Retail Technology

This new device is built to expand the use of technology to improve the consumer’s experience in stores, or in the privacy of their own home. The new HiMirror has a camera that sits on top and has the ability to close in on your face and analyze your skin’s wrinkles, blemishes, dark spots, and even clogged pores. The mirror doubles as a computer screen and uses voice commands and responds to hand gestures while communicating. The mirror can even provide a weekly update on how your skin is aging and tell you what sunscreen to wear depending on the weather that day.

Top brands such as Ralph Lauren, and well as department stores like Bergforf Goodman, are investing in the technology. The goal is to keep consumers engaged and make them more confident in their purchases. The mirror does this by showing the customer what they would look like with a certain shade of eyeshadow or dress styles with out actually putting the outfit on.

The CEO, Simon Shen, of Kino Group was inspired to create the HiMirror after noticing his wife’s uneasy relationship with the bathroom scale. Did I mention the mirror tracks your body weight as well? Simon said that “Lots of people have questions as to weather their [skin care] products are really effective, but there’s no scientific measurements, so by every day taking pictures and [analyzing] their skin, they can understand where there is improvement in their skin condition.”

Interactive “Magic Mirrors” Are Changing How We See Ourselves—And Shop

Product Selection

Goodman Gluten Free introduces its gluten-free baked goods to Ahold USA this month, expanding its store reach to over 2,000 supermarkets since its 2015 launch.

The gluten-free market, initially targeting people with celiac disease and other gluten intolerances, has been showing up on Google trends reports for more than a decade. Since then, the trend has become a popular lifestyle choice for people without dietary restrictions as well, and gluten-free products are perceived as healthier — and even more premium — than traditional applications by many consumers.

The category’s broad, still-growing consumer base makes it a lucrative space for food manufacturers to expand into. Bob Goodman, who’s been associated with the bakery industry for 40 years, seems to have created a gluten-free line at just the right time.

Goodman Gluten Free’s addition of three new gluten-free product lines also suggests confidence in the staying power of this food trend, giving manufacturers who haven’t yet dabbled in the space an opportunity to get on board. According to Packaged Facts, U.S. sales of gluten-free products, estimated at $973 million in 2014, are expected to top $2 billion by 2019.

In-Store Bakeries Add More Gluten Free Options


Adidas has launched a new sneaker with a 3D-printed sole that they plan to mass-produce next year, part of a broader push by the German sportswear firm to react faster to changing fashions and create more customized products.

Adidas already lets people customize the color and pattern of shoes ordered online but new 3D printing methods will make small production runs, limited edition shoes and even soles designed to fit an individual’s weight and gait economical. Rivals Nike, Under Armour and New Balance have also been experimenting with 3D printing but have so far only used the technique to make prototypes, soles tailored for sponsored athletes and a handful of high-priced novelty shoes.

Normally 3D-printing is slower and more expensive but Adidas says its new partnership with Silicon Valley start-up Carbon allows it to overcome many of those difficulties to produce a sole that can rival one made by an injection mould, and at a speed and price that allow for mass production.

Adidas Will Mass-Produce a 3D-Printed Shoe

Supply Chain

Retailers and logistics companies have been opening warehouses at a record pace to ensure online orders reach customers as quickly as possible. Now they’re struggling to find workers to staff them.

Amazon Inc., Walmart Inc. and other e-commerce giants rely on armies of “pickers” to grab items off warehouse shelves and prep them for shipment. For years they’ve drawn from a seemingly limitless pool of people willing to take these jobs, which can be grueling but require little training or education.

Starting pay for warehouse workers rose 6% over the past year to $12.15 an hour in February, according to an analysis by ProLogistix, a logistics staffing firm. Hourly earnings rose 2.8% across all professions over the same period, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Booming sales mean e-commerce operations have to ship more items faster, and pay increases are imposing new costs. It estimates a $1-an-hour wage increase can raise labor costs by more than $2 million a year at “big box” warehouses employing as many as 1,000 workers.

Rising labor costs are speeding up the pace of automation and influencing where new warehouses are built. And as poaching becomes a bigger threat, employers are trying to make picker jobs more attractive, with perks like employee barbecues and holiday breakfasts, as well as more-flexible shifts.

