Retail Innovaiton

In today's digitally empowered business environment, retailers must stay on top of the latest technology and marketing trends in order to remain competitive. The companies that will thrive moving forward are actively testing and implementing innovative ideas and solutions. Retail TouchPoints stays on the cutting edge of retail innovation by hosting the annual Retail Innovation Conference, interviewing industry leaders, and tapping our collective experience to deliver insightful reporting on the most important retail stories.

Warby Parker, Net-a-Porter Founders To Judge Retail Concept Competition

Appear Here, a marketplace for pop-up shops, has announced its second Space for Ideas competition to discover the next three big retail concepts. The competition aims to provide a platform for talented entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality and will be judged by: Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder of Warby Parker; Natalie Massenet, Founder of Net-a-Porter; Nick Jones, Founder of Soho House; and Ajax Ahmed, Founder of AKQA.

ROI Of AI: 5 Ways Retailers Are Embracing The Innovation

“Artificial Intelligence (AI)” is being touted as one of the newest, most promising business technologies of the 21st century — even though its roots go back nearly 80 years. The fact is, the basics of AI can be traced back to Alan Turing and the Theory of Computation in the late 1930s; and the 1950 paper that helped inspire the 2014 film, The Imitation Game: Computing Machinery And Intelligence. But as AI has moved out of the theoretical realm and into the practical, confusion about what AI is — and what it can do — has grown. Even today’s smartest and wealthiest business executives seem a bit stumped by what, exactly, constitutes an AI solution. As recently as July 25, 2017, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk got into a social media feud over each other’s understanding of the technology.

AI Sharpens Promotion Planning For Earth Fare Grocery Chain

  • Published in News Briefs
At the 41-store Earth Fare chain, the food is organic and natural but the intelligence is artificial — at least when it comes to promotion planning. For the past year, the retailer has used an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solution to help its category managers determine which items to feature in weekly…

Can Discounted Cosmetics Drive Department Store Traffic?

The cosmetics counter has been a rare bright spot in these dark days for department stores — for example, the JCPenney-Sephora partnership has been a win-win for both parties. So it makes sense that other department stores would seek ways to leverage the category’s drawing power as a way to bring foot traffic into brick-and-mortar stores. But the tactic chosen by Macy’s and Bloomingdales — offering discounts on products that are rarely involved in promotional sales — is raising eyebrows. Many industry experts note that once a retailer lowers prices, even for a limited time or to a select audience, it’s difficult to push them back up to a “normal” level. Meanwhile, Sephora is not putting all its eggs in one basket. The brand is testing Sephora Studio, a small (2,000 square feet) store concept that will be located outside of mall locations. The first Studio debuted on Boston’s Newbury Street on July 21. The Studios will offer skin consultations and the Sephora Digital Makeover Guide, which captures clients’ product, application and look preferences. Product selection will be limited due to the stores’ small size, but associates will be able to use an “order in store” feature via

Alibaba Supermarkets Blend Online And Offline Via Mobile-First Strategy

Chinese retail giant Alibaba is known largely for its e-Commerce marketplaces and its payments platform Alipay. But the nearly $400 billion company also is quietly building out a brick-and-mortar presence, opening up 13 Hema supermarkets in China since 2015. The brick-and-mortar initiatives have for the most part flown under the radar, but they are serving as labs for Alibaba’s “New Retail” strategy. Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang noted in a statement that Hema “leverages data and smart logistics technology to seamlessly integrate online-offline systems, built to provide the unparalleled service of fresh food deliveries in 30 minutes.” The Hema supermarkets are designed to cater specifically to mobile consumers, particularly within a three-kilometer radius, to ensure fast, high-level service.

4 Ways To Maximize ROI From $2.5B In IoT Investments

Internet of Things (IoT) implementations within retail would seem to be on a strong growth path. Merchants are expected to spend as much as $2.5 billion on the technology by 2020, and as many as 70% of retailers say they are ready to make the changes necessary to adopt IoT devices. Applications including smart shelves, temperature sensors, indoor light sensors and mobile scan-as-you-shop devices are already being used to enhance in-store operations. While leading retailers including Kroger, Tesco, Target and Carrefour already are exploring IoT’s potential, however, they remain primarily in “trial mode.” These merchants, and the larger retail industry, won’t see the big benefits that IoT advocates have been promising until they scale up their implementations — and also forge greater connections between the various IoT platforms and the retailers’ enterprise databases and control systems.

