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Mobile technology. Digital innovations. Social Commerce. These and many other trends are constantly being changed and being updated with new solutions, services and strategies. Retail TouchPoints editors stay on top of the latest activities and announcements, and bring you fresh perspectives on the hottest trends affecting the marketplace. Check back regularly for the latest new perspectives.

Exclusive Chris Walton Q&A: 4 Technologies That Target Retail Pain Points

During his 20 years in retail, Chris Walton has grown adept at combining a long-term, high-level view with a sharp focus on everyday practical business realities. As Vice President of Merchandising for Home Furnishings at Target.com, he oversaw Target’s first integrated store and digital merchandising and product development teams. Then he led Target’s Store of the Future initiative, eventually managing a team of 30+ people and a multi-million-dollar budget. Now Walton shares the insights he’s gleaned as CEO of the Third Haus retail tech lab and the Omni Talk blog, and he will be speaking at Retail TouchPoints Live! @RetailX in Chicago, June 25-26.

#RIC19 Showcases Innovative Technology Solutions

The 20 sponsors of the 2019 Retail Innovation Conference offer services and solutions designed to address retailers’ biggest current challenges, including: enhancing loyalty via customer engagement; leveraging bots and social messaging to improve CX; migrating technology smoothly and cost-effectively to the cloud; and creating more compelling, immersive store environments. Following is a roundup of the sponsors’ offerings, organized into four categories: Analytics/Data Management; Marketing And Loyalty; Retail Operations; and Store Operations.

Exclusive Q&A: ‘No Longer Sufficient’ To Market To An Anonymous Customer Base

Despite their name, customer loyalty programs are not really about instilling loyalty. A more accurate name might be customer data-gathering mechanisms (really rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?). It may not sound pretty, but loyalty — meaning more shopper visits and increased spend — are essentially happy by-products of a successful program, not its primary goal. One of the first retailers to recognize the value of gathering customer data that could be tied to individual shopper activity was Tesco. Today, retailers can access multiple sources of customer data, from online activity and social networks to smartphone tracking. However, back in the 1990s when the Tesco Clubcard was born, the state-of-the-art method for data gathering was a loyalty program, or a loyalty scheme as they are called in the UK.

#RIC19: What Next-Gen Retail CEOs Can Learn From Macy’s Innovation Formula

Top photo: 3DEN space in Hudson Yards Right photo: Parinda Muley, VP of Innovation and Business Development at Macy's The 2019 Retail Innovation Conference featured an intriguing duality within today’s retail landscape, showcasing new companies that have been setting up unconventional physical spaces alongside traditional retailers doing everything they can to bring their brick-and-mortar experiences up to speed. Two sessions captured this dynamic perfectly: the closing panel moderated by b8ta CEO Vibhu Norby, and a presentation from Parinda Muley, VP of Innovation and Business Development at Macy’s. The event’s closing panel discussion, titled: CEO Exchange: New Ways to Succeed In Physical Retail, featured CEOs of three growing startup businesses (3DEN, Batch and Iris Nova) sharing the stories of their Hudson Yards locations and revealing how they have carved out their experiences. Muley’s presentation highlighted four key ingredients that the department store has adopted to change its formula: 1. Ensure top leadership, engagement and support; 2. Build a dedicated team; 3. Create a balance of tradition and disruption; and 4. Understand customer behavior.

#RIC19: Income Shapes Millennials’ Behavior More Than Age

Kasey Lobaugh, Deloitte It’s a convenient form of demographic shorthand to lump together all Millennials as a single coherent customer segment, but retailers would do better to focus on how much money these shoppers have versus how old they are, according to new research from Deloitte. “Millennials are a generational cohort but they are not a behavioral one,” said Kasey Lobaugh, Principal and Chief Retail Innovation Officer at Deloitte. “People behave more like their income than they do their age.” Lobaugh led a panel discussion, titled: The Consumer Is Changing, But Perhaps Not How You Think at the 2019 Retail Innovation Conference. He began with a preview of Deloitte research that applied an economic and behavioral lens to Millennials, and to shoppers in general. “The ‘noise’ in the industry is that customers are not spending on products in favor of services and experiences, that they are no longer loyal, and that they are time-starved,” said Lobaugh. While these descriptions may fit high-income Millennials in urban areas, “there are a whole bunch of consumers that are different from the Millennials living in New York City,” he noted.