Online Retailers’ New Warehouses Heat Up Local Job Markets


Business Insider is forecasting that in the U.S. alone mobile payments volume will increase to $503 billion by 2020 and will be used by 56 percent of the consumer population during that year. Meanwhile, Sweden, Singapore, the Netherlands, France, Canada, Belgium and the U.K. are already on their way to becoming cashless societies – with Australia, Brazil, India and much of Africa following suit.

While there are still barriers and limitations, such as security concerns and limited number of compatible vendors, digital wallets, and mobile payments are not only changing how we pay for goods and services, they also have the power to go beyond payments because of how they’re constantly being evolved – which is going to be important for both businesses and customers.

Today, however, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding digital wallets and mobile payments since these terms are interchanged so frequently. To be clear, a digital wallet is simply tokenization of data. While digital wallets are often associated with payments, they can be used to issue digital rewards, tickets or boarding passes, room keys, or identification.

For customers, digital wallets and mobile payments can replace carrying around a bulky wallet. Besides being a minor hassle, you no longer have to be concerned if you forgot your cash, credit card, or ID at home. All that information is stored on your smartphone. And, unlike your wallet, you probably never leave home without your phone.

Cashless Society

Gender Equality

REI has broken down barriers of social norms once again. First REI focused on their ‘Opt Outside’ campaign, closing stores on Black Friday, and encouraging people to hit the outdoors. Now REI is taking a stance on gender equality with their new campaign, “Force of Nature,” a commitment to making women the prime focus of the company’s nonprofit investments, gear development, and marketing for the rest of 2017.

According to research done by REI, 72% of women say they feel liberated or free when they are outdoors, but only 32% describe themselves as “outdoorsy.” One of the most cited reasons for this is the primarily male-dominated news, social media, and marketing around the outdoor industry.

REI Is Taking The Fight For Gender Equality Outside

Store Formats

Starbucks Corporate is making three big changes to their headquarters in Seattle, including the addition of the company’s first store that only takes mobile orders and payments.

Because of the success of the mobile order and pay platform, which has recently created a bottleneck at some locations, Starbucks has been thinking of new ways to meet the increased demand. This new store that only takes mobile orders and payments is an early experiment the company expects to learn from, Adams wrote in the letter. The new store will serve all of the mobile orders from employees in the building.

The store in the lobby, called SoDo Lobby, will close April 7 and reopen as the company’s first-ever Starbucks Reserve Store. While the lobby is under construction, the Support Center will have a Starbucks mobile truck outside the building, “so that there can be a gathering place for partners (employees) and customers, outside, during the much-anticipated warmer weather of Seattle’s Summer,” Adams wrote in the letter to employees.

Big Changes Coming to Starbucks Headquarter 

Retail Technology

Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Cash, a new service that allows consumers to add cash to their balance by showing a barcode at a participating retailer, then having the cash applied immediately to their online Amazon account. The service will support adding any amount between $15 and $500 in a single transaction, Amazon says.

Like PayPal, Amazon Cash is also meant to appeal to the same general demographic who may not yet be shopping online – those who get paid in cash, don’t have a bank account or debit card, and who don’t use credit cards. This “cash customer” (the unbanked or “underbanked) accounts for around 27 percent of consumers, said a 2015 report from the FDIC.

While they may have money to spend online at times, there isn’t an easy way to do so. Until today, they would have to but an Amazon Gift Card in a designated amount or add cash to prepaid payment cards, to be used at checkout. More broadly, the service could appeal to anyone who just wants to deposit some cash in their account, without hassle.

Amazon Launches Amazon Cash

More Retail Technology

Inventory management solutions provider Avery Dennison has announced a global partnership with Target focused on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology as part of the retailer’s ongoing deployment of RFID across more than 1,600 locations.

It’s interesting that throughout last year Target didn’t offer many specifics at all about how its effort to bring RFID into all of its locations was going. Then, just before 2016 ended, Target touted RFID and related technology investments as helping it improve its buy online, pick-up in-store program and contribute to its third quarter 2016 sales increase.

It would just be nice to know what’s really happening with Target’s RFID deployment. RFID is a technology that has major implications in both the supply chain and on the store floor in the years to come. It can help retailers be more accurate and efficient about managing inventory, can help them prevent loss from theft and ultimately can create more positive experiences and results for shoppers. Target could undeniably claim a leadership role in this movement if it talked a little more about what it is actually doing.

