Retail TouchPoints - Your Source For The Latest Retail News And Trends - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Tue, 18 Jun 2019 18:50:04 -0400 RTP en-gb Lululemon Enters Personal Care Market With 4 New Products Lululemon Enters Personal Care Market With 4 New Products

Lululemon is expanding beyond clothing and accessories with the launch of personal care products made in partnership with Sephora. The line includes dry shampoo, deodorant, face moisturizer and lip balm, with products available in both full and gym sizes.

The personal care products will initially be sold at,, 50 lululemon stores and select studio partners. The inclusion of Sephora will help lululemon reach new customers and allow the items to carry the Clean at Sephora seal, which certifies that they are free of ingredients like sulfates, parabens and phthalates.

By adding a personal care line, lululemon will be able to extend its presence into an adjacent category and build additional loyalty among shoppers in the healthy and active lifestyle category, according to Jonathan Treiber, CEO and Co-Founder of RevTrax. Additionally, consumer interest in private label personal care products is on the rise, and lululemon is well-positioned to capture some of that growth.

However, lululemon will need to ensure the quality remains top-notch to maintain its premium price point, according to Treiber. The lululemon brand as a whole could be harmed if shoppers find the personal care products inferior to less expensive brands, but the inclusion of Sephora may help mitigate that risk.

“Lululemon is engaging in a strategy to capture more consumer time and attention by offering products to enhance the pre- and post-workout experience,” said Treiber in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “The price points are high, but consistent with the overall lululemon value proposition of high quality without compromise.”

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Tue, 18 Jun 2019 14:24:22 -0400
Rothy’s Plans 5 New Stores To Build On Brick-And-Mortar Momentum Rothy’s Plans 5 New Stores To Build On Brick-And-Mortar Momentum

Rothy’s, a women’s shoe brand that uses recycled materials to make its products, is building on the success of its first brick-and-mortar store with plans for five new locations in 2019 and even more in 2020, according to CNBC. Shops will be located in New York City, Boston, and Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown as well as two in Los Angeles. The sites represent the retailer’s highest-penetrated markets by sales.

The retailer, which started in 2016 as an e-Commerce pure play, currently operates a 600-square-foot store in San Francisco. The store “paid for itself” and became profitable in under four months, paving the way for further expansion, according to the company.

Rothy’s sales topped $140 million in 2018. The company has since continued to grow, and March 2019 sales surpassed those in December 2018, according to Kerry Cooper, President and COO of Rothy’s.

Expanding the brand’s physical presence is a way to attract new shoppers — 65% of customers at the San Francisco store are new to the brand, according to Cooper. Additionally, because Rothy’s makes its shoes from recycled materials and keeps track of how many bottles it has used, greater visibility helps the brand draw interest from shoppers who appreciate its environmentally-conscious message.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Tue, 18 Jun 2019 13:14:23 -0400
Tulerie Adds Rent-To-Buy Option As Luxury Resale Market Grows Tulerie Adds Rent-To-Buy Option As Luxury Resale Market Grows

In its latest mobile app update, Tulerie, a peer-to-peer, invite-only fashion rental platform for women, debuted a rent-to-buy option that allows members to purchase pieces from other members, or to buy items after renting them.

Other new app features include:

  • Enhanced search filters to more precisely pinpoint what members are looking for when browsing (e.g. “after dark” and “warm-weather” looks); and
  • Location-based search for finding items that are within close proximity for quicker delivery (currently in beta testing in Manhattan).

The high-end fashion startup’s same-day messenger service is now available in Manhattan, and the company plans to expand this offering to other U.S. cities. Tulerie also is providing messenger service in the Hamptons for next-day delivery on select pieces through Labor Day.

Since Tulerie’s October 2018 launch as a luxury resale rental platform, co-founders Meri Smith and Violet Gross have strived to challenge the fast-fashion trend and provide more women with access to affordable luxury clothing.