#RIC19: Quick Quotes From The Retail Innovation Conference

The fifth annual Retail Innovation Conference is now in the books, and Retail TouchPoints will be providing complete coverage of the Store Tours, sessions, sponsors and more during the coming days. But to start, the RTP editorial team wanted to provide a rapid-fire recap of some of the smartest quotes from the 50+ speakers who informed, provoked and entertained the attendees at New York City’s Convene May 6-8. Relevantly Reaching Today’s Consumer "Consistency and spontaneity drive brand love." — Jeff Fromm, President, FutureCast

#RIC19: 5 Steps To Success In An Economy Where ‘Impatience Is A Virtue’

How can retailers succeed in a world where “technology that can put us in the center of everything” is creating consumers who are “accidental narcissists,” as Altimeter Group Principal Analyst Brian Solis calls them (us)? One important way is to stop mistaking iteration for innovation, Solis revealed during his keynote presentation at the 2019 Retail Innovation Conference in New York City. “Iteration is doing the same things we did before, but better,” said Solis. “That can include using AI, putting beacons in retail stores, etc. Innovation is doing new things that introduce new value, the way that Uber and Lyft changed transportation. The combination of both iteration and innovation is disruption — doing new things that make the old ones obsolete. PayPal has an iteration group, an innovation group and a third group designed to put the first two groups out of business. The thinking is that if they can do this internally, they can circumvent their competitors from doing it to them.”

Despite Hype, 60% Of Shoppers Still Haven’t Experienced VR/AR Technologies In-Store

Although 46% of retailers say they plan to deploy AR or VR solutions by 2020, it appears that real-world deployment of these technologies remains low — at least in the eyes of the consumer. More than 60% of shoppers have yet to encounter VR or AR applications in-store, according to a report from Periscope By McKinsey. When it comes to practical applications for VR/AR technologies, shoppers say they are most likely to use them if they provided additional product information. French shoppers led the way at 65%, followed by the U.S. (62%), the UK (57%) and Germany (54%).

Second-Hand Luxury Goods: Not An Oxymoron But A $6 Billion Opportunity

The concepts of luxury retailing and resale don’t traditionally go hand in hand. Luxury is often defined by a sense of exclusivity and brand equity that attracts a more affluent crowd, while resale has been seen as “the masses” seeking out random merchandise at a low price. But it appears that the two worlds are intersecting more than one would think: the second-hand luxury market is expected to grow to nearly 9% of all luxury sales by 2020, according to data from Berenberg. The U.S. luxury resale market totaled $6 billion in 2018, according to Bain & Co. Pricing definitely has influenced this market’s growth; secondary market items typically sell anywhere for 30% to 90% less than the retail price of similar new items. As the market continues to grow, the time is now for luxury brands to decide whether they should scale up their own resale strategy, especially given that: Second-hand sales can support demand for first-hand products in the long term; More top competitors, such as Neiman Marcus, Farfetch and Richemont, are jumping on to the resale bandwagon; and Entry into luxury resale can be challenging and require careful planning, especially if retailers aren’t prepared for the random…

#RIC19: Panels Spotlight The Benefits Of Fostering Women Leaders

The retail industry is increasingly prioritizing diversity in the executive suite — especially as the benefits of doing so become better known. Global leadership company DDI found that organizations with women holding at least 30% of leadership roles are 1.4X more likely to have sustained, profitable growth. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to make true diversity a reality — and education plays a critical role. During the 2019 Retail Innovation Conference, May 6-8, two targeted panels will focus on the accomplishments and lessons of female leaders, and will offer insights into how retailers can support women leaders in their own organizations and beyond.

