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.

Mall Of America Launches AI-Powered Chatbot For The Holidays

The Mall of America has made it easier to navigate and shop its 5.6 million-square-foot space during the holidays, with the launch of a new, AI-powered chatbot in partnership with Satisfi Labs. Customers can interact with the bot on the Mall of America web site, mobile app, Facebook page and even as an Amazon Alexa skill.

Amazon-Calvin Klein Pop-Ups Showcase Fashion Using Technology

A pair of holiday pop-up shops, located in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood and Santa Monica, Calif., are linking experiential retail to fashion using innovative technologies. The CALVIN KLEIN X Amazon Fashion shops, open until Dec. 31, 2017, offer: • Fitting rooms containing Amazon Echo devices, allowing shoppers to ask Alexa questions about the Calvin Klein products and experience, control lighting features, and play their choice of music;• Content creation stations that encourage shoppers to create unique, shareable media clips;• Lounge areas allowing video calling to connect the bi-coastal shops via Amazon Echo Show; and• Customization stations where shoppers can personalize Calvin Klein underwear purchases with embroidery.

Westfield Century City Mall Launches Pop-Up Experience With Hermès ‘Laundromat’

Westfield Century City, an outdoor shopping mall in Los Angeles, has launched a permanent 1,200-square-foot space dedicated to short-term pop-up stores. Luxury fashion house Hermès is the first brand to set up shop in the location, with a laundromat experience called the “Hermèsmatic Pop-Up.” The Hermès pop-up will remain open until Nov. 19; it is one of a series of pop-ups the fashion house has operated throughout the U.S. and Europe since 2016.

World Series Location Data Reveals Brand Preferences

A grand slam’s worth of data about the brand and shopping preferences of World Series fans was uncovered by location data company Skyhook. By analyzing foot traffic in the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers stadiums during Games 2 and 3, Skyhook used mobile device data to reveal similarities and differences between the fans of the competing teams. Skyhook used its location network to define “fanscapes” from device IDs belonging to Astros- and Dodgers-assigned geographies within Dodger Stadium for Game 2, and Houston’s Minute Maid Park for Game 3. That anonymized data was run through Skyhook’s Personas engine. This process uses behavioral algorithms to calculate brand affinities based on where individual devices have visited stores and other commercial businesses.

Lowe’s Expands Experiential Smart Home Centers To 70 Stores

Lowe’s has shown itself to be one of retail’s most innovative companies with developments from its Innovation Lab, but the company also looks outside the organization to enhance its store experience. In partnership with software-powered tech retailer b8ta, Lowe’s is expanding its connected home store-within-a-store experiences to 70 locations. The “Smart Home powered by b8ta” started as a three-store pilot in fall 2016. Installations feature a curated selection of 60+ smart home products including security systems, thermostats, cameras, lighting and speakers from Google, Sonos, GE, Nest, Iris, Samsung and Ring. The stores-within-stores offer consumers on-site support from specially trained experts known as “b8ta testers.”

Retailers Must Overcome Fear Of Failure To Infuse Successful Innovation Into Business Strategies

As changing shopper preferences continually push the boundaries of what retailers can and should do to improve the customer experience, they also need to address the ongoing challenge: What is the best way to foster innovation? A number of retailers have addressed the challenge of keeping pace with industry shifts by creating innovation labs, with varying degrees of success. Whatever route retailers take, they should not be afraid to take chances on new projects — even though some of them will fail.

Exclusive: Neiman Marcus, Execs Share Experiences From Dubai Tech Event

Last month I had the opportunity to chair the Retail Day during the GITEX Technology event in Dubai, UAE. It was a unique experience and a fantastic opportunity to learn about retail challenges around the world. I also was asked to invite some U.S.-based retail executives to speak at the event and was honored to share the experience with two amazing retail innovators:

Target Rolls Out Mobile AR For Furniture And Home Products

  • Published in Mobile
Target is making its next move into augmented reality (AR) with the “See It In Your Space” mobile feature, designed to display three-dimensional versions of Target products within shoppers’ homes. Target is the latest furniture retailer to integrate AR into its mobile offering, joining Wayfair, IKEA and Chairish. The feature is currently only available with 200 “Project 62” brand home products from Target, but the retailer says it will roll AR capabilities out to hundreds more products by year end, including other Target home furnishing brands such as Threshold and Pillowfort. It plans to include “thousands” of home décor products by 2018.