The 2019 CB Insights Luxury Trends report emphasizes resale as a “necessary” trend that luxury companies should focus on in order to keep up with the constantly evolving fashion industry. The U.S. luxury resale market totaled $6 billion in 2018, according to Bain & Co. Pricing, and Berenberg projections estimate that resale could comprise 9% of the total luxury goods market by 2020.

Over the past three years, the overall resale market has grown 21X faster than the retail apparel market and is expected to reach $23 billion by 2023, according to the thredUP 2019 Resale Report.

]]> (Brianna Ruback) News Briefs Tue, 18 Jun 2019 12:07:22 -0400
Sam’s Club Cuts Tire Purchase Process From 30 Minutes To 5 Sam’s Club Cuts Tire Purchase Process From 30 Minutes To 5

The new Sam’s Garage app from Sam’s Club is designed to help shoppers cut the time needed to buy tires to five minutes, down from 30. The retailer is moving from multiple systems and paper catalogs to a single portal, with the program rolling out nationwide in July.

The app will run on mobile tablets and scan membership cards to pull up the shopper’s associated vehicles. The program also will let associates filter tire options based on the customer’s needs, letting them look for features such as “responsiveness,” “winter traction,” “wet road handling,” “off road” and “ride comfort.”

Sam’s Garage narrows down the selection as the process continues, with additional options based on factors including in-store availability, special offers, brand, load index, speed rating and mileage warranty. Once the tires are selected, shoppers can receive an estimate and place an order from inside the app.

The rollout of Sam’s Garage is part of a larger e-Commerce push across Walmart. Other initiatives include the introduction of subscription-based grocery delivery and InHome Delivery, which lets shoppers have items delivered inside their houses, even when they’re not at home.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Tue, 18 Jun 2019 12:02:37 -0400
Wayfair Dives Deeper Into Physical Waters With 4 More Pop-Up Stores Wayfair Dives Deeper Into Physical Waters With 4 More Pop-Up Stores

Wayfair is continuing to experiment with pop-up stores as it prepares to open its first full-service store in Massachusetts this fall. The digital home furnishings retailer will launch the Wayfair Decor & Inspiration Shop in four pop-up locations on August 1 at:

  • Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill.;
  • Streets at Southpoint in Durham, N.C.;
  • King of Prussia in King of Prussia, Pa.; and
  • Tysons Corner Center in Fairfax, Va.

The pop-ups will remain open for three months.

For the 2018 holiday season, Wayfair operated a pop-up shop in Natick, Mass., where its permanent store will be located, as well as one at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. Additionally, Wayfair operates an outlet store connected to its Florence, Ky. warehouse.

The pop-ups will include more than 250 budget-friendly and eclectic decor items, according to Courtney Lawrie, Director of Brand Marketing of Wayfair. Merchandise includes living room wall art, throw pillows and candles; end-of-summer lounging items; seasonal kitchen elements for hosting Sunday night football to Thanksgiving; and bed and bath essentials.

Product selection will be refreshed throughout the pop-up experiment, designed to provide customers with the opportunity to discover new items each time they visit the mall. Customers also will have the option to browse Wayfair’s online selection and place orders for delivery. 

Wayfair is currently hiring store managers and retail associates across all locations ahead of the August 1 opening.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Tue, 18 Jun 2019 10:19:24 -0400
Exclusive Q&A: With In-Store Innovation, Everything Old Is New Again John Gregory PandoraThose who want to blame Amazon for all of brick-and-mortar retail’s troubles should actually look a bit further back in history, says John Gregory. He has a unique perspective, having worked in legacy retail for iconic brands including Macy’s, Ann Taylor and Bloomingdales, then provided consulting services, and now is the VP Retail Head of Industry at Pandora Media.