Target Taps Avery Dennison for Massive RFID Project

Retail Market

Lululemon shared its fourth quarter earnings, indicating slowed growth that concerned some investors and pointed to a possible shift in the athleisure market. In an investors call, Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin attributed the slowed growth to “an assortment lacking color,” referring to a product roster of plain and dull styles that failed to entice consumers. However, he noted that the company is still on pace to double sales to $4 billion by 2020.

It’s indicative of the increased competition within the expanding athleisure market. According to data from Edited, at the end of last year, the best-selling leggings were dominated by brands like Adidas by Stella McCartney and Zara, rather than Lululemon.

Gabrielle Porcaro, senior fashion and marketing editor at Women’s Health, said the evolution of the health and wellness space is leading women to try new things, which increasingly may mean brands other than Lululemon.

“As women have become more knowledgeable about the fitness market, and now that there are sites like Bandier and Carbon 38 to introduce them to brands at similar prices points, women could be trying out new things,” she said. “They also could be experimenting beyond basic black and trying brands that offer increasingly fashion-forward, flashy and risk-taking prints and colors.”

Michelle Watson, founder of upscale athleisure company Michi, said in order to bolster growth, Lululemon will need to focus on new offerings that still appeal to its brand identity and shopper demographic.

What Lululemon’s Market Shift Means for Athleisure


Tech giant Samsung Electronics plans to sell refurbished versions of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, the company said late on Monday, signaling the return of the model pulled from markets last year because of fire-prone batteries. Samsung’s Note 7s were permanently scrapped in October after some phones self-combusted, prompting a global recall roughly two months after the launch of the near-$900 devices. A subsequent investigation found manufacturing problems in batteries supplied by two companies – Samsung SDI Co and Amperex Technology.

Analysis from Samsung and independent researchers found no other problems in the Note 7 devices except the batteries, raising speculation that Samsung will recoup some of its losses by selling refurbished Note 7s.

Samsung’s announcement that revamped Note 7s will go back on sale, however, surprised some with the timing – only days before it launches its new S8 smartphone on Wednesday in the United States, its first new premium phone since the debacle last year. Under pressure to turn its image around after the burning battery scandal, Samsung had previously not commented on its plans for recovered phones.

Samsung Plans to Sell Refurbished Galaxy Note7

Retail Technology

A growing number of women, like Parkes and Berzowska, are getting involved with wearable startups. They are bringing a new sense of possibility to the industry as a whole. “Yes, more women might be joining. But what you’re seeing is that wearable devices need differentiation,” Parkes says. “Tech does need fashion to make better products… they are trying to reach across the aisle more on both sides. It was kind of a wakeup when Fossil bought [fitness tracker brand] Misfit.”

The wearable tech industry is facing a sort of midlife crisis. Although there is growing market for wearables, stocks for industry leaders like Fitbit have taken a sharp downturn. Studies seem to disprove the idea that fitness devices consistently help people lose weight. However, there is a sector of the industry that is still attracting new pools of customers: wearables for women’s health.

These high-tech pendants do more than track physical activity and sleep like regular fitness devices. They can keep tabs on users’ mental health by monitoring physical symptoms of stress and track their menstrual cycles, too.For mental health concerns, the device goes the extra mile, connecting to a corresponding app with guided meditation exercises and data timelines that help users plan to proactively manage stress.

High-tech fashion could be a huge part of preventative treatment in the near future. “A lot of the indicators of disease are really about when do you notice a change,” Parkes adds. “The buildup of data is what allows us to make that comparison.”

Designers Are Hacking Women’s Health With Wearable Tech

Brick and Mortar

Amazon is continuing to change the game of retail. Amazon is testing out Amazon Fresh Pickup in the Seattle area allowing customers to order groceries online, then set a time for pickup as soon as 15 minutes after they place the order. At an AmazonFresh pickup location, employees will load the groceries into customers’ cars. Amazon says customers can order thousands of groceries including meat, dairy, and fresh produce.

Amazon’s Drive Up Grocery Service

Consumer Trends

Experts say it’s probably safe to assume grocery e-commerce won’t overtake in-store shopping, but it begs the question: Who is buying their milk, bread and produce online these days?