Exclusive Q&A With Grove Collaborative CEO: Building A Brand With A Foundation Of Conscientious Consumers

In this exclusive Q&A, Grove Collaborative CEO Stuart Landesberg talks about the product development, marketing and culture that has propelled the home care retailer focused on consumers’ health and wellness priorities. Retail TouchPoints (RTP): Can you fill us in on the background of Grove Collaborative? Stuart Landesberg: I’ll start with me and my background…I always cared a lot about sustainability. As a kid I thought Seventh Generation was the biggest company in the world and it was my dream job to work there. As I started my career and got to know the CPG space better, I came to see that what was available to consumers at brick-and-mortar was not necessarily consistent with consumer values. In fact, about 70% of shoppers in the U.S. today prefer conscientious products. So, we started Grove…we think of our place in the market as converting folks who have been buying conventional products but want to make a better choice for their families and the environment. We started with excellent third-party partners, then launched our own brands as well.

#CCS19 Webinar Series Provides Playbook For Reinventing Retail

Top executives from retailers including City Gear, Aldo, Under Armour and GNC, along with industry experts from BRP Consulting, Retail Prophet Capgemini and HRC Advisory Services, shared their insights into how retailers can reinvent themselves to provide frictionless experiences in any channel consumers choose. The numerous hot-button topic areas covered during the webinar sessions included the last mile, BOPIS, experiential retail, leveraging location data and empowering front-line employees. Following are brief recaps of the 2019 Connected Consumer Series webinars, which are now available on demand.

#RIC19: Nicole Miller Unveils Secrets To Brand Longevity

Remaining top-of-mind for more than three decades in the fickle world of fashion requires a rare combination of abilities. Designers need to stay true to themselves and their brand, while also frequently reinventing themselves. They must maintain their products’ quality, even as they expand their portfolio. Since opening her first store on Madison Avenue in 1986, Nicole Miller has become a mainstay in the fashion world and an inspiration for brands striving to stay relevant as consumer behaviors and preferences evolve. Attendees will be able to get up close and personal with Miller when she takes the stage during the 5th annual Retail Innovation Conference, which will be held May 6-8 in New York City. Dan Hodges, CEO of Consumers in Motion, will interview Miller during an intimate fireside chat, where they will discuss her most notable career milestones and her perspectives on the disruptive retail climate.

Nicole Miller, Walmart, Hershey Execs Set To Speak At #RIC19

More than 50 retail leaders, consultants and industry experts are set to speak at the 5th annual Retail Innovation Conference (#RIC19), May 6-8 in New York City. The most recent additions to the lineup include: Nicole Miller, Founder, Nicole Miller; Parinda Muley, VP of Innovation, Macy’s; Tony Southard, Digital Commerce Director, The Hershey Company; Farah Maloof, Strategic Partnership Director, Walmart E-Commerce; Michael Cairnes, President and COO, Kirkland’s; and Diana Ganz and Jeanne Foley, Co-Founders, The Groomsman Suit. Here’s a quick overview of those sessions:

Can Subscription Retail Solve Its Customer Retention Problem?

When it comes to subscription retail, the cross-currents are intense. Big retailers have either pulled out, as JCPenney did in February when it ended its Bombfell subscription apparel business, or they’ve gone all in. Look at American Eagle. While other apparel retailers have launched fairly standard box models, AE took the industry by surprise in February with a new model: Rent anything you want for $49.95 a month. And if you don’t like it, send it back. And if you want it laundered, send that too. Even with these contradictions, there’s no argument that subscription retail remains one of the industry’s most compelling growth areas. Its opportunities are only now being tapped, and its problems — mostly concerning customer retention — are just now being reckoned with. This article will track the growth of the subscription retail business and its current problems, including:
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