During the time when Amazon was just a gleam in Jeff Bezos’ eye, many retailers were making decisions that led directly to today’s often uninspiring in-store environments. Growth that was measured primarily by how many new stores a chain could open led to overexpansion, at a time when long-term economic and demographic trends were changing consumers’ shopping habits. The financial demands placed on public companies by Wall Street encouraged a commodity-oriented promotional mindset, and discouraged the kinds of product innovation and experimentation that could have kept shoppers coming back into stores even as the convenience of e-Commerce beckoned.

“It’s funny to see the conversation turn to in-store experiences, creative merchandising and in-store visuals, because those are the things that made department stores shine 40 years ago,” said Gregory, who will be speaking at Retail TouchPoints Live!, June 25-26 in Chicago. Along with Ed King and Laura Davis-Taylor of HighStreet Collective and Kathleen Joyce from Under Armour, Gregory will discuss The Retail Innovation Funnel: Uncover 7 Key Traits Of Successful In-Store Innovation. He provided Retail TouchPoints with a preview of his presentation, and a prescription for fostering better in-store innovation. 

Retail TouchPoints (RTP): What elements go into good in-store innovation? 

John Gregory: The best types of innovations are those that help the customer, but also facilitate better decision-making for the retailer. For example, one of the first big tech innovations of the last 20 years has been POS scanners at checkout, which allowed retailers to make the process more efficient and consumer-friendly. But it also enabled retailers to collect incredible amounts of information on individual customers, about shopping behaviors, purchase patterns and the types of merchandise bought, which then informed inventory control and creating different assortments for different stores in different parts of the country.

A more recent example is beacon technology, which was meant to help retailers communicate with consumers in stores, but that ran into a nuisance factor of customers being ‘pinged’ every 30 seconds. Now they are being used more as a research tool to track in-store behaviors, pathways, pause points, and the amount of time people spend in different parts of the store. Of course, the past 10 years has seen an explosion of new technology to facilitate interactive and personalized engagement with consumers during store visits. 

RTP: Why is it so vital for today’s retailers to focus on in-store innovation? 

Gregory:The store environment has always been important, but today, particularly for legacy retailers, it provides one of the few means they have to differentiate themselves from the more commodity- and transaction-driven retailers. But I want to make clear that ‘innovation’ doesn’t necessarily need to be tech-driven. There are a lot of service-oriented initiatives and things related to the culture of the store, such as someone greeting you at the door and directing you to what you’re looking for. It can be the sensory elements that make up the environment itself, as well as visual merchandising — anything that lifts the retailer’s brand message into the environment. For Pandora, building the sonic identity for a retail brand can play a big part in enhancing the shopping environment. Technology has its rightful place in developing these types of environments, but it doesn’t mean it has to be loaded with interactive bells and whistles.

RTP: Where do you see today’s in-store experiences as coming up short, and what are some of the reasons for that? 

Gregory: When I started my retail career in the 1980s and 90s, retailers maintained growth by opening new stores and expanding their footprint. Unfortunately this was happening at the same time that the country’s economy was waffling with inflation and instability, with heavy industry moving to other countries — all things that changed the shopping behaviors of the middle class. These things, along with demographic changes, fueled the rise of the discounters, and that was the beginning of the end for many legacy retailers. To keep up with the heavy discounters, retailers responded by becoming promotional to drive traffic, which impacted their margins. In the process, they were compelled to eliminate many product categories and exciting elements that made them special in order to remain profitable. The department store industry had all the experiences, events and engagement then that they are trying to bring back now.

While hindsight is 20/20, looking back now, retailers could have taken a stand and decided to focus on what they did best. Additionally, instead of opening stores across the land, that would have been a good time to edit their store footprint in a manner less disruptive than the forced store closings we see of late. Unfortunately, Wall Street played a part in those decisions. When department stores went from being family-owned to being public, it changed how they could make decisions. It was no longer possible to experiment, to make mistakes, to have a great year one year and a bad the next. That was a big change in the infrastructure of retail, and it created the environment we’re living in right now.

