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Social means so much more than a Facebook page or a Tweet these days. Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest — to name a few — are making their mark on the retail marketplace. But are they short-term trends or do they have the staying power to become long-term solutions? What are the best approaches for retailers? What does the future hold? These and other key questions are asked and answered in this section.

Moltin Offers API For Digital Displays, Social Shopping

Moltin, an e-Commerce solution provider, has introduced an API designed to enable retailers to deliver holistic experiences to consumers when they interact with the brand, whether through interactive digital displays, social media, smart television, video games or any other touch point.

Sephora, Nike Leverage AR Effects Via Facebook Messenger

Four brands are presently taking a new approach to augmented reality (AR) experiences, integrating them with the Facebook Messenger messaging app. In May, Facebook revealed that it had launched AR experiences on its Messenger platform in closed beta for retailers such as Nike and Sephora, as well as ASUS and Kia. With these experiences, retailers and brands can leverage messaging to help shoppers visualize a product and get instant feedback about purchases, customizations and more — without ever needing to set foot in a store.  The future of Facebook Messenger as a means of communicating with retail consumers looks bright. As of May 1, there were more than 300,000 active bots on Messenger, and more than 8 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses each month — a number that is 4X the number of messages exchanged just since last year.

Las Vegas Shopping Complex Debuts Chatbot With Personality

Visitors to the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas now can interact with an AI-powered shopping guide through Facebook Messenger whenever they need better information to enhance their shopper journey. The chatbot, “Jules,” showcases a witty and sassy personality designed to reflect the mall’s audience of chic and lively shoppers. Jules is available 24/7 to address a variety of guest inquiries that pertain to the center’s stores, restaurants and shows, and can provide specific answers based on where users are in the 475,000-square-foot mall.

Exclusive Q&A: How zulily Grew Its Customer Base 24%

Data and hard facts are important in marketing, but there are also elements of “art” involved, according to Kevin Saliba, SVP of Marketing at zulily. The retailer seems to have found the right mix of science and art: zulily has made significant strides to widen its base and foster more recurring buyers over the last 18 months. Since Saliba took over the position in January 2017, zulily has increased its customer base 24% to 6.1 million active customers, while growing its private label credit card membership to 160,000 accounts. In a Q&A with Retail TouchPoints, Saliba, who also was recently named to the Wine.com Board of Directors, explains: The importance of balancing customer acquisition and retention strategies; How being acquired by QVC in 2015 has helped the retailer engage consumers through Facebook Live product videos; Why native advertising is benefitting both its brands and consumers; and How zulily-branded credit cards foster customer loyalty.

Lulus Raises $120 Million On The Back Of Strong Millennial Following

Lulus, an e-Commerce fashion retailer, has closed a $120 million investment from IVP, a venture capital and growth equity firm, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), a global investment management firm.   With the funding, Lulus plans to support growth initiatives like building out its East Coast fulfillment center, entering new categories such as shoes, and increasing its headcount.

Social Commerce Best Practices: Optimize Mobile, Match Products To Platform Strengths

Social media is no longer just a place for building brand awareness or loyalty: it’s another potential storefront, a frontier where the customer journey can take on fresh new forms. There are approximately 3.2 billion active social media users today, according to Hootsuite. The major platforms have enormous audiences that are too big to ignore: 800 million Instagram users (as of December 2017), according to Omnicore; 255 million Snapchat users (as of June 2017), according to TechCrunch; 175 million Pinterest users (as of April 2017); and More than 2.2 billion Facebook users (as of March 2018).

Exclusive CMO Q&A: Storytelling Drives Disruptive Apparel Retail Model

Two of the most important areas of responsibility at any retail company are Marketing and Merchandising, but at Matilda Jane Clothing they are handled by one hard-working executive: Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer Allison Flatjord. At another company, this might be a tale of competing priorities and siloed departments, but that’s not the case here. Matilda Jane bridges the gap by maintaining an unrelenting focus on its customers and a commitment to a unified brand message. “Our whole brand revolves around storytelling,” said Flatjord. “Every season we tell a different story, and in order to effectively tell those stories, we have to be really tight on marketing and product — everything that supports that story. So, for us it makes much more sense to have marketing and merchandising combined, to ensure the product supports the story you want to get across.”