According to NPD Group, a market research firm, more than 40 percent of primary grocery shoppers are men, and 60 percent of them – those in the millennial and Gen Z group between the ages of 18-44 – have bought their groceries online.

Other trends that NPD noticed that men tend to make grocery shopping a “mission” and spend the least amount of in the physical store. Also the increase of people delaying marriage or other family formation to focus on a career are the majority of internet users. Therefore they’re more likely to be the online shopper retailers should focus on.
Why Millennial Men Are More Likely to Grocery Shop Online


Walmart announced on Monday that it had formed Store No. 8, an internal venture meant to hatch new online retail businesses. It is the latest sign that Walmart is trying to revamp its e-commerce playbook. That effort began in earnest last year, with the acquisition of Jet. And last week, Walmart struck a deal to buy ModCloth, an online purveyor of trendy women’s clothing.

Behind the strategic shift has been a recognition that Walmart, long dominant in the world of physical retailing, has fallen far behind in the business of selling goods online — and particularly far behind Amazon.

Store No. 8 is somewhat like corporate venture arms at other companies and will be charged with identifying emerging technologies that could prove useful. But rather than simply taking stakes in existing ventures, the new division is intended to help create new start-ups. It will also strike strategic partnerships with other promising young e-commerce companies.

Walmart Expands Its E-Commerce Ambitions


There’s no doubt that the fashion industry is changing. While, for some of us, it may not be changing as quickly as we’d like, there is proof that consumer behavior is shifting, the role of the designer is growing and technology is at the forefront. There are some exciting fashion projects to watch for in 2017.

Experts are really looking forward to growing collaboration with The Renewal Workshop, a company that collects old clothes, renews them to be resold. Levi, Patagonia and other companies are teaming up with multiple brands to present new ways of thinking about the lifecycle of the clothes we wear.

“From yeast-based synthetic spider silk to hybrid fabrics that convert solar power and movement into electricity, fashion innovation will continue to soar to new heights in the new year. But I think that more low-tech pursuits such as knitting, crocheting, and sewing will also see a resurgence, particularly in these uncertain political times, when getting down to brass tacks and working with our hands will bring a more visceral level of comfort.”Jasmin Malik Chua, Managing Editor of Ecouterre 

“Some of the companies that stand out right now are Girlfriend Collective that opted out of traditional advertising and used their budget to get their product into the hands of their customers. Peche Lingerie is pushing the boundaries of the lingerie industry by making undergarments for every “body” and defying gender norms. And then there’s mompreneur brand SproutFit that is challenging traditional sizing for infants and toddlers by making garments adjust as the baby grows.” –Shannon Lohr, Founder of Factory45

Sustainable Fashion Projects to Watch in 2017


Counterfeiters have sold faulty or discounted versions of authentic goods on Amazon, prompting lawsuits, including one from Apple Inc., against merchants on the site. Shoppers, brands or Amazon itself can flag counterfeit goods via the brand registry, which the company developed in 2016. Amazon is also offering brands a program called “Transparency,” which lets them label packages with a code so shoppers can cross-check their purchase against official information.

Amazon is now expanding the process to remove counter fit goods from their website to assure brand owners that online retailers are of benefit to the company’s success, not a threat.

As early as next month, any brand can register its logo and intellectual property with Amazon so the e-commerce company can take down listings and potentially seller accounts when counterfeits are flagged, Peter Faricy, vice president of Amazon Marketplace, said in an interview on Monday.

Amazon Expands Counterfeit Removal Program


Instagram is unveiling new features to prove how often its app drives sales.In a few months, Facebook-owned Instagram will let users directly book services like haircuts. Not only will the transactions occur on the platform, it will show companies how much business is deriving from their presence on the app.

Additional in-app profile features will also allow people to find directions, call and email the businesses. The company is also adding new insights to its business dashboard so brands can see the physical actions people are taking after seeing their Instagram ads. Companies are taking advantage of social media advertising, but Snapchat is still experimental. Business’ are using snapchat to target the younger audience, but Snapchat does not provide ROI. By offering these tools to help advertisers measure ROI, Instagram could steal some ad dollars away from Snap.

