Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 9—Technology Intervention

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Technology itself is not an innovation; what the technology enables customers to do is that which provides a glimpse of true innovation. There are marvelous examples of uses of technology providing consumers with more choice, more access and more information than ever before. Let’s take a look at two such cases from Retail Innovations 9.

Hointer (USA – Seattle)

Retail meets technology at Hointer where they have reinvented shopping through the use of smartphones and robotics in their apparel stores.
Hointer is a micro-warehouse within a store, allowing easy exchange and visibility of products across stores. Product status and the whereabouts of every item are always readily available in store, which helps in inventory control.

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For customers, this translates into a unique omni-channel way to shop that utilizes a tool most customers already have — a smartphone. Because all of the apparel is tracked in the cloud by Hointer’s back-end system, the company knows exactly where each article of clothing is at all times. So, if a customer in one of their stores wants a specific pair of jeans not available in store, the app will show where else the product is available. Customers can try on the jeans for proper fit, and then order their preferred wash or size with Hointer’s overnight shipping for next day delivery — or perhaps receive it on the same day via Google if the product is available in their area.

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This inventory-sharing model allows Hointer to carry just the right amount of product and distribute them across their locations. With this model, it is unnecessary to carry ten different washes of jeans or colors of shirts at every store. As long as Hointer has one model in each size and examples of what other colors are available, customers have instant access to the entire inventory, regardless of location.

Hointer is designed so customers can be in and out in minutes, a play on the word ‘hunter’ because it is believed that men always have a target when they shop and they want to get it done quickly. Before shopping, customers download the Hointer app or can ask a tablet-equipped employee to accompany them through the store. When they see something they want to try on, customers simply scan the QR code — or place their phone next to the NFC-enabled tag.

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After scanning or tapping, customers are prompted with available sizes and once a specific pair is selected, the clothes are dropped into a virtual shopping cart. Customers can continue to drop other items into their shopping carts; when ready, they click “try on” which sends them to a designated dressing room.

When customers arrive at the dressing room, the clothes are already there waiting for them, delivered through an automated robotic process on the back-end. If they don’t like the clothes or want to try on a different size, they can be sent back through the chute in the dressing room and are then automatically taken out of the shopping cart. When ready to purchase, customers tap their phone to a pay station in the store and swipe a credit card.

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Hointer displays only one of each item and puts the bulk of its merchandise in an automated stockroom. Garments are hung so customers can see every detail, rather than the piles often seen in apparel stores. The back-end is very small, accounting for only 10% of the store, but is able to hold thousands of products due its unique organization format. This back-end system is entirely automated, but can also be configured to a more manual setting.

Hointer’s data collection allows the company to keep track of every customer’s purchase habits, every scan they’ve made, how many times they have requested alterations, as well as how much product is available and at which stores.

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Hointer’s stores have combined the best of the physical and online world by allowing customers to see, feel and try on clothing while offering a quick and convenient way for men and women to make purchases and proceed with life. They have lowered overall operational costs for their retail stores through the use of an automated stockroom while gathering customer data through the use of their mobile app. Hointer represents a new way of shopping by simplifying the customer experience while using technology that customers already own.

Audi City Mayfair (UK – London)

A new digital car showroom format that uses state-of-the-art technology to make clever use of a small store format, as space is so precious in central London.

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Audi has solved the problem of having large objects in a high-rent retail space through the use of digital technology. The store only showcases a few cars in combination with top-to-bottom digital screens that line the walls. Customers can customize any model of Audi car from interactive touch screens and drag the virtual image of it onto these digital walls. The digital visualization of the car is life-size and moveable, so the customer may view it from as many different angles as they choose.

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Audi has shown itself to be an early innovator in developing complex digital configurators. While the likes of NIKE have been offering digital personalization services since 1999 with NIKEiD, the complexity and scale of a car presents a very different challenge. For the customer to have the confidence to purchase a car from only having seen a digital visualization of it, the technology has to be state of the art and highly realistic. Audi City delivers just that. Audi City has proved that it is possible to sell cars without having seen, felt and tried them out.

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Audi has made its mark in digital personalization. The retail model itself can offer significant operational benefits by having a customer pay for a product before it is produced to specification, limiting the need to predict range.

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Conclusion

Through state-of-the-art technology retailers continue to realize significant gains that go beyond operational efficiency. As the above cases demonstrate, technology can be used in many new and exciting ways as a means to solve the problems that retailers face today. Retailers can also benefit by incorporating their customers’ technology tools into their operations as well.

About Retail Innovations 9

RI9 - imageRetail lnnovations 9 is J.C. Williams Group’s and Ebeltoft Group’s (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) latest compilation of leading edge innovation, highlighting individual ideas and the key themes that emerge from studying the whole.

This edition features 54 of the best innovation cases from 23 countries and pinpoints the nine global innovation trends.

To obtain a copy of this publication, click here.

Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 8—Retailvention/Verticality

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How do you think about an existing business in a completely different way, shattering the tried and true methods of distribution and selling? How do you build and take a business directly to the customer, by-passing traditional selling channels? Cases in retailvention and verticality are not limited to the old ways of thinking but break new ground in creating new business models. From savvy start-ups to some of the world’s largest companies, these new models force one to rethink the very nature of what retailing can be. Let’s take a look at two cases on retailvention/verticality from Retail Innovations 9.

Chilli Beans (Brazil – Sao Paulo)

Imagine a place where you can try a large variety of Chilli Beans sunglasses. Now imagine that same place, adding great music, the possibility to interact with other cities and cultures all around the world, and at the same time share the experience with your friends.

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The concept store showcases the total brand and offers exclusive access to all new and special edition Chilli Beans products, ranging from sunglasses to bikes and skateboards to handmade electric guitars.

Customers are encouraged to experiment with the products and to live the Chilli Beans experience while sharing it with their friends on social networks.
The flagship hosts various events every Saturday in a designated area and offers customers the convenience of not having to leave the store with its in-store Coffee Suplicy kiosk.

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Chilli Beans introduced the fast fashion model to the sunglass world by launching a new collection every 15 days. This new collection is themed and often in partnership with a designer or other famous brand, and each release has a special display at the store. The Chilli Beans brand is based on a dynamic concept and connection with the customer. Chilli Beans has over one million followers on Facebook and, of course, the experience at the flagship can be shared live on any social network.

Fun and interactivity are the most striking features of the Chilli Beans flagship. Contact with a wide variety of product and sharing with friends while remaining in a store without the feeling of being in a store make the experience something memorable.

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With a wide variety of sunglasses and the opportunity to buy personalized glasses while exploring other products, Chilli Beans cannot be described as just a simple store. Customers feel comfortable coming back to the store and trying new products. The store is full of interesting news and products, the environment is laid-back, and customers are welcomed to discover even more products and to enjoy the brand.

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Nespresso Regent Street (UK – London)

The new concept focuses on telling its brand story by providing a tailored, educational and experimental experience for consumers where they can try out the different blends and live the experience.

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Nespresso has identified the development of the British consumer (in particular the Londoner) from coffee drinker to coffee connoisseur. They have used this increasingly discerning palate as inspiration for the customer experience in-store. The London flagship boutique offers customers a multi-sensorial space where they can discover the entire product range while enhancing consumer perceptions of the brand’s coffee expertise.

Nespresso has created a convincing and enticing brand experience around the tiny core product of a coffee capsule. The visual merchandising is impeccable and the service of an equally high standard, achieved through Nespresso’s decision to recruit its staff from hospitality backgrounds rather than retail.

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The different elements of the store work together to provide the consumer with a uniquely personalized experience, featuring a number of different areas. The Tasting Area, for example, is managed by a team of coffee specialists to guide customer tastings. The store also makes use of video walls and tablets to provide a huge visual impact and allow for deeper customer engagement with the brand and its products.

Nespresso has shown that even the smallest product can be put on a pedestal. They have created a successful store format that is an immersive experience, educating the consumer and increasing engagement with the brand off the back of a coffee capsule.

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Conclusion

Retailers are finding new ways to delight their customers. The idea of the store goes beyond simple merchandising to creating an engaging and memorable experience for customers. In the cases above we have seen two ways of doing this: 1. create a social and relaxing environment that encourages customers to play and have fun with products, and 2. turn something simple into a fascinating customer experience.

About Retail Innovations 9

RI9 - imageRetail lnnovations 9 is J.C. Williams Group’s and Ebeltoft Group’s (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) latest compilation of leading edge innovation, highlighting individual ideas and the key themes that emerge from studying the whole.

This edition features 54 of the best innovation cases from 23 countries and pinpoints the nine global innovation trends.

To obtain a copy of this publication, click here.

Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 7—Online Offline Mashup

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A new retail era is emerging. It will seamlessly blend the online and offline retail experience together, allowing customers to shop where and how they want, at any time. Let’s take a look at two retailers who have demonstrated this concept.

Marks & Spencer (Netherlands – Amsterdam)

The new e-boutique concept store of Marks & Spencer is its first step to re-enter the Netherlands with a clear focus on the cross-channel consumer. The concept is built around the online buying opportunity of food and non-food, a strong and growing trend in the Netherlands.

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The M&S stores in the Netherlands were profitable in the past, but their focus on their home market and core business made them decide to close stores. Now, they are back in the Netherlands with a brand new concept store in Amsterdam (Holland), which is already a big success in France. Marks & Spencer is a full range department store but the focus of the e-boutique is primarily on fashion.

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They offer the consumer many online and technological innovations within a physical environment. Customers can view clothing samples and order products online with a digital clothing rack on a life-sized screen. The store has about 120 samples, which gives customers the opportunity to try on and touch, but not to buy, of course. Style advisors are equipped with ipads and customers can use their smartphones with the free in-store Wi-Fi. Furthermore, customers can visit the totally Dutch version of the M&S website. M&S offers the consumer the opportunity to buy their favorite products anytime they want, anywhere they want and anyhow they want. This is a good strategy in a market with a growing number of consumers who like to shop both online and offline.

