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Published: 11 Oct 2018

Debenhams Launches New Omnichannel Beauty Initiatives

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Debenhams Beauty Club

British department store chain Debenhams has launched a beauty initiative designed to improve its appeal among Gen Z and millennial consumers. Taking an omnichannel approach, it fuses online and offline channels via a loyalty-based digital social platform and two new discovery-led store concepts.

The new store departments, called Beauty Halls of the Future, are designed to provide consumers with an interactive, Instagrammable space. Located within the newly renovated Meadowhall store in Sheffield and Debenhams’ flagship store in Watford (just outside London), they take over a large proportion of the stores’ overall footprint (15% at Watford).

Tapping into consumers’ appetites for softer retail (for more, see Soft Sell: The New Retail), the new departments feature a Beauty Club House, which hosts demonstrations, workshops and events. Situated around the Beauty Club House are themed zones, such as the Skincare and Colour Lab, where new innovations in skincare, hair and make-up are presented.

An area called the Mini Bar takes advantage of the still-booming customisation trend, allowing shoppers to mix and match travel-sized products across all categories. A host of beauty services are available at the Beauty Bar, which is powered by London blow dry brand Blow Ltd and offers manicures and blow dries. The concept spaces were designed by British creative studio Checkland Kindleysides. For more on Instagram-led beauty stores, see our blog post on New York brand Winky Lux’s experiential retail space.

Debenhams has also unveiled its new loyalty programme Beauty Club Community. This digital social platform enables users to give and receive real-time peer-to-peer beauty advice and discuss beauty trends with Debenhams’ 6,000-strong beauty adviser network. Users can earn loyalty points and badges in return for their engagement with and contribution to the forum. For more on this topic, see Supercharged Loyalty Schemes.

To learn more about millennials’ beauty spending habits, see Millennials Beauty Buying: In Numbers.

Published: 9 Oct 2018

The Maiyet Collective’s Concept Store: Reshaping Ethical Lux

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Maiyet Collective

Luxury ethical fashion label Maiyet is behind The Maiyet Collective, a new concept store opening in October inside a London members’ club dedicated to positive social impact. It will feature talks, activities and over 50 like-minded brands – just not its own.

Studies suggest almost 20% of millennial luxury spenders always take ethics into account (Statista, 2017). Responding to such trends, New York-based Maiyet is launching landmark part-time concept store The Maiyet Collective, housed in The Conduit – a new social ethics-focused members’ club in London’s prestigious Mayfair district.

Co-founded in 2011 by three entrepreneurs – including South African Paul van Zyl, a former human rights lawyer – Maiyet partners with artisans in developing economies such as Kenya, India, Peru and Mongolia.

The Conduit and its new store are intended to be a beacon for design, commerce and wider discourse on politics and entrepreneurship with a positive social purpose. The department store-like space aims to host over 150 events including talks, workshops, performances and exhibitions (see also Soft Sell: The New Retail).

The store will stock approximately 50 UK-based “positive impact” brands (although not Maiyet’s own label) – including denim brand M.i.H Jeans; accessories label Elvis & Kresse, which rescues and reforms raw materials; and Ishkar, a business that works with craftspeople in war zones.

The 5,000 sq ft space will function as a monthly pop-up, open from Thursday to Saturday. Thursday is exclusive to Conduit club members as a preview perk, while Friday and Saturday are open to the public but by appointment only – a strategy that ensures visitors are provided with a suitably attentive tour of the space and can learn about the manifesto. This echoes London-based concept store Blue Mountain School’s attempt to establish an intellectual approach to luxury by guiding visitors around the space – for more, see Retail City Guide, London: May 2018. See also Re-Engineering Exclusivity.

Published: 4 Oct 2018

FabFitFun: Branded Live Broadcast

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The fine lines between selling, guidance and entertainment are being blurred, with brands now behaving like media entities to stand out and provide a more engaging route to consumption. Tapping into this trend, US beauty, wellness and athleisure subscription box FabFitFun (FFF) has launched a shoppable live show on Facebook to generate more digital interaction.