Competition For Digital Advertising Dollars Heats Up


This Retail Rundown is all about understanding millennials. This dynamic market seems like it has sprung up overnight challenging the market because it is different from other generations. Millennials have introduced new market strategies and are challenging retailer’s future decisions like never before. Why are millennials so different? What makes them latch onto trends and what are those trends? We’ve compiled a few articles to help answer these big questions and we’re curious to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below and join the conversation millions are talking about.


Millennials are a generation making an impact on every aspect of business. They are the talk of the market and are forcing marketers to ask bigger questions in order to target their needs. But what makes millennials so different? Forbes has recognized five trends that marketers must understand to channel this new diverse generation.

  1. Millennials are a Mindset. Millennials are ages 18 to 34, but age or income is not what sets them apart. It is their mindset and their world views that have drastically changed the market. Their world views tend to focus more on individual expression and a sense of disruption rather than following rules defined by preceding generations.
  2. Millennials Crave Freedom. Since this generation has not been in the work environment for very long, it has been made clear that they are not big believers in rules and restrictions. Millennial’s central way of thinking is to expand, move, and learn their true identity in all aspects of their lives. Give millennials the freedom to make their own choices and provide the co-operative state that they are craving.
  3. Millennials Seek Service. They’re after service that is individualized, personal and fast so they can continue to move. Their desire for service is so great that across the the United States marketers have seen a shift towards a service-based economy.
  4. They Back Causes. Almost 40% of millennials say they will support a brand or company that is doing good in the world. The popularity in philanthropic service is growing. Business owners and companies are learning how to ensure they are making a difference while competing with other companies trying to achieve the same.
  5. They Have Diverse Interests. Social media has introduced a new way of targeting specific interest and allowed marketers to identify the interest of their audience like never before. The diverse interest are often contradictory or temporary, meaning they remain marketing enigmas.

5 Trends Marketers Need To See In Millennials

Consumer Habits

In 2015, Adidas was underperforming top rival Nike (NKE, +0.07%) in the key U.S. sportswear market and even found itself confronting headlines that it was trailing Under Armour (UA), a far smaller upstart brand. Despite recent sales woes because of design misfires, the German sportswear company could be cool again. Adidas North America President, Mark King, laid out a simple strategy: focus more on running, basketball, and the stylish everyday wear “originals” business. He also vowed to report double-digit sales growth in the region.

Growth has been fueled by many of the key levers that King called out, including a 60% increase in sales for “originals” and running footwear for the first half of the year. Ever since Kanye West left Nike and started working with Adidas, the company has seen tremendous growth. With release of the YEEZY BOOST, Arthur Hoeld said “No one transcends music and fashion like Kanye West. … The YEEZY BOOST is the first sneaker that brings Kanye’s unique creativity and individuality to the forefront of its design.”  It wasn’t just the partnership with rapper Kanye West that made the company “cool” overnight, it was the innovation efforts Adidas made in designing on-trend silhouettes, new apparel fabrics and use of innovative technology. Adidas has listened to society and culture by turning athletic gear into a fashion statement.

Why Adidas Is Outperforming Nike, Under Armour

Future of Women

Millennials have been recognized to care more about specific causes and are beginning to see the importance of certain political issues. This previous week we celebrated International Women’s Day. It is important for women to be proactive and to own your path (if not you, then who?) and approach your current opportunity or next move with a level of urgency and diligence.

The retail industry is one that tends to be dominated by females and young women today are taking ownership of their own career path as never before. There are three things people should recognize about the future of women. 1) More women are prepared to pave their path right out of college, they know what they want but they must figure out how. 2) Women are seeking a higher level of engagement. It is important to put down the phone, engage, and be hungry to learn. And 3) Women no longer should do it by themselves. Seek out and network with other women. Have them help you take leaps, not steps.

With women making up 44.2% of the workforce, the future is looking bright. It’s important not only to reflect on what has been done to accelerate diversity on a global scale, but to take action to ensure it continues.

Empowering Women 


Urban Outfitters recently leveraged geographical information to better understand users’ behaviors and strategically use different messaging channels like push notifications, email and in-app messages, resulting in a 146% increase in revenue and 75% gain in conversions.  “Our goal is to provide better experiences for our audience in this competitive landscape,” said Andrew Rauch, Senior Director of Global Digital Marketing at Urban Outfitters, adding that campaign location data improved communication with the targeted audience.