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It’s easier to start a new concept with a cross-channel strategy than changing your traditional offline strategy to implement one. That’s one of the secrets of the success of M&S. The e-boutique attracts consumers because of its innovative use of online technologies, which makes M&S a front runner in cross-channel innovation. They open small food stores in high traffic locations and flagship stores in densely populated areas. The stores are their physical service for their cross-channel strategy and they will use these locations as part of their logistic concept. Most of the national retailers have too many stores and struggle with keeping them profitable. This gives M&S the opportunity to gain market share using fewer locations and a good cross-channel platform.

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Marks & Spencer is pioneering a new way to enter a market initially through an e-boutique to build trial and awareness followed by brick and mortar stores. Technology can provide new pathways for growth at less risk.

Coolblue (Netherlands & Belgium)

Pure player Coolblue responded to customers’ needs by opening ‘the offline web shop’. With this new concept, the retailer found the balance between offline and online.

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Coolblue grew from a pure player in consumer electronics, launching one specialized shop called mp3man.nl in 2000, to a fast growing online retailer with almost 200 category web shops. The resulting retail concept was very successful in the Netherlands and Belgium, as they plan to open an additional 100 specialized web shops in 2013. Its customer, however, wanted more. Answering the call of the cross-channel trend, Coolblue extended its channel and brand experience to the brick and mortar world by opening their so-called offline web shop.

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Coolblue recognized some customers wanted to see and touch products or have face-to-face information and advice about which goods are most suitable for them. The physical Coolblue shop made this possible. The Coolblue shop is all about service. Specialists from different product categories help you with all of your questions almost every day of the week with extended operating hours. The shop also has a desk for repairing products and check-out is possible in many different ways.

When ordering something online, the customer can choose to have it delivered to her home or she can pick it up in store the next day.
The success of Coolblue is all about delivering what the customer wants while providing excellent service to encourage customers to return again and again.

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Every year Coolblue expands with more web stores, and their business model is totally built on EBIDA and customer satisfaction. The new step into opening physical stores is the clear answer to the demand of the new cross-channel consumer and marks the beginning of a new area, as well for pure players.

Conclusion

There is no question that the majority of innovation, now and into the future, will demand that retailers offer the customer the best of what the physical and virtual worlds have to offer. While there has been significant pressure on brick and mortar retailers to enhance their online and cross-channel capabilities, online players are also adapting to changing consumer demands by using physical space to attract customers.

About Retail Innovations 9

RI9 - imageRetail lnnovations 9 is J.C. Williams Group’s and Ebeltoft Group’s (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) latest compilation of leading edge innovation, highlighting individual ideas and the key themes that emerge from studying the whole.

This edition features 54 of the best innovation cases from 23 countries and pinpoints the nine global innovation trends.

To obtain a copy of this publication, click here.

Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 6—Hyper Local

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There is real power in truly being local. Having the right products sourced from local communities speaks to powerful macro trends around freshness and sustainability. Retailers, large and small, are focusing on attempts to get local, really local, as the following cases demonstrate.

Fab India (New Delhi – India)

A powerful blend of India’s traditional crafts and techniques, contemporary designs, rural artisans, urban markets and an inclusive model of capitalism.

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India has a very strong heritage of handcrafted products. Artisans form the backbone of India’s rural economy, and the handicraft industry is the second-largest employment generator in villages after agriculture. There are an estimated 20 million artisans across the country.

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Fab India is India’s largest private platform for products that are made from traditional techniques, skills and hand-based processes. The retailer links over 90,000 craft based rural artisans to modern urban markets, thereby creating a base for skilled, sustainable rural employment, and preserving India’s traditional handicrafts in the process.

The retailer has three different formats for brick and mortar stores and an online presence, which delivers worldwide. The three stores are Premium (located in metropolitan and Tier I cities, carrying the full range of merchandise, including furniture), Concept (smaller footprint stores, with select merchandise across categories) and Regular (present in Tier II and III cities, with a product mix focused on clothing and accessories).

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Their in-store look is defined by ‘everything natural’, with natural wood, stone flooring and a mix of colors. All of the garments are dyed with natural and organic dyes, and represent a vibrant mix of colours and hues.

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Fab India’s approach to supply chain management for its retail stores and inclusive capitalism is unique. The model is especially relevant to developing countries, linking rural artisans with urban markets (potentially across the world). The key differentiators and wins for Fab India’s model have been:

  • Enabling it to create 90,000 sustainable rural jobs across India
  • Direct interface with artisans, who are shareholders in the business
  • Closer to sourcing – shortening the supply chain, better quality and pricing
  • Access to modern techniques to improve productivity and contemporary designs, across a range of product segments
  • An international platform through brick & mortar and e-commerce enabled front end

Yoghurt Barn (Utrecht – Netherlands)

A unique eco-friendly retail concept that offers fresh, customized yogurt directly from local farmers.