Running for two weeks until October 5, FFF Live airs daily between 11am and 1pm and is available to all active Facebook users. Marrying commerce, entertainment and content (see Contextual Commerce for more), the schedule ranges from expert-led advice and educational sessions, to QVC-style product showcases and entertainment.

Industry experts explain how to use beauty products, while hosts demo items from the current Fall Edit box, with viewers able to interact with them in real time via the comment section. Viewers can also win prizes via a game show titled The Fab Challenge – such as Win in 60, where a caller has 60 seconds to match the right price to a corresponding product. If they match all five, they win all the prizes on display.

The launch ties closely with the brand's ongoing content creation strategy. This already includes a series of Founder Chats with partner brands, hosted by FFF co-founder and editor-in-chief Katie Rosen Kitchens; and an exclusive members TV channel (updated monthly) on FFF's website, where subscribers get on-demand access to fitness tutorials from LA's top trainers. See also Subscription E-Tail Gets Experiential.

The show will return in Q4 with the release of the winter subscription box and an updated schedule, which will be altered according to consumer feedback gathered from the beta launch. See also Retail's Brand Broadcasters, Interactive & Shoppable: Live Video Shopping Platform and Monetising Social Media '18: Five Trends.

Published: 2 Oct 2018

Amazon Uses Consumer Data as a Selling Point in Latest Store

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An insatiable, social-media-fuelled appetite for everything new is driving the value of store concepts that resemble micro exhibitions of hyper-curated edits. Along these lines, Amazon is re-entering the physical retail space with a 370 sq m Manhattan store that makes high online ratings a key selling point – keeping consumers ‘in the know’.

Using its vast database on what’s trending and what shoppers are buying (and liking) recently, Amazon 4-star only sells merchandise that’s rated four stars or more, is a top seller, or has been added to its e-commerce site in the past three months.  

Arranged as a sort of expo store showcasing the trendiest things on Amazon (see also Beta Blends), the 2,000-piece product range includes books, games, household goods and toys, as well as its own range of Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers. A dedicated section titled Trending showcases a rotating mix of products, while a table of Most Wished-For items aims to offer inspiration for the upcoming Christmas season.

A digital price tag in front of the items displays consumers’ online reviews, with prices mirroring those on the website (Amazon operates a fluid pricing model, so prices change constantly). The tags also often include both a listed price and a cheaper one for Amazon Prime users – an incentive to sign up for membership on-site.

Amazon has been experimenting a lot with physical retail lately, with storefronts allowing the e-tail giant to get a bit more hands-on with consumers. Concepts include its Amazon Book stores, its innovative automated self-checkout concept Amazon Go, and click-and-collect centres on university campuses. The heavyweight also bought Whole Foods in 2017, and now operates 460 Whole Foods supermarkets, in which it has also added Amazon Fresh grocery pick-up stations. See also Last Mile: Retail Delivery Focus.

For more on how brands are helping consumers find the right products for them, see Solving the Search Conundrums.

Published: 28 Sep 2018

Is a Subscription the Answer to Sustainable Toy Retail?

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Many millennials expect sustainable practices from brands – arguably even more so when purchasing goods for their kids. Targeting an eco-conscious generation of parents, a soon-to-be launched on-demand toy library leverages the power of sharing through an easy-to-use website.

Set to beta launch in November 2018, UK subscription-based toy library Whirli aims to make children’s playtime more sustainable. Based on a sharing model, Whirli wants to lessen the waste generated by a sector well known for its heavy use of plastic.

In the US, around $3.1bn is spent every year on toys specifically for infants and pre-schoolers. In the UK, the toy market is worth around £3.5bn ($4.6bn) annually.

As Lego looks to phase out plastic (see blog), could the toy sector be about to become sustainable? Whirli works like this: for a fixed monthly price, parents can curate a toybox from an online collection, with the box then delivered to their home. The current beta launch experiments with three different subscription tiers that will be altered according to customer feedback. A full launch is planned for February 2019.

Kids can keep the toys as long as they like, but when they get bored, parents can return the items to Whirli to exchange for another product in the catalogue. Returned toys will then be sanitised and made available for other children.