Tommy Bahama, Costco, Foot Locker CEOs Chart Diverse Paths To Success

At the SAP Retail Executive Forum held earlier this month in New York City, chief executives from a diverse group of retailers shared some of the “secret ingredients” that have contributed to their organizations’ long-term success — even as the retail industry has undergone near-constant change. The leaders of Tommy Bahama, Costco and Foot Locker offered insights that included: • “Customers are looking for you to do what you did last time, but to do it better. Stay focused on delighting your guest.” — Doug Wood, CEO, Tommy Bahama • “The culture of the company is what it’s all about. Culture is not the most important thing, it’s the only thing, because it drives all the decisions you make.” — Jim Sinegal, Co-Founder and Director, Costco Wholesale • “Consumers don’t think in terms of channels, they think in terms of the Foot Locker brand.” — Dick Johnson, President/CEO, Foot Locker

Sportswear Retailer Integrates Payment Into VR Experience

The jury may still be out on whether virtual reality (VR) will truly take off as a shopping experience, but one forward-thinking retailer already has made VR transaction processes more seamless. Body Language Sportswear has been testing a VR app that allows shoppers to move from interactive 360-degree views of its products directly to checkout, without needing to take off the VR headset or pull out their wallets. The e-Commerce retailer is offering products via the Payscout app, which introduced a VR commerce capability in June 2017. The app integrates with Visa Checkout (VCO), allowing users to register their payment credentials within the digital wallet or access an existing VCO account. The app currently is available for the Google Cardboard hardware, but there are plans to adapt it for iOS and additional VR platforms.

Target, Gap, Nike Among Retailers Tackling Climate Change

Major retailers including Target, Gap, Nike, Levi’s, GUESS and VF Corporation are some of the latest merchants to commit to new internal policies designed to combat climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas footprint. More than 300 companies have committed to set emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative, which is a partnership among CDP, WRI, WWF and the UN Global Compact. This organization provides guidelines designed to help U.S. companies align their corporate goals with climate science.

Catalina Names New Global Chief Retail Officer

Catalina, a shopper intelligence and personalized digital media platform, has appointed Tom Corley as Global Chief Retail Officer and President of U.S. Retail. Prior to joining Catalina Corley held leadership positions at Kraft Foods Group and Acosta, garnering nearly three decades of retail and CPG experience.

Target Goes National With Google Voice-Activated Shopping

  • Published in News Briefs
Following what the retailer termed successful test programs in California and New York City, Target has expanded its partnership with home delivery service Google Express to the continental U.S. Target customers can use the Google Assistant for voice-activated shopping via Google Home devices and Android TV, with a promised expansion…

Anthropologie Brings AR, CGI Into Online Furniture Shopping Experience

While many say a picture is worth a thousand words, Anthropologie seeks to multiply its images’ value even further than that throughout its online shopping experience. The retailer has partnered with creative studio CVLT to add computer-generated imagery (CGI) and augmented reality (AR) into its custom furniture library. As part of the experience, Anthropologie’s custom furniture product pages now include a CGI-enhanced canvas designed to enable real-time exploration and design customization, so that shoppers can see  what customized products will look like before they buy.

Mastercard Pop-Up Experience Showcases Literal Window Shopping

I recently had the opportunity to get a sneak peek into a new pop-up in New York City, presented by Marie Claire magazine and Mastercard. The experience, called The Next Big Thing Concept Shop, brought to life a variety of unique technology innovations for retailers that can help brands merge the physical and digital shopping experience for their customers.
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