retail

Macy's Dials Up Omnichannel Strategy Ahead of Holiday Shopping Blitz

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 17, 2014 01:29 PM

Macy’s is making a bigger investment in omnichannel retail technology ahead of the major holiday shopping season by creating a more personalized and interactive shopping experience for consumers in-store, online and on mobile devices. 

A pioneer in the implementation of RFID technology, Macy's will be rolling out shopBeacons to all of its locations across the US and will be expanding its partnership with Shopkick to drive consumer engagement in-store. 

“Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s remain committed to operating at the forefront of innovation, as well as fostering a locally relevant shopping experience in every store,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman and CEO of Macy's, in a press release. “We are a multi-faceted retailer with stores, technology, Internet capability and mobile access that come together for our customers. They are at the center of all our decisions, and our ongoing research and development will continue to help us understand how to personally engage with them.”Continue reading...

fashion week

Tech Takes the Runway as Brands Differentiate with Digital Displays

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 10, 2014 07:28 PM

The real star of Fashion Week 2014 is digital innovation. 

Ralph Lauren showcased his Spring 2015 collection, including his Polo line for women, with a water-screen projection above Manhattan’s Central Park, along with a film celebrating New York City. And while the theatrical display may have made the designs and the models wearing them secondary, RL's feat was an impressive entrant into a fashion celebration that has turned its attention to tech

Elsewhere in New York, Samsung used its sponsored backstage lounge to showcase its latest mobile and wearable tech innovations, including the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge and Gear VR, while Burberry created interactive billboards in New York, London and Paris that allowed smartphone users to see their initials inscribed on a digital bottle of the brand's new My Burberry perfume.

Around the world, adidas used Berlin Fashion Week to launch footwear selfies using its newest customization app that lets fans adorn the brand’s ZX FLUX sneakers with personal photos.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Time's Up: Apple Unveils Larger iPhones, Wows with Apple Watch and Payments

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 9, 2014 05:15 PM

Today, at what seemed like its largest press event ever, Apple unveiled the future of communication—and it's beautiful. 

CEO Tim Cook took the stage after countless brand fans and media kept their eye on a countdown clock on Apple's website, effortlessly building anticipation for a product launch that many have been counting on for the last year. And in true Apple fashion—minimalist introductory video and slideshow presentations, live demos and a parade of Apple executives not to mention U2—the brand introduced what everyone had been waiting for: two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus; a new payment platform, Apple Pay; and the highly-anticipated Apple Watch

After years—decades, really, in tech time—of shunning the "bigger is better" trend in mobile, Apple unveiled not one, but two new iPhones, both of which offer a larger screen experience. But the two new phones turned out to be perhaps the least ground-breaking announcement of the day.Continue reading...

social commerce

Following Facebook, Twitter Expands E-Commerce Efforts with Buy Button

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 9, 2014 11:28 AM

Twitter has dipped a big toe into e-commerce, launching a “Buy” button in the hopes of creating a new and robust revenue stream beyond advertising. The move follows a similar test by Facebook, and precedes what many expect to be an announcement from Apple today about a new mobile commerce platform.

The Buy button launched with an exclusive crop of brand partners, from musicians to retailers, including Eminem, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, GLAAD, RED, the Home Depot and Burberry.

Embedded in posts for a small number of Twitter users, the button gives access to limited-edition or time-sensitive products. According to Twitter's announcement, “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun."Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Toothpaste Gets the Uber Treatment as Car Service Tests Same-Day Delivery

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 21, 2014 04:47 PM

In an instant-gratification world filled with consumers who, like Veruca Salt before them, want everything right this very second, major brands have engaged in a battle to be the fastest and most-efficient at bringing them whatever they desire.

But while Amazon, Google and Walmart have been duking it out for a while, smaller, and perhaps more nimble brands are set to disrupt the same-day delivery fray. The latest master of delivery (of both people and things) is Uber, which is currently testing a delivery service in Washington D.C. 

The car-service app is testing a new service called Corner Store that "lets users request more than 100 common items like allergy medicine, diapers, toothpaste right through the app,” according to PC Magazine. In addition, to boost business, it has now allowed other apps, such as Starbucks, Hyatt, and United Airlines to add in an Uber button to their apps.Continue reading...

e-commerce

Walmart.com Gets a Mobile-First Facelift to Take On Amazon

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 5, 2014 02:07 PM

For years now, Amazon has dominated the e-commerce sector, swatting away attempts to eat into its business like King Kong taking swings at the planes surrounding him on the Empire State Building. 

Finally, Amazon meets its Godzilla. Despite a less than positive outlook from big box investors, Walmart is taking its best step forward to do battle with the online retailer by completely rebuilding its website to make it more accessible, especially for mobile users, and more personalized. Consumers can find seven million products on the site, some of which will be offered up “based on a consumer’s shopping history, his or her location and the weather outside,” according to SiliconBeat.

Walmart's new president and CEO Doug McMillon has made challenging Amazon and building out e-commerce a priority—spending $500 million on e-commerce in 2013 and another $150 million this year—and the effort is starting to pay off. For the first time, Walmart's online sales growth outpaced Amazon's in 2013, the Wall Street Journal reported. Of course, Amazon's sales still dwarf those of Walmart by tens of billions of dollars.Continue reading...

retail

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...

retail

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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