Usage that extends beyond nine months results in children getting to keep the toy for free. Although covering most toy brands, Whirli doesn’t offer toys from brands such as Lego because of the problem of missing pieces and the logistical implausibility of refunding entire sets. After an initial three-month introductory period, users can cancel or change their membership tiers anytime.

See also Kids-Centric Commerce and Retail’s Nurturing New Parents, as well as Pause & Pulsate for more on the impact of the sharing economy on industries ranging from automotive to fashion.

Published: 25 Sep 2018

Dirty Lemon Lets You Pay Later by Text

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Trendy health-focused New York beverage brand Dirty Lemon has opened a checkout-free store in Manhattan's Tribeca called Drug Store, where it's trusting consumers to grab a drink, leave, then pay later by text at their convenience.

Anyone can enter the store – there is no need to scan your phone as in the case of the Amazon Go format. Consumers are expected to text the company once they grab an item, with drinks costing around $10 and the phone number being provided in-store. A 24-hour customer service team replies within five minutes with a link for users to enter their card details (the info is not stored in the system), along with "let us know if you need anything else x", and confirmation of payment.

New customers are prompted to set up an account, also by texting the same number. This strategy mirrors the text-based payment system the brand already uses online, with shoppers ordering products for home delivery via its website and similarly paying by text.

"I do think a majority of people would feel very guilty for continuing to steal," says Dirty Lemon's chief executive Zak Normandin. However, the Tribeca space does feature a safety system, with monitoring and heat mapping tech showing how many people are inside, plus RFID tech tracking when products are taken out of the fridge. The brand says any losses will be classified by the company as sampling costs.

Dirty Lemon is planning to add a private bar space to the experience later this year, which will be aimed at its VIP consumers (those who buy at least one case of drinks a month). It is also planning to open up stores in Chicago and Miami in 2019.

Published: 20 Sep 2018

US Supermarket Taps AI to Better Serve the Visually Impaired

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Wegmans has partnered with Aira to help blind shopppers

American supermarket chain Wegmans has partnered with Aira (artificial intelligence remote assistance) to provide blind and visually impaired customers with a substantially improved shopping experience.

The new service uses Aira's app to connect consumers to a remote agent when they arrive in-store, verbally navigating the user around the store and helping them to locate items via live streaming on the shopper's phone camera. The Aira technology also uses GPS, maps and information sourced from the web to help the customer. Free to download, the service is available across all Wegman stores.

Users also have the option of paying for a subscription plan for a pair of smart glasses with an in-built camera, enabling the remote agent to 'see' the store from the user's perspective.

The number of people in the US with visual impairments or blindness is expected to double to more than eight million by 2050 (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2016). Services like Aira are becoming increasingly important in aiding consumer mobility, providing reassurance and offering a more sensorial experience. See our Spotlight Trend The Sensory Opportunity for a deep dive into leveraging the senses to engage consumers on a deeper level.

Roger Tredre, acting head of Retail at Stylus, says: "This move reflects a growing emphasis from retailers on empathetic engagement strategies – in particular, acknowledging the needs of consumers beyond the mainstream."

Other projects to explore include: Assured Living by Best Buy, which helps families take care of their elderly relatives, and lifestyle website Wolf + Friends, which aids parents in designing spaces for their autistic children.

See our report Empathetic Brand Engagement for more on this strategy.

Published: 18 Sep 2018

Coty & Boots: AI Boost for Online Fragrance Sales

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UK retailer Boots now offers a Fragrance Finder for online shoppers

Consumers can't smell perfumes online. But an AI-powered fragrance finder, created by beauty giant Coty for UK retailer Boots, is finding a way around the problem – and reporting very promising results.

Multinational Coty has unveiled initial feedback on its artificially intelligent Fragrance Finder, launched on Boots.com in early 2018. Coty's e-commerce director Jamie Parker recently spoke at Tech., the new retail technology show staged in London (September 12-13).

Coty began with a question, said Parker: "How do we connect people with the fragrances they love?" Interviews with 5,000 people provided the core data for the tool, improved through machine learning.