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The Netherlands ranks number one in yogurt consumption within Europe. Yogurt is an everyday affordable product, and many Dutch eat it almost daily (and are very price conscious). Consumer trends like individualization and conscious living demand customization possibilities and environmentally friendly retail concepts offering organic products.

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Yoghurt Barn offers:

  • Every day and affordable products made special
  • Customized foods (choose your type of yogurt, toppings, etc.)
  • A concept that is entirely environmentally friendly (packaging, store interior, energy, etc.)
  • Organic foods from local farmers (yogurts are delivered 48 hours after production)
  • Free Wi-Fi (lots of energy spots)

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Yoghurt Barn has turned an everyday affordable product into a fun and creative experience, produced and presented with passion. It takes conscious retailing to the extreme by striving to offer 100% organic products in an entirely eco-friendly store. The concept proves it is possible to combine convenience with experience. Whatever your shopping goal, ‘fast food,’ cozy lunching or working, it is all possible at Yoghurt Barn.

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Conclusion

The consumer’s desire to become better educated and more demanding about the products they consume brings significant advantages to retailers that adopt sustainable and environmentally-friendly business practices. A retailer that supports their local community can become a reputable leader that is sure to be rewarded with loyal customers who share the same values.

About Retail Innovations 9

RI9 - imageRetail lnnovations 9 is J.C. Williams Group’s and Ebeltoft Group’s (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) latest compilation of leading edge innovation, highlighting individual ideas and the key themes that emerge from studying the whole.

This edition features 54 of the best innovation cases from 23 countries and pinpoints the nine global innovation trends.

To obtain a copy of this publication, send an email with your name, company name, and telephone number to info@jcwg.com.

Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 5—Experiential Retailing 2.0

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With e-commerce growing in sales and popularity on a global basis, retailers are forced to ask, “What is the role of the store?” The quick answer is that it can no longer just be an efficient place to buy commoditized products. Stores are social gathering places, centers for knowledge, learning and information, a place for fun, or relaxation. They are the ultimate showcases for merchandise, exciting customers with possibilities. They are motivators to love better, eat better or beautify one’s home. In short, experiential stores are wondrous places that can deliver experiences in a way that a website can’t.

Let’s take a look at two retailers who have boldly answered the question of how a store can thrive in an online world.

Sport Chek (Toronto-Canada)

Sport Chek Canada opened its first digital-focused retail lab in 2013. The success of its first flagship store led to the launch of a second new 80,000 sq. ft. store in West Edmonton Mall that opened last month.

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The store is a digital mecca with 140 screens, ranging from small tablets in tables to larger 55 inch screens that demonstrate unique product features. Customers can scan for coupons using NFC and interact with, for example, Adidas-created content such as its Twitter feed and product features through touch-screen technology.

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It is interesting how Sport Chek integrated technology into its concept and used it to enhance the customers’ shopping experience by creating confidence in Sport Chek’s ability to provide a customized product. Sports fans can create their own personalized team jersey with team and player names and numbers of their choosing. Other customization tools include a “build your own” Reebok shoe kiosk, a Sidas ski and snowboard boot insert tool that makes a 3D map of your foot to create a custom-made boot insert, customized Oakley sunglasses, and customer’s running gaits can be analyzed on a treadmill.

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Next to the store’s escalator is a wall of 19 screens with an Xbox Kinect that displays promotions, events, and product features. There is even a community events wall featuring a local lawyers’ pick-up hockey league and, of course, the latest NBA scores.

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Planet Traveller (Singapore)

A one-stop shop for travellers seeking travel products. Planet Traveller designs, produces, sources and markets a wide range of innovative travel products for one’s travelling needs.

pic 1Aptly located in the Singapore Changi Airport, the Planet Traveller Flagship Store inhabits an impressive 13,024 sq. ft. of retail space, spanning more than 33 meters long. Occupying both sides of the airport’s walking retail path, the lack of glass doors to designate its shopping space ensures that all shoppers walking through are immersed into Planet Traveller’s creative interior and retail offerings.  Being the first of its kind lifestyle travel accessories concept store and claiming to be the largest in Asia, Planet Traveller’s Flagship Store is indeed the market leader in the industry.

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Offering over 4,000 travel accessories and appliances, the store has 16 distinct merchandising zones including travel gear, business bags, lifestyle bags, female travel, junior travel, travel tips, travel books and maps, outdoor gear, winter wear, travel warmies, travel accessories and appliances, travel security and organizers, travel care, IT/mobile accessories and travel gifts.  These zones segment its expansive offerings and makes shopping a breeze for consumers. Creative visual displays set amidst a black ceiling, blue flooring and navy blue furniture draw inspiration from the universe and sky as a medium of travel.

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With many travel accessories retailers competing in the same space, Planet Travellers’ distinguishes itself from other competitors by transforming itself into a lifestyle concept.

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With an offering so unique and distinctive, it is top-of-mind for consumers when it comes to travel accessories retailers.  Its great location at the Singapore Changi Airport further emphasizes Planet Traveller’s connection with travel.

