Technology Meets Retail at DX3!

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During the recent DX3 tradeshow and conference, held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, March 11–12, J.C. Williams Group encountered a number of exciting product demonstrations and displays on the latest technologies that will be rocking the retail world.

Here are a few of the most notable booths we encountered at the tradeshow.

Holographic Displays

The Virtual Messenger

The Virtual Messenger provides companies with the ability to incorporate interactive visual presentations in their marketing and sales efforts. Products includes 3D holographic avatars, live windows (i.e., interactive holograms on glass or rear window of car), and virtual kiosks.

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WATCH THIS VIDEO to see Virtual Messenger’s holographic avatar in action.

Virtual Messenger provides retailers and brands with an interesting and entertaining way to interact with, attract, and engage consumers, advertise products, and display or present information.

Use Virtual Messenger to:

  • Introduce a new product to customers in-store
  • Greet guests at an exclusive event
  • Grab attention while highlighting specials at a restaurant

Holographic Technologies

Holographic Technologies provides customized holographic display solutions.

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The 3D holographic image is shown above centered in a prism-like display case. The 3D image rotates and can be viewed from any angle when navigating around the display. An interactive touchscreen pad allows the user to manipulate the holographic display (i.e., view different products or actions).

While the interactive touchscreen is an optional function, it does provide a fun and entertaining way for retailers to educate and entice consumers on product assortments and brand extensions while in the store.

It also reduces the need for products to be shipped out in physical format in order to showcase it. With the touch of an email you could send the necessary files to your counterparts to showcase your brand!

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Augmented Reality

According to Icreon Tech and Deloitte among others, Augmented Reality (AR) has been cited as one of the top technology trends to take off in 2015.

Blippar

Blippar provides a complete line of services for retailers to launch their own immersive AR campaigns. Using the camera on a smartphone, tablet, or wearable device to recognize images that are “blippable,” users are provided with a response that can range from “unlocking” videos, exclusive offers, interactive games, 3D experiences, product information, and more.

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WATCH THIS VIDEO to see some of Blippar’s amazing mobile augmented reality campaigns.

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Blippar displayed on product packaging for Pepsi

Regardless of the intended purpose of this technology, there is no denying that it offers new and creative ways for retailers to interact with consumers and enhance the overall customer experience. As this trend continues to grow, retailers should not only keep this on their radar, but also start thinking of creative ways to implement their own AR strategies.

Peek Augmented Reality

Peek provides retailers with the ability to “pop-up shop in consumer places and spaces.” (Peek)

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Similar to the 2014 IKEA Catalog app, users can arrange, rotate, and remove objects in a photorealistic setting that takes into account the correct scale and lighting conditions.

WATCH THIS VIDEO to learn more about PEEK.

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Demonstration of Peek app: A “marker” is placed on the floor, which then brings a realistic representation of the products to life on screen

Swivel by FaceCake’s Virtual Dressing Room and Beauty Bar

Virtual dressing rooms have been in the market for some time but have yet to gain full-blown adoption by retailers. However with advances in technology, the experience it provides continues to improve. Swivel by FaceCake’s virtual dressing room and Beauty Bar are the latest examples of this fun, useful, and innovative technology. It is more realistic than previous models and offers new features such as social sharing and built-in links for easy purchases.

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Swivel virtual dressing room using Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect technology, featured at Microsoft’s booth

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Beauty Bar – users can experiment with various types and combinations of cosmetics and accessories.

WATCH THIS VIDEO to learn more about Swivel by FaceCake’s virtual dressing room and digital beauty bar.

Will this technology replace physically trying on clothes or having a professional make-up artist apply cosmetics? No, but it provides another avenue for consumers to research products and brands.  It enables “trying on” certain merchandise like accessories (e.g., handbags, scarfs) and jewellery, as well as experimenting with different shades and combinations of cosmetics and providing assistance in finding the perfect outfit or “look.” The only downside to this technology is that at this time it cannot perfectly adjust to body shape and size, or mimic various application techniques of cosmetics.

 

3D Printing

In the past few years, we have seen the 3D printing revolution unfold. Though still in its early stages, as this technology continues to advance and new uses and benefits for this technology are realized, the impact of this technology could become yet another game-changer in retailing.

3DMakeable

3DMakeable designs and develops custom 3D printed products and offers custom workshops where they teach attendees how to build, configure and calibrate their own 3D printer.

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The Maker Space at DX3 – includes 3DMakeable

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An example of a DIY 3D printer

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3D-printed products

Is the idea of a 3D printer becoming a staple in every consumer household premature? Perhaps, but giving the rapid growth we saw in smartphone penetration or personal computers, it’s not crazy.

3D printers in general provide many benefits for entrepreneurs, R&D, product designers, manufacturers, etc., but on the consumer side, this technology introduces an alternative to current e-commerce practices – buy online, print at home. Now that’s instant gratification that even “same-day shipping” can’t compete with. With the assistance of a 3D printer, consumers would have the ability to buy the product design online directly from the retailer or supplier, and print instantaneously in the comfort of their own home. The application spans across many industries, such as hardware and toys.