By asking a series of questions of the online shopper, the company has created an effective solution. Intriguingly, as Parker highlights, the most predictive questions are not about preferred olfactive families (consumers often don't know what they want) – but about colour, architecture or lifestyle.

The Fragrance Finder represents a new take on the Scent Finder pioneered by San Francisco start-up Pinrose in 2014. This was based on a special algorithm developed as a result of a collaboration between Christine Luby, who studied the psychology of scent at college, and US olfactory expert Alan Hirsch from the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.

Since a low-key launch with no media support, the Boots.com finder has logged 200,000 sessions, with consumers guided through a seven-stage process. Seventy-five per cent of all sessions have been completed, with 94% undertaken for self-purchase. Details of the uptick in sales were not revealed, but Coty believes it has developed a tool that has potential right across the fragrance category.

Also developed by Coty is an AI CoverGirl 'shop the look' feature for Walmart in the US which, unlike most other similar tools, does not require the consumer to download an app – it's offered in-browser. Coty says traffic has doubled, with sales enjoying a very significant spike. Next up for early 2019: a virtual make-up artist.


For more on personalised beauty, see our report Future Beauty: Perfecting Bespoke.

Published: 13 Sep 2018

Select Online, Try In-Store: Personalised Fitting Rooms

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Matchesfashion.com, Mayfair, London

We highlight a slew of fresh retail concepts that merge physical and digital commerce in highly personalised ways, offering consumers speedy product try-on and tailored recommendations.

  • 90-Minute Delivery & Algorithm-Based Suggestions: UK luxury e-tailer Matchesfashion.com has unveiled a 5,000 sq ft townhouse in London's Mayfair, where consumers can try on items within 90 minutes of pre-selecting them through the platform's app. Personal shoppers also pick out other items shoppers might consider based on data gathered from their online purchasing behaviour (such as wish lists, abandoned baskets and purchase history).
  • Next Day Try-On: Canadian e-commerce fashion platform Ssense's first bricks-and-mortar space in Montreal allows shoppers to pre-select products to try on from its website and book an appointment time. The garments are ready in one of the dressing rooms within 24 hours.
  • Male-Focused Convenience: Similarly, US department store Nordstrom's first male-focused store in NYC has debuted its Reserve Online & Try in Store system, which allows shoppers to choose up to 10 items on the store's website or app and then try them on in a fitting room within two hours. Nordstrom has already experimented with a service-only store – including personalised fittings – in LA (see blog).
  • The Store of the Future: Opened in 2017, Farfetch-owned fashion boutique Browns East in London incorporates the e-commerce giant's Store of the Future omni-channel retail technology. Sharing their online wish list with stylists prior to their visit, VIP visitors can try on potential purchases in a secluded section of the store. They can also use their smartphone and Farfetch app to request new sizes, see recommendations, and sync their digital wish list with pieces tried on in store, since each garment is equipped with a smart chip.

To read more about how retailers are redefining personalisation for the modern cross-channel consumer and combining the best of the e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar worlds, see Service-Only Stores in Brand Spaces, 2018/19, Tech Flex and Omni-Interactive.

Published: 11 Sep 2018

Shoppable Video: Making it Easier for Retailers

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British shoppable video specialist Smartzer is to launch a self-service brand tool in Q1 2019 described as a digital dashboard powered by machine learning. It will consolidate all social media metrics regarding how a user’s content is performing – views, deeper engagement, full transactions – allowing quick assessment as to which channels are best.

The streamlining will likely dispense with the often-lengthy process of communicating individually with multiple media platforms. “The end goal is that brands will be able to apportion budget immediately, seeding their content out to whichever platform that’s working right then,” says founder Karoline Gross. “With so much more content, there’s never been a greater need for control."  

Smartzer, which predominantly works with fashion and lifestyle brands, is also taking shoppable content into physical locations via large touchscreens. The move will beef up the kind of brand films that have been playing in-store for years, but were bereft of interaction or follow-through regarding product information or actual shopping.