Additionally, when I began my career the merchants were king; they brought the product into the store to drive the traffic. A lot of buyers had a very different approach to their open-to-buy, with as much as 25% of the budget set aside to go to Europe or new markets and bring back unseen merchandising ideas and consumer engagements to the local marketplace. There was always a stream of new things coming into the store. We’ve lost that freedom to be creative in merchandising, and that’s an underlying issue for many retailers. Without a doubt, global accessibility of products via e-Commerce has changed the game but 85% of retail sales still happen in the store and making the best use of that advantage can be a game changer. Again, it’s funny to see the conversation turn to in-store experiences, creative merchandising, and in-store visuals, because those are the things that made department stores shine 40 years ago.

RTP: How can retailers best harness innovation in their store environments?

Gregory: The opportunity that exists is to create the environment that’s right for the brand, to pick and choose the things that will be most relevant to your brand. That could be engaging digital signage, interactive mirrors or kiosks that allow you to purchase things online for delivery to store or home, or it could also be as simple as the culture of the store and its service environment.

RTP: What kinds of operational challenges should retailers keep in mind when they look to scale up these types of innovations?

Gregory: For me, it all comes back to creative merchandising and the execution of an idea across a broader number of stores. For example, take the Story acquisition by Macy’s. This brings something into the store that’s unique and changes seasonally; it’s exciting and it can help bring customers back on a regular basis. This is a great opportunity for Macy’s and it will be interesting to see how they expand the concept to their fleet of stores without diluting the idea and remain authentic to the original idea behind it. Time will tell, but I commend them for at least experimenting with unique and engaging merchandising programs.

Additionally, silos in retail always have an impact on operations. From a historical perspective, legacy retail has been very siloed internally, very conservative, and in many cases unwilling to be more collaborative. But I think that’s changing, and I see more and more retailers creating cross-functional environments and embracing omnichannel marketing. By the way, I see omnichannel as much more of an operational term, because it speaks to the infrastructure and ability to facilitate making all those channels ‘speaking’ together. It’s what you do with the structural foundation of an omnichannel approach that makes the difference. It’s how you create a symphony of integrated consumer engagement through mobile, web, store and now voice technology that will help elevate retail brands in a very competitive marketplace.

]]> (Adam Blair) Trend Watch Tue, 18 Jun 2019 09:28:38 -0400
Enriching The Customer Experience Through Journey Mapping And Personalization

0aaaDeepak Moudgil WiproDigital technologies have given customers unprecedented power to dictate the terms of purchase, to the point that instant gratification has become the norm. Customers expect the same kind of immediacy, personalization, and convenience in all their interactions with a brand. Therefore, companies must understand customer-behavior and be ready to cope with the demands created by multiple customer touch points. Failure to deliver personalized customer experiences at the right time, on the right channels can lead to customer churn and even business demise.

The question is, how can personalized services be provided in a highly digital-driven world? How can an organization deliver a connected, consistent experience across all touch points? More importantly, how can companies balance human and digital interactions to deliver an enhanced user experience while strictly adhering to privacy regulations?

The answers to these pertinent questions lie in identifying and transforming the customer journey management process. For customer journey mapping and personalization to succeed, the entire organization must be aligned to the goal of ensuring that every customer’s journey with the brand is delightful and beneficial. It also involves getting rid of a non-collaborative culture and improving disjointed processes and systems working in silos. To achieve this, it is important for organizations to address broader issues like traditional channel fatigue and ubiquitous connectivity. The backstage functions should also be aware of system and technical issues to be able to identify where customers are “stuck or lost.”

Approach To Customer Journey Mapping And Personalization

The majority of personalization efforts by organizations have been an ‘inside out’ approach, which typically involves content deployment based on customers’ purchase history, preferences or any other implicit behavior. This customization is meant to target customers with the right offers at appropriate times. The ‘inside out’ approach also aims to cross-sell and upsell, and is systems-driven.