 

In Summary

What do all of these technology tools have in common? They all work to enhance the customer experience, whether at home, online or in the store. With increasing competition and the rapid shifts in consumer behavior, technology plays a key role in differentiating brands and retailers. Brands that are out-of-sync with today’s retail technology or unaware of the massive changes coming rapidly down the road, risk being put out-of-business.

 

Why is Google Opening a Store Now? Google’s First Store in London, U.K.

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The digital world was abuzz Wednesday, on news of Google’s first physical store opening in London, England. The London store-in-store concept is located within Currys PC World, a U.K. electronics retailer owned by Dixons Carphone. The latter will be receiving all revenue from sales of the products.

What the Google store is not, is a typical store or store model for that matter. Touted more as a billboard, the partnership with Dixons provides an opportunity for Google to get customer face-time in real-time and in-person.

Google’s James Elias in a statement said:

“We’re incredibly excited to launch this space―the first of its kind anywhere in the world―in London with Currys PC World.

The pace of innovation of the devices we all use is incredible, yet the way we buy them has remained the same for years. With the Google shop, we want to offer people a place where they can play, experiment and learn about all of what Google has to offer; from an incredible range of devices to a totally-connected, seamless online life.

We think it’s a genuinely unique try-before-you-buy experience.”

Re-visioned Physical spaces are key to helping consumers as they research products

Omni-channel shopping is a key consumer behavior worldwide and Google has picked up on the fact that customers still want to try before they buy, touch-and-feel and certainly play!

With the fast pace of technology, many of the features and functions of new devices likely go unused by the majority of tech-owners, save the tech-savvy. Similar to the Apple Store, the Google store will “offer customers the chance to sample Google’s range of Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops and Chromecasts and learn about how they work together, from one device to the next, to make users’ lives as seamless as possible.”

The need for physical spaces for consumer research is an important idea and integral to the concept of omni-channel shopping and retailing. As retailers and shopping centers consider the re-visioned physical spaces of the future, we will see a greater demand for physical branded spaces. This should be a key consideration for shopping centers who are struggling to determine how they add-value to their tenants.

Branding through Flagship Locations

Some of the more theatrical features of the store that make it a real flagship for Google include an opportunity to check out:

  • An immersive surround screen installation called “Portal” where users can “fly” through any part of the planet through Google Earth;
  • A Doodle Wall where budding graffiti artists can use digital spray cans to paint their own take on Google’s iconic logo, which they can then share on social media; and
  • A Chromecast Pod where customers can enjoy Google Play Movies, YouTube and more, all cast through a Chromecast dongle that converts any TV into a smart TV.

Education of Products

Similar to Apple, the Google Store “hopes to host regular classes and events for the public. Classes will range from how to keep secure online …(to) simply learning how devices work.”

This is integral to customers understanding the value of the products they have purchased and getting optimal use.

Real-Life Example

Regardless of the category, education on products is an important aspect of selling high-end products.  My colleague and I attended a conference in Montreal last week and we had this experience firsthand when we checked out a few med-high-end apparel stores in a shopping center.  One store had a store associate who could tell us the fabric type, process, and even the difference between their products and the competitor.  His enthusiasm was contagious.  Five stores down, the competitor’s store associates, while extremely friendly, provided no added information on why their products were better.  Both my colleague and I are looking to buy a jacket from the first store.

This is where Apple has excelled.  Their store associates are educated on their products, understand the concerns and issues customers have and are part of an education process.  How many times have you heard a friend say “my birthday gift from my spouse will be the new iPhone.” Google must tap into that further in order to hold and expand its Android-based products against a slew of competitors coming out of Asia and North America.

The new Google store is a step in the right direction.  While most news will say Google is too late, we think it’s better late than never.  Consumer behavior shows the need for re-visioned physical spaces to help customers research and buy in tandem with online stores is important.  It’s the way of the future and those who don’t catch up will be closing shop.

Written by: Suthamie Poologasingham, Sr. Advisor of Digital & Omni-Channel, and Director of Research at J.C. Williams Group

Google Shop, UK:

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An overview of the space

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Curved video wall (showing Google Earth), controlled by an interactive pad

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Digital Graffiti wall

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Product sales area

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Sources: Google Press Release, Wall Street Journal; Photos: McMillanDoolittle

Whole Foods Market — A Healthy Foodie’s Paradise…

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Whole Foods Mississauga exterior

There has been a lot of discussion about Whole Foods Market recently. This Texas-based food retailer has made headlines with strong sales growth and sweet margins, plentiful store expansions, price cuts, and much more. They certainly have made a name for themselves in a tough economic climate when other retailers are packing up and leaving town in a hurry. Even with the “whole paycheck” reputation, out there on main street, they are winning. Therefore, with all this commotion, I thought I would pay them a visit at their Mississauga Square One location (just outside Toronto).

Overall, Whole Foods is a paradise for the healthy “foodie.” There is no other way to describe them. Now don’t get me wrong, you pay a premium for what you get but wow is it ever fun! Now hold on, before I go further I must declare that I have joined the millions of North Americans who have started eating healthy recently and my affection for them may be a little biased. Here is my assessment. Take it with a grain of salt substitute!