Conclusion

Whether it is through mind-blowing technology, customization, or eye-catching merchandise displays, the idea here is to provide a compelling reason for people to visit your store. Consumers constantly on-the-go can easily be persuaded by the time and cost saving benefits of buying online. To win them over, retailers need to provide customers with an exceptional experience that will not only amaze them but entice them to return again and again.

About Retail Innovations 9

RI9 - imageRetail lnnovations 9 is J.C. Williams Group’s and Ebeltoft Group’s (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) latest compilation of leading edge innovation, highlighting individual ideas and the key themes that emerge from studying the whole.

This edition features 54 of the best innovation cases from 23 countries and pinpoints the nine global innovation trends.

To obtain a copy of this publication, send an email with your name, company name, and telephone number to info@jcwg.com.

Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 4—Eco-Friendly

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While most consumers still express a preference to behave in an eco-friendly manner, the practical realities of budgets and performance of green products has slowed down the trend. But, green can also save money. Less packaging can lead to more efficiency as the following case demonstrates.

Negozio Leggero (Italy – Turin)

A new Light Shop concept offering ‘on tap’ shopping, where food, household and personal products are served package-free.

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An increasing number of people are beginning to purchase loose, package-free products because they are interested in reducing waste and supporting the environment, as well as reducing clutter at home and cutting down on expenses. The Negozio Leggero or ‘Light Shop’ concept, launched by Ecologos (an institute specialized in environmental research), and the cooperative Rinova, responds to this demand.

Even though this concept is already used by others, Negozio Leggero goes one step further as its store is entirely dedicated to this new format and its full assortment (food, household and personal products) are package-free.

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Customers learn how to shop ‘on tap’: they can purchase their containers, bags or bottles in the store but most  bring their own, eliminating all of the packaging that one is normally forced to purchase, often without being aware of the costs involved.

In-store, products are found in labeled containers, exhibited on tables or shelves.  Orange and wood tones help create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Another strength of the store is its staff, which is knowledgeable and welcoming, offering customers detailed information on all products.

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There are various organic and fair-trade types of coffee, sold in beans and ground on the spot; candies prepared following artisanal methods; breakfast products like fresh milk and cereals; and various types of flowers from carefully selected local farms. The assortment also includes pastry, a variety of salt, a wide range of spices, herbal-tea, and fresh eggs from free-range chicken.

Liquid products like wine, liquid detergents, personal hygiene products, etc. are distributed using containers with taps. Environmental sustainability is evidenced in their baby products, which include washable natural cotton diapers.

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In Negozio Leggero, the savings brought by the use of package-free products can be significant, especially for products normally bought in small quantities, like spices, which can cost even less than half of the packaged version.

Negozio Leggero tries to communicate the idea of sustainability and waste reduction to its customers by involving them in a series of activities. It periodically organizes courses like ‘eco-friendly do-it-yourself make-up,’ or bread baking or soap making. Its services include an on-line recipe book, divided into hors d’oeuvres, first courses, second courses, side dishes, and desserts.

Casa del Agua (Mexico – Mexico City)

Adding value to the water you drink.

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Because the human body largely consists of water, because water is the centre of the ecosystem, and because it is essential to drink water, Casa del Agua adds value to the water that we drink.

Casa del Agua is a new concept where rain water is recycled, purified, harmonized, and converted into bottled water. Always fresh, never transported and stored, water reaches customers without a carbon footprint and therefore names itself “the local water.” The Casa del Agua concept provides a special consumer experience and educates at the same time, providing a great store with a rooftop terrace to enjoy their purified beverages.

The concept uses personalized glass bottles in an effort to recycle, while extending the concept’s brand experience via its specially designed bottles.

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Casa del Agua helps customers be conscious of the environment in a new and innovative way. Casa del Agua is honest, clear and pure. They filter their water in-store so that customers can see firsthand that their water is 100% pure, all wrapped up in a sophisticated store concept.

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Conclusion

Companies that make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint not only have a more positive impact on the environment, but also receive praise from the public for behaving in an ethical way. This can translate into sales by appealing to environmentally-conscious consumers who are willing to pay premium prices as demonstrated in the second case above. On the other hand, when eco-friendly products are made affordable and even save money, as is the case with Negozio Leggero, the customer base extends beyond the environmentally-conscious to the general population. After all, a healthy planet equals a healthy future. And many consumers demand that businesses take action!

About Retail Innovations 9

RI9 - imageRetail lnnovations 9 is J.C. Williams Group’s and Ebeltoft Group’s (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) latest compilation of leading edge innovation, highlighting individual ideas and the key themes that emerge from studying the whole.

This edition features 54 of the best innovation cases from 23 countries and pinpoints the nine global innovation trends.

To obtain a copy of this publication, send an email with your name, company name, and telephone number to info@jcwg.com.

Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 3—Customization

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Customization is now reaching critical mass. From breakfast cereals and decorated cakes to vitamins, sporting goods and luxury automobiles, customers can now create a product that is truly their own. Retailing and manufacturing was once predicated on scale, mass producing goods to achieve efficiency. Henry Ford once famously said, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.” Customization has come a long way and is now an expectation for customers.