Why The 2018 Retail Innovation Conference Should Be On Your Calendar Now

The fourth annual Retail Innovation Conference (RIC18) is now confirmed for Tuesday-Wednesday, May 1-2, 2018 at Convene in New York City. The conference will kick off, once again, with compelling and unique Store Tours on Monday, April 30 and it will include the fifth annual Retail Innovator Awards. So why should you get this event on your calendar today? Well, let some past speakers and attendees convince you:

Target Invites 10 Startups To Second Retail Accelerator Program

Target will be kicking off its second annual Target + Techstars retail accelerator program this summer with 10 new startups on board. During the 13-week program, the companies’ founders will have access to a range of mentors who will provide feedback, answer questions and offer advice to help them grow and develop their startups.

Entrupy Raises $2.6 Million To Prevent Sales Of Counterfeit Goods

Entrupy, a hardware-enabled SaaS company, has secured $2.6 million in Series A funding led by DG Lab Fund I, the jointly established venture arm of Digital Garage and Daiwa Securities Group. The company will use the funding to further develop its technology, to increase product coverage, improve hardware and expand globally.

Prime Day Sets Sales Records, But Customer Acquisition Is The Real Win

Amazon Prime Day achieved its goals to acquire new Prime members, promote Amazon branded products and once again reel in record revenue. But in the wake of Amazon’s 30 hours of success, the key takeaway for Amazon’s competitors is: Create excitement about the brand beyond a loyalty program and discounts. While often reluctant to reveal statistics, Amazon disclosed in a statement that: Sales during the 2017 event grew by more than 60% compared to the same 30 hours last year; More new members joined Prime on July 11 than on any single day in its history; “Tens of millions” of Prime members made a purchase on the day, more than 50% higher than the prior year; and Prime members purchased seven times more Amazon Echo devices globally than on Prime Day 2016.

Discount Drug Mart Introduces Holographic Digital Kiosks

Discount Drug Mart, an Ohio-based drugstore chain, is installing Provision Interactive Technologies 3D Savings Center kiosks inside its 71 stores. The kiosks feature 3D holograph graphics and provide exclusive Discount Drug Mart promotions to shoppers at the point of purchase.

Innovation Gurus Rate What’s Hot/What’s Not In New Tech

Separating what’s truly innovative from what’s merely interesting is one of the biggest challenges in retail. Then there’s another crucial step: identifying technologies that are not only innovative but will actually enhance operational efficiency, the customer experience, or (hopefully) both. At the 2017 Retail Innovation Conference, attendees were lucky enough to hear from two people who are uniquely qualified to make just these kinds of judgments: Scott Emmons, Head of the Innovation Lab for Neiman Marcus, and Pano Anthos, Managing Director of the innovation incubator XRC Labs. In a freewheeling dialogue, Emmons and Anthos gave their unvarnished opinions about the pros, cons and practical applications of a number of up-and-coming technologies, including:

TUMI’s Charlie Cole On The Limits Of Last Click Attribution

Even as shopper journeys become more difficult to track, the need for accurate attribution increases. It’s become a major challenge for retailers to understand how every single touch point influences the road to purchase. “Attribution is a very nebulous thing,” said Charlie Cole, VP and Chief Digital Officer at TUMI, when kicking off his RIC17 session titled: Attribution: A Simple Way To Apply It To Your Business. Think about President Donald Trump’s media impressions, Cole told the audience. He referenced Trump’s Wikipedia page, which listed numerous mentions of his name, including comics, hip hop songs and movies such as Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. The result? All of those varied media impressions somehow impacted the election results of November 2016, according to Cole.
“There’s a really good chance that marketing attribution just led to a new President,” said Cole. “And I mean that, but it’s hard to understand which one of those things and people did what.” Forget Last Click The first rule of basic attribution: don’t start with last click attribution. “[Last click] is not the way to manage a business,” said Cole. “Attribution — at its core — is understanding how to market your brand…

RIC17: Redefining Convenience At Walgreens

With more than 8,200 stores nationwide, Walgreens has the largest brick-and-mortar footprint of pharmacy-based retail in the U.S. But even in this comfortable position, the brand refuses to rest on its laurels, striving to redefine what convenience means to consumers. During a presentation at the 2017 Retail TouchPoints Retail Innovation Conference, Wayne Duan, Director of Digital Commerce at Walgreens, shared three tips for creating a more convenient retail experience: Embrace the “digital commerce iceberg”: Infuse digitally influenced sales into KPIs and measurement DNA; Collaborate with third-party partners: Provide a platform that allows partners to tap into their assets and assist in lead generation, conversion and analysis; and Remove friction at all touch points through better communication.
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