Beyond the numbers, Urban Outfitters also gained insights that improved its messaging targeting for individual recipients within the campaign. With the growth in mobile there’s an entire new tactic based around mobile moments, or those points during the day when a marketers can provide value to targeted customers who are using their phones.

How Urban Outfitters leveraged location marketing


This new generation is savvier and more educated. They turn to their handheld devices to meet all their needs. Whether it be hailing a ride through the Uber app or ordering a breakfast burrito through the Seamless app, technology is how they get things done. They are plugged into their devices and are disrupting traditional purchasing patterns.

The convenience of the mobile device is paramount to this group. The relentless focus on perfecting technology has set a new standard across the industry that millennials now accept as the norm. Retailers must be able to provide streamlined, user-friendly systems and processes in order to retain the millennial. For example, retailers such as Starbucks are winning over millennial consumers with their mobile wallets – apps developed by stores which make it easier for customers to pay with additional perks.

In order to appeal to this generation, retailers need to provide a seamless customer-facing retail experience. Whether this is online or in-store, millennials seek customer service professionals who understand their preferences and make recommendations tailored to their specific needs.

Mobile devices and technology may be an integral piece of their life, but this young generation values traditional experiences. They shop, but they also want activities such as movies and dining. They demonstrated this over the holidays when they spent an average of $220 on these activities – more than Generation X or Baby Boomers. Experience over items.

Changing Retail Patterns


Global Retailing

Starbucks Corp., setting up shop in Italy for the first time, will open a Roastery location in Milan next year, turning to its upscale brand to gain a foothold in the country that birthed espresso.

The 25,500-square-foot (2,370-square-meter) retail space will open in a historic post office in the city’s center in late 2018, about a year later than Starbucks had planned to enter the Italian market. The store will feature small-batch coffees as well as products from Italian baker Rocco Princi, the exclusive food provider for new Roasteries globally. It will also serve alcohol.

“Coming to Italy — strategically, it’s not the biggest market in the world,” Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua in Milan. “But it’s the most important market for me personally and for the company. Why? Because the Italians mastered coffee way before Starbucks.”

Starbucks enters Italian market for first time

Supply Chain Management

Santa Monica-based startup Happy Returns staffs “Return Bars” at mall kiosks and concierge stations with “Returnistas” who accept items bought online, satisfy return conditions of individual retailers, package and post them, and furnish refunds on the spot.  The majority of returners end up spending those refunds before leaving the mall.

In a survey of online shoppers during six-month pilot test with the online retailer Tradesy, seven out of 10 of them told Happy Returns that they would not have visited the mall except to return their purchases. Asked if they planned to shop, eat, or see a movie while at the mall, 44% responded in the affirmative.

Big malls working to become online returns locations to drive traffic

Consumer Trends

As more sales get pushed through online channels, retailers are also recognizing that brick-and-mortar is still an important channel. Researchers believe that brick-and- mortar will always have a presents even though consumer trends are consistently changing. Retailers have changed their marketing strategies and are spending more money advertising on social media platforms to target millennials.  Flip through Fung Global Retail and Technology’s Consumer Analysis in the U.S. to see how apparel and footwear have been affected by industry changes.


Retailers are consistently looking for new trends and methods on how to market to consumers. Humans are probably the type of consumer that comes to mind, but did you know that the pet aisle has a value of nearly $20 billion? Pet care is a consumer trend that is growing fast and something of which retailers should take note.  Pet specialty stores like, PetSmart have introduced a new consumer called a ‘Pet Parent’ and recognized that these customers are spending more on their pets. According to Nielsen Insights, “the pet care category triggers more trips to the grocery store than any other category, with 57% of pet care category needs prompting a shopping trip.” Grocery stores are reaping the benefits from these necessary shopping trip by creating more foot traffic in stores.

Pet care may be just one category, but it’s a category that isn’t going away. By recognizing new consumer trends, retailers can control and drive customers to make purchases they wouldn’t have otherwise made. When people walk through a store, there is a path with multiple products that lead them to the ones they came to purchase. The increase in pet care shopping trips have increased store traffic and increased other categories typically found in grocery stores.