However, once we think from a customer’s perspective and take an ‘outside in’ approach, personalization efforts are refocused to cover a range of emotional needs. This innovative personalization approach addresses the basic psychological drivers like bonding and attachment, learning and growth, desire to feel in control and security for uncertainties.

Customer Journey And Personalization Management: The Key To Better Customer Engagement

With an ‘outside in’ approach to personalization in mind, here are three ways to improve customer engagement.

1. Focus on end-to-end customer journeys

Disruptions in the customer purchase process and other critical success factors are uncovered through effective customer journey management. This approach places the customer at the center and offers organizations the ability to hear and act upon inputs from customers, employees and the larger business environment.

By shaping the customers’ experiences (CX) at each stage of the buying cycle using different channels, companies can influence customers’ perception toward their brands and also uncover various aspects of customer behavior, thoughts, feelings and preferences in new ways.

Customer journey mapping also enables companies to identify gaps and disjointed or frustration points in customers’ experience with the brand. For example, common pain points are gaps between the devices, channels, departments and customer communication. Effective customer journey mapping or personalization ensures contact center transformation solutions leverage journey mapping and analytics-enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI). This helps retailers understand customer behavior and associated patterns to predict future needs and formulate a proactive, customized approach to achieve customer engagement.

2. Standard vs. Personalized Experiences

Amongst the key pillars of customer experience, which include personalization, integrity, expectations, resolution, time and effort, and empathy, personalization has the most significant impact on advocacy and loyalty. While it is important to advance all pillars to deliver an excellent experience, the priority should be on personalization. This means demonstrating that you understand the customer’s specific needs and circumstances, and will adapt the experience accordingly. For example, using the customer’s name, past history of interactions and preferences all give a personal touch. Customers form an emotional connection with the brand and eventually might also become brand advocates.

Leading companies are using individualized attention to drive an emotional connection. Companies like Netflix, Amazon and Uber are investing in AI algorithms for recommending personalized content. AI-led solutions improve personalization using ‘deep learning’ — a method of organizing content to reflect how the brain works. These companies have cleverly put customers in control, giving them the freedom to choose the way they want to interact with their brands.

3. Focus Self-Service

Within the next few years, the majority of customer interactions are likely to be managed with minimal human intervention. Therefore, it is important for staff to be trained on process capability and functional and technical aspects to be able to cover end-to-end customer journeys. This is integral to a customer experience strategy and ensures that the right products and solutions are delivered.

To keep up with advancements and manage volumes of customer activity better, companies also need to deploy newer customer engagement solutions, such as digital CX, Natural Language Processing (NLP)-enabled intelligent chatbots, voice biometric authentication and cognitive capabilities. Organizations can deploy self-service content (including videos, FAQs, interactive manuals, etc.) and digital channels (like chatbots, voice bots, etc.) to further enhance personalization and win customer loyalty. Integrating digital channels with social media also offers better convenience and speed to the customers.

There is often a very thin line between a good experience and a bad one. A single interaction — big or small — is all it takes to lose a potential loyal customer. To that end, companies must invest in delivering delightful experiences through consistent and connected customer experience, work to understand customer needs across the journey and personalize what is delivered. In the end, an organization’s genuine efforts toward personalization are likely to be reciprocated with customer loyalty.


Deepak Moudgil is Global Head – Go To Market, Enterprise Business, Wipro Digital Operations and Platforms (DO&P). Moudgil is an accomplished IT/ITeS professional with over 20 years of international and diverse industry exposure. He has expertise in telecom, consumer, utilities domain, platform and processes, providing digital and business enterprise transformation solutions for global clients.