To coincide with London Fashion Week this September, the company is working with a leading London department store (to be announced soon), creating shoppable films for display on all floors. It’s hoped this will deliver the kind of sales hikes Smartzer’s experienced by placing shoppable videos on brands’ websites. On average, it reports a 20% uplift in comparison to using videos with featured products sat in a static row below.

Visitors will be able to stop the films instantly to see more details or buy from them on-screen. They will also be able to use a scanner code, tapping their smartphones onto NFC-enabled hot spots on-screen to buy or save items to a wish list.

Published: 11 Sep 2018

10 Corso Como Anchors NY’s Next-Gen Urban Mall

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Milanese store 10 Corso Como, which famously blends art, fashion and food, has opened its first US shop in New York’s South Street Seaport – now rebranded as the Seaport District. The location is significant, with the former tourist spot vying to become a next-gen urban mall.

10 Corso Como’s 28,000 sq ft store anchors the Seaport District and entices visitors with a mix of designer fashion, homeware and a gallery. There’s also a restaurant, hand-painted fixtures from US artist Kris Ruhs, and branded collaborations with companies such as Birkenstock

American real estate developer Howard Hughes Corporation is leading the Seaport District’s regeneration, which complements the other mall-style zones popping up in the city. One such project, led by commercial real estate company Brookfield Properties, aims to unify Bleecker Street’s retail with a series of seven co-ordinated storefronts. There’s also Hudson Yards, which will include an indoor/outdoor shopping complex with the first New York location of department store Neiman Marcusscheduled for March 2019.  

Similar to London’s upcoming Coal Drops Yard (see blog), these areas are updating mall-style shopping with unique environments. To differentiate itself, the Seaport District emphasises its historic cobblestone setting, which 10 Corso Como founder Carla Sozzani says reminds her of Italy. Outdoor concerts and fine dining highlight the area’s relative tranquillity.

Other potentially destination-making features include the recently opened luxury hotel Mr. C Seaport, an upcoming food hall from French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and the first permanent location for American actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoe store SJP, opening in mid-September.

As discussed in our blog Modernising the Mall, shopping complexes are transforming as consumers shun impersonal retail experiences. High-profile stores, such as 10 Corso Como, are important for luring shoppers to new destinations. While its addition will likely attract visitors, we’re curious to see if it provides a sufficient linchpin to kickstart the area’s regeneration.

Published: 7 Sep 2018

Asia: Malls Repurpose Limbo Spaces as Family Activity Parks

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As experience-hungry millennials come of age and start having children themselves, shopping centres are evolving ever more thoroughly into leisure spots for families. Two in Asia have repurposed under-utilised space as in-store amusement parks – playfully combining entertainment and education.

  • Neobio, Hangzhou, China: Following on from Neobio’s first family park in Shanghai (2017), Chinese architecture firm X+living has now completed its successor – a parent-child activity centre at the heart of China’s Star Avenue Phase II mall. The first-floor, 8,000 sq m space features an amusement area, a library, a miniature city, a trampoline space, party rooms and a restaurant.

    It’s a pastel wonderland cloaked in a whimsical visual language with giant parasol structures in the atrium, and rainbow- and cloud-shaped shelves and nooks in the library. Neobio’s miniature city even comes complete with roads and a gas station and is reminiscent of Las Vegas – think candy-coloured cacti, a starlit night-sky ceiling and neon shop signs.

    The amusement area, with its water play station, rocks a circus theme. Kids can explore different occupations within the playhouse, straddling a bakery, supermarket, post office and kitchen. Each section has a dedicated space for parents to rest and monitor their kids from cosy lounges (the restaurant area has transparent sand boxes and a climbing maze). Meanwhile, the party room area – bookable for events such as birthdays – offers beauty services for mothers to enjoy while their kids play dress-up.
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  • Toy Kingdom Play, Goyang, South Korea: Occupying 3,420 sq m on the second floor of the Starfield mall, this eccentric kids’ play park is the brainchild of South Korean retailer Emart. Designed under the theme of ‘Play Voyage’, it touches on the six pillars critical to a child’s development, including creativity, body & movement and discovery & sense. Exploring the lives of four fairy-tale characters, kids take a journey on a miniature train.