Humans are not the only consumers

Retail Innovation

Retailers are constantly innovating and, for many, it may seem overwhelming to keep up.  What is the newest ways that retailers are connecting with customers?  What are the newest ways that retailers are employing technology within all facets of their operations?  What are the newest ways that retailers are identifying new products and markets to exploit?  At the speed that answers to these questions are coming, it is not surprising that many retailers are worried that they are just falling behind.  Some competitor is already doing this or that.  Well, STORES has put together a list of 20 important tactics that are not too late to steal.

As this linked article explains, “Retailers small and large have had a banner season of creatively making things work in this increasingly demanding industry — and many of their inspired concepts can be scaled up or down to fit other companies. Here we celebrate their successes while broadening the guest list of possibility.”  So, click on this link and read up on these innovations.

STORES list of 20 innovations worth stealing

Work/Life Balance

New to the workforce and already stressed out? Some people think that since young people are likely lower down on corporate ladder, the lack of huge responsibilities would make work/life balance easier. We may not have as much responsibility as the CEO, but we also have less control over our own career. If you’re feeling weighed down by the amount of hours you’re spending in a cubicle, remember that you deserve a work life balance.

Stress is bad for you and can cause poor focus, increased mistakes, inability to process information quickly, time management problems, and decreased motivation. These stress induced problems can lead to a poorer work performance, but there are ways to approach these situations. Approaching your boss asking to work less can be nerve racking, but its all about the delivery.  Remember why you deserve to live a balanced work schedule and explain to your boss that you’re feeling unbalanced to a point that it’s affecting your performance, and it’s in their best interest to help you as much as they can. Make sure to keep the conversation positive, and focus on how you can help improve your team. You’re boss will find it hard to disagree.

This doesn’t mean that you quit working, you may still have to respond to an email in your off hours but communication is key to enjoying your work environment. It may not be a 50/50 split but it will feel good in the long run. Remember that work is a part of life. You deserve to be happy.

Young Professionals Finding a Work/Life Balance


Brick & Mortar

Companies like Amazon and Grubhub are challenging convenience stores to stay relevant.  7-Eleven is still one of the top convenience stores in the industry and the company has started to make big changes. The company has established its own private label brand that has a wide selection of healthy and cheap snacks. Healthy and cheap, a combination you do not hear every day. 7-Eleven is also expanding their company with technology. Smart phone growth has allowed the company to deliver food in certain locations. The locations they’re trying to target include those who grew up with the Slurpee, anywhere from offices to dorms, you can now have 7-Eleven delivered. Will this be enough to compete with bigger retailers?

How Convenient are Convenience Stores?

Retail Technology

We keep talking about the new retail technology that is supposed to create a seamless shopping experience between online and in-store shopping, but is it helping? Look at Smart Mirrors, only 18 percent out of 1000 people said that they are helpful. Retailers are starting to think that by introducing fancy technology in their stores or online, they’re giving customers what they want. What do consumers really want out of retail technology?

Consumers Don’t Want Amazon or Google to Help Them Shop


Apple, one of the most globally known brands, is set to restructure their marketing campaigns. The company’s big brand campaigns have already made their mark on consumers but the company is looking for a more efficient way to market themselves. Apple is said to be teamed up with TBWA\Media Arts Lab to create more digital ads that speak at a more regional level. Apple has yet to comment on such changes but if you look at the company’s Youtube channel, they are shorter video ads that are more compatible with platforms like Facebook, and Instagram rather than television.

Apple Shifts Global Marketing Strategy

Fashion Statement

How Nike Became A Fashion Powerhouse

Holiday of Love

Consumers are predicted to be spending less on their love ones this year. Valentine’s day has been known as a gift-giving holiday. This year, people are looking to buy their significant other an experience rather than a fancy gift. Hiking, concert tickets, or a membership are key items being purchased this holiday. Could this be the reason why people are spending ten percent less than last years’ holiday sales?

Valentine’s Day Spending

Retail Technology

Reformation, a trendy eco-friendly clothing brand, is going digital, no more mannequins. This company is ditching the mannequins and attempting to make their stores feel just like their online platform. The Los Angeles retailer is expanding into San Francisco using digital touch screens to display product and smart mirrors in fitting rooms to assist customers. The digital side of Reformation is part of their signature brand; other retailers are still experimenting with digital technology in their stores. Will this trend continue to spread?

