice. “You can’t just innovate once and operate on muscle memory. That’s just not going to work anymore.”

eBags Boosts Conversions 20% With Innovative Tech Investments

Retailers in some product categories — like grocery — can still compete by offering everyday low prices. But for retailers offering apparel, accessories and other soft goods, they have to find other ways to differentiate. That’s because Amazon, Zappos and even Walmart and Target are offering consumers a one-stop-shop for diverse product assortments at competitive prices.

Shortly after joining eBags, a luggage and travel e-Tailer, CEO Mike Edwards realized the brand had to stand out in a new way. The category was far too entrenched, and if eBags tried to compete solely on price, the retail giants and disruptors would surely eat its lunch.

Engaging And Empowering The Modern Workforce

As retailers build out their omnichannel operations and engagement strategies, associates' to-do lists and necessary skill sets are growing dramatically. In this special Retail TouchPoints feature, industry analysts and experts illustrate how retailers can capitalize on the power of their greatest assets: their store associates.

$20 Billion Sharing Economy: Competitive Threat Or Opportunity?

What do Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit and Rent the Runway have in common? Despite being a diverse sample of businesses that serve and market to consumers in different ways, they have one characteristic connecting them all together: they were created to address the needs of the mobile-toting, on-demand consumer who is seeking more products and services, delivered in more flexible, affordable ways.

The rise of these and other disruptive organizations has ignited the sharing economy, which is set to reach $20 billion globally by 2020, according to predictions from Juniper Research.

“The sharing economy has aided in nurturing and developing the concept of ‘on demand’ through the provision of goods and services when consumers want them, to be ordered wherever they may be,” noted Lauren Foye, writer of the report Sharing Economy: Opportunities, Impacts And Disruptors, 2016-2020. “This has been particularly successful through the use of smartphones and other connected devices, which offer a seamless and efficient service in ordering goods, via apps.”

Salesforce Acquires Demandware For $2.8 Billion To Create ‘Another Billion Dollar Cloud’


  • Salesforce will provide a tender offer for all outstanding Demandware shares for $75 per share in cash. The deal is worth approximately $2.8 billion.
  • With the acquisition, Salesforce will go to market with the Salesforce Commerce Cloud, which will play an “integral part” in the Salesforce Customer Success Platform.
  • The deal will position Salesforce to “lead the multi-billion dollar commerce market” and will be a “huge growth lever for our business as we look to grow to $10 billion, $20 billion and beyond,” according to Keith Block, Vice Chairman, President and COO of Salesforce.

11 Retailers Honored As Social Media Mavens

The past year has been an interesting one for social media users and marketers. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have unveiled new advertising offers and capabilities, while networks like Snapchat have established successful partnerships with brands and publishers.

The 11 winners of this year's Social Media Maven Awards include the brands and retailers on the bleeding edge of new moves and innovations, constantly testing the limits with their engagement, marketing and service strategies. Brands spotlighted span retail categories, from quick-serve restaurants to convenience stores, jewelry brands and even mattress companies, and they vary in employee count, business structure and annual revenue.

Regardless of their size and stature, we believe the 2016 Social Media Maven Award winners will offer some great inspiration as you continue to refine your social media strategies.

This year's winners are (in alphabetical order):

  • Adore Me
  • BaubleBar
  • Casper
  • Craftsman Tools
  • Dogeared
  • eBags
  • Kum & Go
  • Lovesac
  • REVOLVEclothing
  • Sperry
  • Taco Bell

Complete the form to access the 2016 Social Media Maven Awards!


What Retailers Can Learn From Netflix In 5 Easy Lessons

Since its inception in 1997, Netflix has implemented a number of disruptive business practices and innovative approaches to customer experience. Its initial business model was simple enough: Offer consumers seamless access to online movie rentals.

Over the next three years, Netflix quickly evolved to include a comprehensive subscription service for unlimited DVDs, online streaming and, eventually, a personalized recommendation system that delivers movie titles based on member ratings, behaviors and preferences. Netflix is one of several companies leading the on-demand economy, which can be defined as a series of commerce-based businesses and solutions designed to make life easier.

Lush ‘Merely Scratching The Surface’ Of Multi-Billion Dollar Cosmetics Market

Up to 81% of consumers are more likely to purchase from businesses that are active in philanthropic efforts year-round, according to research from Aflac. This data point rings especially true for Lush, a provider of organic and vegetarian handmade cosmetics. The brand and retailer has seen exceptional growth over the past three years, and shows no signs of slowing down.

During an intimate event at Bouley Botanical in New York City, Lush North America President & CEO Mark Wolverton shared new details regarding the brand’s success over the past year, and zeroed in on its plans for growth and innovation in 2016. Chief Operating Officer Andy McNevin and Brandi Halls, who is the Director of Brand Communications, joined Wolverton for the presentation.

Innovation Labs Help Retailers Keep Pace With Industry Shifts

innovation teamThe pace of change within the retail industry is accelerating and shows no signs of slowing down.

Some businesses are struggling to keep pace with new consumer trends and other disruptive forces. In fact, 45% of retailers say consumers' purchasing behaviors are extremely unpredictable, albeit important to understand, according to Retail Systems Research (RSR).

"How, when and where people shop has changed, and retailers need to shift how they think about the overall shopping experience to meet consumer expectations and demands," said Kevin McKenzie, Global Chief Digital Officer at Westfield Labs, the innovation lab for mall operator Westfield. "As we continue to see the physical and digital worlds blend, the focus of retail is going to become more about creating fully immersive shopping experiences that start at the point of consumer inspiration and need.