    With a nostalgic visual appeal, the park is divided into three concepts: Cosy Village, Roof Rush and Wild Maze. The first includes a mini city complete with a supermarket and hospital, an art workshop and the Magic Change Studio, where kids are given the chance to become someone else. The second is all about the body and activity, with an obstacle, parkour and trampoline area, while Wild Maze engages the senses through immersive, digital-led storytelling on subjects such as animals and remote places. The tour ends in the mall’s toy shop. Finally, the third and fourth floors are filled with amenities and stores for children.

    It may no longer be enough to add some play space to a store. Immersive playscapes that put experience first and acknowledge all members of the family – catering to different ages, interests and abilities – have a strong appeal for millennial parents.

For more, check out Lego’s experience-led Lego House in our blog, as well as Kids-Centric Commerce and Retail Concepts Nurturing New Parents.

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Published: 5 Sep 2018

How the Resales Boom Is Evolving

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Growth in the second-hand retail sector is faster than ever, from high-end to mass market. Here’s our update on a sector full of innovation.

Consumers are warming to second-hand as a more sustainable form of consumerism that enables them to score discounts and showcase savvy sourcing. The second-hand clothing market alone is growing 24 times faster than traditional retail (ThredUp, 2018). For more context on recommerce, see Pause & Pulsate (part of our Liquid Retail series), the fashion-focused A Sustainable Journey, and Budget Retail's Quality Drive

Refining the Second-Hand StoreBrands are reimagining resale shops as lifestyle hubs in high-profile locales.

  • Expansive Luxe Experience: American luxury recommerce player The RealReal has opened a 12,000 sq ft LA store featuring sections for womenswear, menswear, kidswear, sneakers, handbags and jewellery, plus a café. “Think of it as a resale department store with a full lifestyle assortment,” chief merchant Rati Levesque says. This Melrose Avenue store is The RealReal’s second permanent location, following a Manhattan launch last year (see Retail City Guide, December 2017). As in New York, there’s a focus on services, including repairs and alterations, authentication, valuations and expert workshops. 

  • Communal Magnet: UK-based social shopping platform Depop, which claims to have nine million users, opened its first store earlier this year in LA (see blog). It has now unveiled a similar concept in New York City: a 1,000 sq ft space designed to deepen engagement with and among Depop’s young, subculture-immersed fans (see Instagangs: Teen Resale Rulers). Depop sellers can photograph products in a dedicated set-up and glean advice. “It’s a chance for our community of creatives to spend time together IRL [in real life] and meet the people behind the shops,” according to chief executive Maria Raga. Inventory is limited to a few local brands. 

  • Thrift Facelift: American charity retailer Goodwill has introduced Curated – a “best of" concept much smaller than its typical stores and aimed at younger, trend-conscious customers. The first location, in Manhattan, is stocked with stylist-selected garments.

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Strategies for Reclaiming Resales: Brands are starting to profit from the second-hand boom by pulling resales back in-house or partnering with recommerce platforms. 

  • Bridging Retailers & Resellers: Start-up Reflaunt, still in pre-launch, is positioned as a tool helping retailers participate in resales. Consumers would be able to list no-longer-wanted products via the original retailer’s site, with Reflaunt pushing these out to second-hand platforms. Post-sale, consumers get shopping credit at the original retailer. Blockchain would enable traceability, tracking a product from the original sale. Interestingly, Walmart is also exploring a blockchain-based resales concept.

  • Grabbing Grey Market Sales: TrueFacet has become the first e-commerce platform for jewellery and watches to sell certified refurbished goods in partnership with brands. The seven launch partners include Raymond WeilFabergé and Frederique Constant. The scheme helps brands remove inventory from unofficial ‘grey market’ channels and ensure a high-grade experience for first-time, younger buyers (pre-owned goods include a new manufacturer’s warranty). TrueFacet shares data with participating brands to help them determine which products to list.  

    Once seen as soiling a brand’s luxury allure, the pre-owned sector is coming to be regarded as an opportunity for watch brands. In June, Swiss luxury group Richemont announced its acquisition of UK second-hand retailer Watchfinder. Meanwhile, Swiss brand Audemars Piguet is planning to start selling pre-owned watches in its domestic outlets this year – potentially expanding the initiative into the US and Japan. Customers would be able to trade in watches for credit towards new ones.