Let’s take a look at two cases on Customization from Retail Innovations 9.

mymuesli (Germany – Munich)

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mymuesli’s business concept is simple, yet effective. Users may mix and customize their preferred muesli cereals online, which are either shipped to their homes or delivered to the nearest mymuesli store. Not only are mymuesli’s creations appealing, but so too are the organic, regional ingredients they are made from.

mymuesli’s founders learned the importance of customer involvement in the value chain very early. Along the lines of “create your own muesli,” customers may create their own favorite muesli combinations on the company’s web page. A muesli base can be enhanced with seeds, oats, nuts, or fruits according to one’s preferences and, according to mymuesli, up to 80 different muesli ingredients are currently available, amounting to 566 quadrillion possible mixes. Customers can even choose the mix’s name and have it printed on the packaging. Besides creating a muesli mix from scratch, customers can also choose from predefined mixes such as the Blaubeermüsli (blueberry muesli), the Bircher Müsli (bircher muesli) or the Gipfelstürmermüsli (summiteer’s muesli).

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mymuesli does not only sell muesli, but has expanded its product portfolio to Muesli2go, Oh-Saft (orange juice), tea, and coffee beans. The product is always organic, and fair trade and regional products are preferred.

Although the online business still accounts for the major share of revenues, mymuesli’s bricks-and-mortar stores are also becoming increasingly significant for its business model. Customers can pick up their Click & Collect goods here to avoid shipping costs, linger in a store’s café or taste the latest muesli mixes created by the company.

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Thrive Vitamins (UK – Durham)

Thrive Vitamins offers personalized vitamin plans, dispensed by robots in 28-day daily dose pouches, which are then delivered to the customer’s home.

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The UK vitamin market is currently underdeveloped when compared to markets such as the US. Thrive aims to make vitamin tablets a convenient part of the consumer’s daily routine by simplifying the dosage process and removing the need to visit a specialty retailer.

thrivevitamins.co.uk surveys each customer individually using an online lifestyle survey to tailor a vitamin plan to the consumer’s own lifestyle, bringing pharmacy-assured service to the online marketplace. Using state of the art robotics, alongside the company’s professional experience in pharmacy and e-commerce, the vitamins are sealed in convenient teabag-sized daily pouches, each printed with the customer’s name and the contents. This changes the way in which consumers access this currently under-utilized sector of the health market, since it makes vitamins accessible and convenient for all types of consumers while also exploiting consumer interest in the personalization of products.

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Thrive has created an effective means of combining the current trend towards online shopping and convenience with modern technology in order to tap into what is currently an underdeveloped market in the UK.

It takes a product that is traditionally retailed in larger high street retail units and offers the customer individualized, separately packaged daily doses.

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Conclusion

Involving customers in product creation has become an increasingly popular trend in recent years. Retailers compete to capture share and grab attention by offering customers the ability to generate their own unique assortments. From charm bracelets to athletic shoes, the possibilities are endless and more and more businesses continue to adopt this “made-to-order” strategy.

About Retail Innovations 9

RI9 - imageRetail lnnovations 9 is J.C. Williams Group’s and Ebeltoft Group’s (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) latest compilation of leading edge innovation, highlighting individual ideas and the key themes that emerge from studying the whole.

This edition features 54 of the best innovation cases from 23 countries and pinpoints the nine global innovation trends.

To obtain a copy of this publication, send an email with your name, company name, and telephone number to info@jcwg.com.

New York City Tour of Retailers with Strong Multi-channel Support and Innovation!

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Toys “R” Us Times Square

Omni-channel features:

  • Buy online, pickup in-store
  • Expedited fulfillment time for “Ship to Store” purchases

Interesting…!

  • Download their app and get Toys “R” Us movies online
  • This massive 110,000 square foot store is Toys “R” Us’ flagship store and you will see why

ToysRUs 1Show-stopping Exterior

ToysRUs2The famous Ferris wheel

ToysRUs3

ToysRUs4 An iPad-shopping store welcome

ToysRUS5Home of Barbie

ToysRUs6Shop online and pick up in store

Sephora Times Square

What to look for in store:

  • Use of mobile is encouraged to get reviews, ratings, shop
  • iPads in-store for enhanced customer service
  • Screen device called Color IQ; come in to have your color matched and then use an iPad in a consultation to go through and actually filter and pick the products that are best for you

Omni-channel features:

  • Beauty community online, BeautyTalk, (mobile phone and iPad app accessible) is driving their customers to buy more
      • Features new products frequently online in “Beauty Talk”
      • Customer discussions fuel authentic peer-to-peer recommendations and drive increased basket size and value
  • Quick check-out with mobile phone credit card payments
  • Easy purchase history references of in-store and online purchases
  • Manicure stations with video tutorials
  • Heavy e-mail marketing to promote store events

Sephora1

Sephora2Choose your best fragrance ‘touch screen’

Sephora5Select and sniff

Sephora4Digital merchandise fixture

Sephora3Always a fascinating experience

H&M Times Square

What to look for in store:

  • Use of mobile instant coupons when you sign up with the retailer via text messages
  • LED screens throughout store and on mannequins
  • A runway for shoppers to show off their clothes
  • Fitting room checkouts

Omni-channel features:

  • A very strong mobile app to complement the website
  • Catalog distribution in U.S.

