Best Global Green Brands 2014

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Rent the Runway Sets Up (Permanent) Shop in New York's Flatiron

Posted by Brittany Waterson on August 18, 2014 11:26 AM

Rent the Runway, the unique startup turned major e-commerce success that "rents" designer dresses and accessories for a fraction of the retail price, is opening its first permanent brick and mortar location in New York's Flatiron district. Opening September 3, the store will host over 200 designers and an ever-changing selection of hundreds of dresses and accessories. 

Founded in 2009 by Harvard Business School alum Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, the site offers up designs from Diane von Furstenberg, Moschino, Kate Spade and more on its online platform. But as omnichannel retail becomes increasingly important to sustained success, Rent the Runway is joining brands like Birchbox, Warby Parker and Kate Spade Saturday in opening physical retail stops to capture consumer attention.Continue reading...

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Target, Finally Getting Canada, is Really Sorry

Posted by Dale Buss on August 15, 2014 10:01 AM

Target says it's got some of its biggest problems in Canada figured out and has begun to reverse them with a three-pronged turnaround plan that will focus on the chain's supply chain, pricing and merchandise selection in an attempt to turn around an important geographic expansion that has gone badly awry.

The chain has been facing a number of problems lately, including the monumental data breach last December and a loss of much of its overall brand mojo in the US, and those problems helped lead to the departure of CEO Gregg Steinhafel earlier this year.

But the problems in Canada—where Target massively launched last year by opening 124 stores and three distribution centers—led to a loss of nearly $1 billion as sales fell short of expectations and rivals pummeled the retailer.

Now, new Target Canada boss Mark Schindele is insisting that the new initiatives will improve its business performance, pricing and inventory issues and deliver the Target brand experience to Canadian customers.Continue reading...

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New Balance Tests Real-Time Commerce for 880v4 Launch

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 13, 2014 06:26 PM

New Balance, the proud made-in-America shoe maker, is deploying digital in an all new way for the release of its latest sneaker. Instead of pushing more online deals, New Balance will use video to encourage consumers to show up in actual stores across the country.

According to Adweek, the company will be hosting “mini red carpet events” in 50 running stores across the US on Thursday that will feature “a video experience that helps launch the new 880v4 athletic running shoe.”

The shoes will be unveiled with the help of a live video feed from BrandLive, a real-time video and commerce platform that has been previously used by the PGA and other major brands to host events. The video, broadcast live from New Balance headquarters in Boston, will feature a live Q&A with brand executives who will answer questions about the new running shoe series.Continue reading...

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With Unique Brands and Products, Subscription Services Have the Spotlight

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 5, 2014 07:54 PM

Subscription services are all the rage these days, and no wonder why: "You can acquire a customer once and potentially keep him for life as long as you provide a service or product that he wants and values," said Alex Zhardanovsky, co-founder PetFlow.com, which calls the retail model "the holy grail." 

More recent subscription success stories include Dollar Shave Club and HelloFlo, both of which found a niche and have rocketed to success. With affordable, quality products and a rocking brand story to match, it's no secret why the startups have found immense success in the overcrowded personal care industry.   

Interestingly, HelloFlo, which was bootstrapped by former American Express marketing director Naama Bloom, partners with P&G to supply feminine products—the same CPG giant that Dollar Shave Club is challenging with its low-cost, high-quality razors. On track to make $60 million in sales in 2014, Dollar Shave Club accounts for 6 percent of the US razor cartridge market, according to AdAge, and it only has plans to expand.Continue reading...

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Aeropostale Crops Its Brand to Reveal Younger, Fresher AERO

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 4, 2014 01:46 PM

Aeropostale is just the latest former cool kids brand to give itself a facelift in light of increasing competition from fast fashion brands including Forever 21, H&M and Uniqlo. 

The clothing retailer has launched Aero Now with a campaign that shows off the brand's new visual and verbal identity in stores, with AERO now its name on its stores, on its website (even if the URL aero.com is already claimed) and across mobile and social media (as Mobile Commerce Daily noted) that's timed to this week's back-to-school push across North American retail.

Its new positioning is summarized in the tagline, "You've changed, so we've changed" — which hints at the major restructuring underway at the brand.Continue reading...

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Luxury Retailers are Slow to Invest in Omnichannel Evolution

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 1, 2014 11:41 AM

Showrooming, the scourge of retailers, has been replaced by webrooming—a welcome trend. But many retailers are not taking full advantage of the shift in consumer behavior and are losing sales by not providing adequate inventory resources online.

“Most luxury brands are at least several years out from putting in place the back-end investments that enable inventory visibility across channels,” said Claude de Jocas, lead researcher of a new report from L2. “As a result, brands have ignored omnichannel for the time being, relying entirely on the efforts of their distribution partners."

Surveying the initiatives of 100 retailers across apparel and accessories, beauty, big box, department stores, home, sportswear and watches and jewelry to drive customers “from clicks to bricks and back again,” L2 found that “some of the strongest plays in luxury have been from vertically integrated retailers that are incentivized to drive consumers into their own boutiques, such as Tiffany & Co., which offers robust online appointment booking to view engagement rings in-store."

Luxury Daily seconded, noting that "in-store sales guided by digital will likely surpass the 50 percent mark this year, and mobile will be a major engine of that growth."Continue reading...

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RadioShack Hopes Silicon Valley Can Help Boost Its Brand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 30, 2014 05:37 PM

RadioShack, still hemorrhaging cash and in danger of running out altogether before a turn-around, is rolling out 21 remodeled stores in the San Francisco Bay area in a eleventh hour attempt to counteract its steep stock decline.

"As a technology mecca, San Francisco has long been an important market for the RadioShack brand, so it makes sense to open a significant number of our interactive remodeled stores for customers in the Bay Area," said Mike DeFazio, RadioShack SVP store operations, according to the Dallas Business Journal. "These stores are built on customer feedback from more than 40 concept stores we have opened in the past year.”

The remodeled stores showcase the brand’s new Fix It Here! service for repairing mobile devices as well as products from startups and inventors like mobile-controlled robot ball Sphero. An interactive speaker wall lets customers compare and purchase speakers from in-store tablets while a headphone demo station offers up brands like Beats By Dre, Skullcandy and more.Continue reading...

retail watch

It Gets Better: Zappos Tops Itself with #AskZappos Personal Shopping Assistant

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 30, 2014 11:33 AM

Zappos is once again testing the outer limits of customer service by introducing AskZappos, a digital assistant that will locate any item—even if the company doesn’t sell it. 

In beta since June, the service is now being promoted on the brand's mobile homepage. It's the latest from Zappos Labs, so much a part of the company’s ethos that every employee trains for one month at the Las Vegas call center to ensure they understand the entire e-commerce process. To use AskZappos, consumers can text, email or tag a photo with #AskZappos on Instagram to activate the personal shopping assistant. 

"It's really easy to create those amazing experiences on the phone, but that's really hard to do online," said Zappos Labs Director Will Young, referring to the brand's all-star customer service reputation for its website. But with hopes of engaging customers in new ways, Zappos is looking to capture increasing desktop e-commerce traffic so consumers can shop and have questions answered without ever picking up the phone.Continue reading...

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