]]> (Deepak Moudgil, Wipro) Executive ViewPoints Tue, 18 Jun 2019 09:29:03 -0400
Walmart Testing Grocery Subscription Service In 4 Markets Walmart Testing Grocery Subscription Service In 4 Markets

Walmart has launched a grocery subscription service pilot called Delivery Unlimited, according to TechCrunch. The service waives the standard per-order delivery fee in favor of a $98 annual subscription, or $12.95 per month. The plan is otherwise identical to the retailer’s other grocery delivery options, though it is currently only available in Houston, Miami, Salt Lake City and Tampa, Fla.

The program will help Walmart keep up with Target, which has a $14 monthly subscription and recently launched same-day delivery for 65,000 products through its partnership with Shipt. Target said Shipt, curbside and in-store pickup drove more than half of the 42% e-Commerce sales growth the retailer experienced in Q1 2019.

Walmart is putting a similar emphasis on e-Commerce growth through offerings like Delivery Unlimited and, which was recently folded into the business. The retailer’s e-Commerce sales were up 37% in its latest quarter, and it plans to offer pickup at 3,100 stores and delivery at 1,600 by the end of 2019.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Mon, 17 Jun 2019 16:55:31 -0400
Microsoft, XnFinity Will Launch Retail Innovation Lab Microsoft, XnFinity Will Launch Retail Innovation Lab

XnFinity and Microsoft have agreed to launch a Retail Innovation Lab and Incubation for both online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

Designed to help innovators gain insights on customer behavior and engagement, the Lab will focus on R&D around AI and digital transformation. The Lab already has a portfolio of solutions in areas including customer sentiment analysis, machine learning and deep learning analysis, as well as for e-Commerce and stores.

The Lab will have its own store with real customers and purchases, where innovations will be tested prior to being offered to retailers, as well as technologies from other startups that will grant the lab a comprehensive view of the future of retail.

Once open, access to internal lab technology, demos, PoC (Proof of Concept) and source code will be offered at no additional cost. A launch date for the Lab, which will be based in Portugal where XnFinity is headquartered, has not yet been announced.

]]> (Brianna Ruback) News Briefs Mon, 17 Jun 2019 16:19:05 -0400
Chainwide POS Outage Spurs Negative Sentiment Spike For Target Chainwide POS Outage Spurs Negative Sentiment Spike For Target

Target received a blow to its consumer trust levels after a two-hour systemwide point-of-sale outage on Saturday, June 16, followed by a 90-minute outage at certain stores on June 17. The initial breakdown was due to an internal technology issue, while the second was due to an issue with NCR, the retailer’s payment processor, according to a Target spokesman.

The retailer confirmed that the problem was not caused by a data breach or security-related issues, and that no shopper information was compromised by the event. However, the incident still resulted in a spike in negative sentiment around the brand, according to Zignal Labs. Much of the online conversation was centered on data security issues, which remained a major topic even after news media reported that the issue had been fixed.

“Real-time monitoring of sentiment on social and understanding that it can bleed into mainstream can help brands, like Target and others, mitigate crises and help them to home in on specific influencers who are most impactful to the conversation,” said Josh Ginsberg, CEO of Zignal Labs in commentary sent to Retail TouchPoints. “Engaging with these individuals through social media in a manner that takes responsibility and is totally transparent in communication is the best way to go.”

Compensating affected customers with gifts such as rewards points and free items also can help reduce tension and show that Target takes loyalty seriously, according to Ginsberg. Setting things right is going to be particularly important for Target as it ramps up competition with Amazon through offerings like same-day delivery, since competing against the e-Commerce giant requires both trust and reliability.

“Target has two major hills to climb in their response strategy in order to achieve their desired business outcome,” said Matt Rizzetta, CEO and Founder of North 6th Agency in commentary supplied to Retail TouchPoints. “The first is regaining trust and confidence from their consumers, and the second is staving off Amazon who is surely pouncing on every opportunity they have to reinforce their superiority in the retail category when it comes to system security, customer service experience and innovation.”

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Mon, 17 Jun 2019 13:33:11 -0400