#RIC18: How TechStyle Optimizes Personalization With Continuous Testing

For most retailers, one-to-one personalization is a goal to work towards rather than an actual achievement — but TechStyle Fashion Group is an exception. The retailer, which includes the Fabletics, JustFab and ShoeDazzle brands, has succeeded in making personalization practical. At the 2018 Retail Innovation Conference, Traci Inglis, Brand President for JustFab and ShoeDazzle, shared some key statistics that chart TechStyle’s progress: • The retailer sends unique emails to each of its 2.5 million members;• The emails utilize dynamic one-to-one merchandising across thousands of styles, individualized based on the customer’s preferences, clicks and purchases;• Targeted subject lines highlight the customer’s first name and the email offer; and• TechStyle personalizes the web pages members see based on their fashion and style preferences as well as their location.

21 Innovative Solutions Showcased At #RIC18

At the 2018 Retail Innovation Conference, innovation wasn’t limited to the educational sessions. Sponsors showcased solutions for some of the retail industry’s most pressing concerns, including marketing personalization; mobile applications; making loyalty and referral marketing programs more effective; deepening connections between retail associates and shoppers; and the latest in design and digital signage. Following is a roundup of the sponsors’ offerings.

#RIC18 Attendees Get Social: Top Tweets

What happens at the Retail Innovation Conference stays on…Twitter! During three days of Store Tours, keynotes and breakout sessions, RIC18 attendees took to social media to share everything they learned from an array of speakers, including Clay Johnson of Walmart, Luke Chatelain of West Elm, Ken Hughes and many more.…
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Influencer Marketing Playbook: Micro Influencers, Multi-Tier Campaigns & New Instagram Features

In September 2017, super influencer Arielle Charnas of Something Navy was said to rack up more than $1 million in sales for Nordstrom in less than 24 hours with her debut clothing collection, Something Navy x Treasure Bond. This is just one example of the incredible impact that influencer marketing can wield for retailers and brands.  Research on influencer marketing demonstrates its value for creating awareness, increasing brand value and boosting sales. Results from the 2017 State of Influencer Marketing report by Launchmetrics revealed:  88% of influencer marketing tactics were effective at raising awareness about the company or its products;  65% claimed that it was effective for increasing customer loyalty; and 53% claimed that it was effective at driving sales.  This feature hits on the latest trends, best practices and case studies in influencer marketing, including:  The value of micro influencers;  The benefits of a multi-tier, long-term influencer strategy; New Instagram features gaining momentum among influencers; and Case studies from international retailers such as Bodyguard Apotheke, Feelunique and Matsuya. “Brands are starting to experiment a little more with influencer marketing itself,” said Michael Froggatt, Director of Intelligence at Gartner L2 in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. They are making these moves in part…

Shoptalk 2018 Secures Its Spot As A Must-Attend Retail Event

The impressive marketing and branding efforts have catapulted Shoptalk to the top of the events-on-your-radar list for retailers and brands, but the 2018 speaker lineup and massive 1:1 meeting setup has cemented the conference as one of the top “big” retail events-to-attend. As press attendees, it honestly was difficult to decide which sessions to cover and which meetings to schedule. Here’s a wrap-up of our key takeaways, in addition to the Quick Quotes article we shared last week:

Adidas, Glossier Take Mobile Marketing To New Heights With Personalization, Shoppable Video

As if further proof of the importance of a mobile-first strategy was needed, holiday 2017 demonstrated the influence of mobile as both a shopping and customer engagement channel. On Black Friday 2017, mobile generated 54.3% of visits and 36.9% of revenue, while mobile accounted for 37% of orders and 56% of visits on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Digital Insights. These figures are fairly convincing arguments for the case that today’s digitally savvy consumers now rely on the small screen as a critically important stop in their shopping journeys.

Zulily Pampers Millennial Pet Parents, Sees Sales Soar 33%

Millennials own more than one-third of pets (35%) in the U.S., more than any other generation, and they are leading the “humanization of pets” trend, according to the American Pet Products Association. In a recent survey, e-retailer zulily found that Millennial pet owners view their pets more like their children than previous generations, and almost all of them (92%) purchase gifts such as toys, clothing and treats for pets. More than half of Millennial men (55%) purchase gifts for their pets once a month or more, as do 47% of women. Millennials who buy their pets gifts on a monthly basis do so four times a month on average.
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