HM1

HM2Digital price signs

HM3Digital catalog and link to H&M app

New York’s Smallest Store – Baked by Melissa

CupcakesHundreds of mini cupcakes sold through a window

Nespresso SoHo

What to look for in store:

  • An engaging and exciting environment
  • Significant branding to encapsulate the ‘coffee lover’s’ dream

Interesting…!

  • Can take used capsules to select locations for recycling
  • It is a place for coffee lovers to experience the art of espresso

Nespresso1Looks like they have a lot on their hands!

Nespresso3 Nespresso2

Camper SoHo

Innovation works!

Camper1Camper2Camper3

Warby Parker – Ebeltoft Group’s “Innovative Store of 2013″

http://www.warbyparker.com

WarbyParker1SoHo flagship store

WarbyParker3 WarbyParker2Busiest store in SoHo

Apple SoHo

Apple1Great location!

Apple3 Apple2Apple looks refreshed

Apple4Their own theater – to watch Apple commercials!

Icebreaker SoHo

Interesting…!

  • All products are made from merino wool
  • By entering a unique “baacode” on their website, customers can see the living conditions of the high country sheep that produced the merino fibre in their Icebreaker garment, read about the farmers, and trace the steps through its supply chain

Icebreaker1 Icebreaker2 Icebreaker3

Eataly – Simply the Best Store in North America

Eataly1 Eataly2 Eataly3 Eataly4 Eataly5 Eataly6

Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 2—Curated Collections

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The heart of successful retailing lies in creating a coherent and compelling assortment for customers. It is the job of any retailer to be an effective merchant, selecting the best products they can to create a coherent offer. So, the notion of curated retailing is certainly not new: what has changed is the consumer’s ability to access goods from a much broader (and global) variety of providers. With customers having access to nearly an infinite number of products, this puts even more pressure on retailers to develop a clear and meaningful offer. Simply having a broad selection of products is no longer a differentiator—bringing these products together in unique ways offers retailers an ever changing way to innovate.

Let’s take a look at two cases on Curated Collections from Retail Innovations 9.

& Other Stories (UK—London)

other-stories v2

& Other Stories, the latest brand from H&M, illustrates the potential for a brand to target consumers across a wide range of markets by creating a lifestyle brand which reflects the changing way in which consumers interact with fashion.

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& Other Stories draws on the trend towards fashion using blogs and the internet as style inspiration, and encourages consumers to create their own ‘fashion story’ with its wide range of styles. The brand proposition is reflected in the store’s unconventional juxtaposition of different product into ‘moods’ rather than trends and the fashion blog-style snapshots of product, which are all set within a minimalist warehouse-style interior.

OtherStories v2

H&M has not just created another brand to add to their collection; they have latched onto the way that consumers interact with fashion and have aligned their user experience and product offering with this behavior. & Other Stories is a concept born out of innovative insight into the changing role of social media and the internet in fashion, and this narrative has been carefully considered and implemented in the store to create a unique brand proposition.

2nd Home (Germany—Frankfurt)

A store that is not actually a store? In an environment styled like a genuine apartment, customers are offered a perfectly appealing composition of selected brands and unique pieces not available elsewhere.

retailer 2ndHome_4 v2

“How will these products look in combination with my apartment?” There is no need to let this question go unanswered anymore in the new 2nd home concept store. It is decorated like an ordinary apartment and gives an idea how well different items may resonate with each other.

retailer 2ndHome_2

The store does not exhibit more than three rooms at once; however, the types of rooms being displayed may vary considerably. Depending on accessories and furniture, the shopper might find a dining room, a living room or an entrance area. Rooms not only serve as show rooms, but one can actually buy the interior they are decorated with: from wall paint to sockets, from vases to clothing and cosmetics. Every two to three weeks, one area of the store is re-decorated to reflect current trends or seasons.

retailer 2ndHome_3 v2

All items are carefully hand-picked by the owner and arranged to perfection with a certain decorative style. A special charm lies within the changing composition and decoration of the different rooms. The product range covers furniture from well-known producers, old and unique single pieces, or products from regional designers. Different versions of some exhibited products can be delivered to the customer’s home and in the near future all products will be available online.

Conclusion

The cases above demonstrate the opportunity for retailers to offer truly innovative assortments that fit the lifestyle of their customers. Through appealing merchandise presentation, a retailer can differentiate from intense competition, both in-store and online. This concept begins with a market-based strategy that gives insights on who your customers really are or want to be. Then the product mix is developed around those details. Staying on top of trends and introducing fresh merchandise on a frequent basis are key to enhancing the customer experience.