Reformation Is Everything Digital


Walmart is trying to create a more efficient buying process to close the gap between store and online merchandise. Trying to compete with Amazon, Walmart has decided to combine online and store orders. Suppliers who sell on both platforms were taking back because the retailers normally must to place two separate orders. Walmart believes that this will create efficiency and help improve their online selection.

Walmart Is Changing Their Buying Process


Former J. Crew Executive, Todd Snyder has opened the store all men have been looking for. Todd Snyder is a menswear designer who created a fashionable one-stop shop for men. The store carries J. Crew’s men’s line and other brands to complement it. The store is very fashionable and perfectly resembles the American man’s style. The store has everything a man would need, from fashionable clothes to tailoring, it has it all. The store will also be adding a Barber Shop and Bar to give men a full experience of products and service. Men finally have a store with everything they could need to keep up with the latest trends.

Todd Snyder- Perfect Store for Men

Retail Sustainability

In 1993 Patagonia was the first company to turn recycled plastic bottles into a fleece. The company, once again, has gone to work extending the use of old clothes to lower the overall environmental footprint. The company is working with Worn Wear to collect old clothing and refurbish them to sell again. Patagonia has made the point to say that they are not concerned about losing profit if refurbished clothes are available. They’ve ran a campaign like this before and received great responses from customers. They’re main goal is to focus on each one of the R’s, reduce, reuse, recycle, one at a time.

Patagonia Wants To Refurbish Your Old Clothes

Retail Technology

Gap is implementing augmented reality on their app, DressingRoom. The San Francisco based retailer has worked with developers, Avametric and Google to create an app that allows customers to choose from five different body types and virtually try on clothes to see how they fit. Augmented Reality is the future of retail and Gap is getting a head start in the process, closing the gap between reality and a virtual world.

Gap Is Betting On The Future Of Augmented Reality Dressing Rooms


Retail stores have been and will continue to be under attack by pure play online companies as well as those fully pursuing an omni-channel strategy.  But, does this strategy – blending together physical, online, and mobile channels – really work?  A recent study shared by Harvard Business Review highlights that consumers who use multiple channels rather than just one are extremely valuable customers.  This enhanced engagement is vitally important as more traditional retailers continue their efforts to compete in this new retailing environment.

Omnichannel Retailing Really Works


Consumer shipment revenues have far transcended those in business-to-business for UPS in Q4.  E-Commerce efforts have grown so fast that United Parcel Service Inc. saw record package volumes in the fourth quarter and are expecting these numbers to rise again. The growth in demand for package delivery has led to a great deal of benefits and some challenges for the company. UPS is looking to upgrade their sorting centers and other facilities to keep up with the increasing demand E-commerce has brought to this industry.

UPS Hits Record Breaking Numbers In Q4

Supply Chain

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Retail Technology

Without the help of technology, companies would not have access to the enormous amounts of data seen in today’s industry. Walmart has created a data analytics hub, Data Cafe, to aid in faster resolutions of slumping grocery sales. The system has proved to be beneficial and more time efficient because recent transactional data can be viewed instantly. Problems are being solved faster and store operations are seeing less human error in planning and executions phases, saving the company time and money.

Walmart Uses Big Data to Boost Grocery Sales

Store Experience

With a strong force pushing for more e-commerce, store experience is just as important. Retailer are seeking different strategies on how to create a in store experience that their customers still need.  Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. has quadrupled its annual revenue since going public ten years ago and has continued to capture market share form drug store retailer to high end department stores. No other retailer allow its customers to shop from a larger selection of beauty products, get salon, brow or other services done in one location.

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Consumer Behavior

Gen Z – those individuals being born from the late 1990s to 2010 – will be an even larger generation than the often written and spoken about Millennial generation.  And, according to a NRF/IBM study, this generation still enjoys shopping in stores even given that they are the first truly digital native generation.  NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “They appreciate the hands-on experience of shopping in a store. Technology is constantly evolving but some shopping habits remaining the same, retailers need to be agile enough to serve both needs.”

Surprise: Gen Zs still shop in-store