  • Facilitating Customer Trading: US outdoors brand REIa retail co-op that offers $20 lifetime memberships, will introduce periodic “gear swaps” for members at select stores this autumn. REI has also expanded the used gear and apparel website it began testing 10 months ago – a trial it says was “successful beyond expectation”.
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Published: 30 Aug 2018

Levi’s Customisation Pop-Up Predicts Denim Retail’s Future

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Levi’s is targeting custom-hungry customers at its 10-week, invite-only pop-up in Los Angeles. Shoppers use the brand’s FLX laser-printing system to design their dream jeans in minutes.

The pop-up smartly plays to consumer demand for semi-bespoke products – 70% of US shoppers will pay more for personalised goods (TimeTrade, 2017). Shoppers use an iPad app to arrange their desired design features, such as fading and rips, onto the denim. The FLX laser printer creates the order in minutes, and the jeans are then washed and ready within an hour. 

The process resembles Adidas’ Knit For You pop-up in Berlin, where shoppers worked with designers to create an entirely unique sweater (see blog). But Levi’s limits personalisation to embellishments only, making the technology easier to scale. The denim company hopes to install customisation kiosks in its stores for 2019, and it’s not the only name making such a move. Earlier this year, Danish shoe brand Ecco launched in-store 3D-printing for personalised insoles (see blog).

As highlighted in our report Democratised Design, the introduction of creative technologies, particularly in-store, offers brands unique opportunities for consumer engagement. But by allowing shoppers to design their own jeans, Levi’s also offers a more sustainable product. 

As discussed in the Finishing Salons section of our report Brand Spaces, 2018/19, on-demand personalisation concepts reduce waste by letting consumers determine what they want on an as-needed basis. Laser printing also cuts down on harmful dyes, which account for 31% of emissions in denim production (Levi Strauss, 2018). The denim industry is projected to be worth $87bn by 2023 (PYMNTS, 2018). 

The Los Angeles pop-up runs until October 10 2018. For more inspiration on customisable retail, see Retail’s Spirit of Adventure in our Macro Trend Active Lives.

Published: 28 Aug 2018

Is Citizen Delivery the Future of Errands?

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Retailers are tapping citizen shoppers to make deliveries on behalf of their neighbours

Consumers are demanding swift deliveries, as explored in our report Last Mile: Retail’s Delivery Focus. To speed up local transactions, retailers are tapping citizen shoppers to make deliveries on behalf of their neighbours, using karma and commissions as incentives. We highlight four key companies.

  • Grouping Groceries: Estimates suggest 70% of groceries will be purchased online by 2024 (FMI and Nielsen, 2018) – and supermarkets are leveraging their consumers to maximise manpower and efficiency. 

    French chain Carrefour has introduced the Merci Voisin platform, which lets shoppers request products for others to view and deliver. Customers are incentivised with a small commission based on the size of each order.

    Similarly, Belgian retail group Colruyt has developed Apporto to encourage customers to deliver groceries to those who can’t make it to a store. Shoppers choose their delivery window, then submit their grocery list either via an app or a telephone operator – a wise concession for older consumers, or anyone with limited smartphone access.

  • Delivery Marketplace: Milan’s Supermercato24 has created an independent digital marketplace that uses citizen shoppers to collect items from local chains. This operating model taps the gig economy, while its open approach – working across all supermarkets – recognises Italy’s highly regional grocery landscape.

  • Crowdsourced Errands: Thirty-three per cent of millennial shoppers complain that it takes too long to receive online orders (Radial, 2018). To alleviate this gripe, Minneapolis start-up Runerra, which participated in Target’s incubator programme, has engineered an app that encourages neighbours to pick up products for each other when running errands.

    “We aren't creating a new behaviour – we're taking advantage of an existing one,” Bharat Pulgam, chief executive of Runerra, told Stylus. The company plans to complement existing routines with tools that drive traffic to local businesses – a move that encourages community support.
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