About Retail Innovations 9

RI9 - imageRetail lnnovations 9 is J.C. Williams Group’s and Ebeltoft Group’s (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) latest compilation of leading edge innovation, highlighting individual ideas and the key themes that emerge from studying the whole.

This edition features 54 of the best innovation cases from 23 countries and pinpoints the nine global innovation trends.

To obtain a copy of this publication, send an email with your name, company name, and telephone number to info@jcwg.com.

 

Stay tuned for our next blog: Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 3—Customization 

Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 1—Crowdsourcing

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Increasingly, customers are playing an active role in defining and determining the assortment. Consumers are no longer just passive recipients of what a retailer “thinks” they might want; they are active participants in the creation of the retail offer. From user-submitted ideas to voting on favorite products, retailers are ceding more control of the store to their customers. Or, allowing the customer to essentially drive product development to create a truly customized experience. Customers are creating “pre-tail” moments, helping retailers decide what products to make, what products to stock and even how they’re priced.

Let’s take a look at two cases on crowdsourcing from Retail Innovations 9.

Lidl— (Netherlands)

lidl-2_0

Lidl, known for its product-driven and low-price strategy, changed its customer approach by putting its customers in charge. Lidl doesn’t select the products to put on promotion, its customers do via ‘Likes’ on Facebook.

The retailer vigorously uses social media to interact with its customers; and with its recent Facebook App, Lidl goes one step further. Customers can now freely express their desires as they can choose the products they want on promotion the following week. Every week a specific category is the center of the product promotion and customers can ‘Likes’ products in this category. The product with the most ‘Likes’ will be on sale the following week. The customized social media project not only resulted in more interaction but also contributed to an increase in sales.

THE NETHERLANDS_Lidl-PICT copia

THE NETHERLANDS_Lidl-PICTURE01

The central idea of Lidl is that customers don’t have to search a number of promotional leaflets anymore for one particular product. They can now choose their own promotions.

With thousands of ‘Likes’ on product promotions the App gets more attention every week. Customers ‘Like’ products and in the end they ‘Like’ Lidl, which contributes to their overall customer satisfaction.

 

Quirky (USA – New York)

Quirki

Quirky is a product company that utilizes crowdsourcing to not only bring inventors’ ideas to life, but also make them accessible in a relatively short amount of time. Quirky’s community members, inventors and product “influencers” all share in the product’s financial success.

Inventors submit ideas, community members vote on the best ones, users influence design while earning money along the way, and Quirky manufactures it for the world.

5 Steps to Creating a Quirky Product

  1. Inventors submit product ideas via the Quirky website
  2. Ideas are vetted by a community of over 200,000 users who vote for their favorites.
  3. Top-ranked ideas get reviewed by Quirky’s in-house team of experts, who pick one or two products each week based on design potential, differentiation and viability. The vetting process takes place in Quirky’s New York City facility and is streamed live to the Web.
  4. The winning ideas go through a series of developmental phases — research, design, branding, engineering, etc. — before being brought to market. Typically, it takes about 120 to 180 days to bring the product to market. That’s when the inventors, who originally submitted the ideas, are compensated, earning roughly 35 percent of revenues.
  5. The product is sold on the Quirky website and, if demand grows, by retail chains.

Quirky was founded on the belief that ordinary people have extraordinary ideas, and that invention should be accessible to everyone. Quirky branded products are found online and at America’s top retailers.

Quirky’s best-selling product is the Pivot Power, a flexible power strip invented by Jake Zien and 853 influencers, earning Zien hundreds of thousands of dollars for his influence on the project. Pivot Power is available at Quirky as well as Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.

Quirky at Target copia

Conclusion

As consumers increasingly spend more of their time online and on various social media platforms, it only makes sense to solicit those opinions from your customers who are interested in having a voice. As the case studies above have demonstrated, crowdsourcing not only can lead to truly in-demand assortments but can also generate loyalty by establishing relationships through continuous customer interaction.

“…the world is becoming too fast, too complex and too networked for any company to have all the answers inside.” (Yochai Benkler, Professor at Harvard Law Business School and Author of “The Wealth of Networks”)

“The customer of the future wants to participate; they don’t want to be passive. This has been enabled by social media and the use of reviews. Smart retailers have already got the message.” (Maureen C. Atkinson, Senior Partner at J.C. Williams Group)

“Today it’s all about speed to market. Staying connected with your customers is one very effective way to do this.” (John C. Williams, Senior Partner at J.C. Williams Group)

About Retail Innovations 9

RI9 - imageRetail lnnovations 9 is J.C. Williams Group’s and Ebeltoft Group’s (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) latest compilation of leading edge innovation, highlighting individual ideas and the key themes that emerge from studying the whole.

This edition features 54 of the best innovation cases from 23 countries and pinpoints the nine global innovation trends.

To obtain a copy of this publication, send an email with your name, company name, and telephone number to info@jcwg.com.

 

Stay tuned for our next blog: Retail Innovations 9: Global Retail Trends 2013 Part 2—Curated Collections

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