  1. Indie Grocery shop feel – when you walk through the store you feel like you are in a local independent grocer. For Toronto-dwellers, think Bruno’s. Speckled floor tiles; folksy feel; Lots of earthy colors and fixtures make you feel like you drove outside the city and stumbled upon a great hidden farmers market.
  2. Huge differentiated assortment – they sell food, but they also sell a healthy lifestyle and do a great job assorting that way. In the produce section they have an organic tent that talks to great tasting products that just happen to be great for you. Seafood is “conscientiously caught.” Beef is from “Rain Crow Ranch.” Bread is “naturally kneaded.” Coffee is “sustainably sourced.” There is a “gluten-free” zone as well. Never before have I seen an end cap with a Key Value Item (KVI) of organic Kale Chips.Whole Foods Mississauga organic tent
  3. Wonderful branding and signage – as per point 2 above, they sell a lifestyle. Their use of in-store signage is excellent. They educate the shopper at every major category station with buyer’s guides and use graphics to give you that country farm feel. It all comes together to reinforce your thinking that drives you to make that smart and healthy purchase that day. Core values and quality standards are clearly and proudly posted near the cash.Whole Foods Mississauga core values
  4. Community – a big part of Whole Foods Market is community. It reinforces their lifestyle branding and marketing. Shoppers can sit in a large, welcoming cafe at one of many “community tables” or review local community bulletin boards. You can come in and bottle your own water here. The store acts like a healthy foodie “safe house” where all is right and everyone around them has the same philosophy about eating. A homecoming if you will.
    Whole Foods Mississauga community table
  5. Merchandising for margin – it’s not just about feeling healthy and being part of a community. These folks are very smart about making money. Their financials show it too. When you enter the store on the right, you enter a large and profitable fresh produce section which leads to an inspirational meat and seafood offering at the back. Organic is everywhere and we all know organic equals high margin. The lower profit dry goods section in the center is memorable for lots of differentiated higher-profit items. The left side of the store consists of a profit-driving bakery and a lucrative fresh ready-made section that offers high margins yet again.Whole Foods Mississauga seafoodWhole Foods Mississauga bread

In summary, Whole Foods Market does it right! They have grown and harvested a high margin market segment and “serve up” what they want, how they want it, in a way that talks to their high-value customers effectively. They are a great example to look to for success within the retail industry.

Are you doing it as well as Whole Foods Market? Let’s discuss over a healthy salad!

Bruce Winder, Senior Advisor, J.C. Williams Group
bwinder@jcwg.com, 416-705-5627

Retail Inspiration from the East — A Visit to Central World, Bangkok

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Look up Thailand and Shopping on Google, and you get 119 million results to look through. Look up Thailand alone and you get 880 million results. Why does shopping in Thailand make up 14% of its hits? Historically known for its cheap finds and bargain deals, the capital city of Bangkok has come a long way, impressing tourists and locals with more than just deals.

We visited CentralWorld in Bangkok, one of the world’s largest malls at 550,000 square meters. Upscale and well-presented retail make this a local favorite as well as a tourist hotspot for buying the most coveted brands and experiencing some exciting retail browsing.

As a way of engaging with customers during the holidays, Wall’s provides free ice cream in exchange for customers posting a photo of themselves with Snoopy.

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CentralWorld’s high-end department store, ZEN, is all about customer service.  From your regular gift vouchers to providing a bag drop for tourists to enable a comfortable shopping experience.

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ZEN’s displays for the holidays are unique and inspiring, giving consumers ideas for shopping and displaying products in fun and fashionable ways to make shopping an enjoyable experience.

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The children’s department shows you why it’s fun to be a kid! Instead of just the regular kid mannequins, ZEN features large toy mannequins as well.

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Stepping outside of ZEN department store and walking around CentralMall you will find many creative kiosks.  They are made out of glass so you can see every nook and cranny of their creativity and great displays.  Whether you want to put in a pop-up store or a kiosk or are a local vendor, this is how you do it so you get customers coming back each and every time they want to shop.

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Many shopping malls are finding ways to entertain their customers beyond shopping and CentralWorld is no exception.  The Rink provides daily activities for kids so parents are able to kick back with a coffee as they relax and watch.

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For those who like to enjoy a view of their next dream car as they dine, the BMW Diner caters to auto enthusiasts!

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CentralWorld is an example of the modern shopping centers that popping up all over Southeast Asia.  The creativity shown from retailing to dining to services gives shoppers an unparalleled high-end and inspiring experience to be enjoyed.

Will Nordstrom Have the Same Problems as Target?

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On the surface, Nordstrom’s and Target’s entries into Canada have a lot of similarities.  They announced they were coming the same year.  They are both brands that are unique in the marketplace and relatively well known among Canadians.  This is the first foray outside of the U.S. for them.  Both stores relied heavily on their head office staff and were determined to deliver their culture in their new home.  This is where the similarities end.

Target opted for a “big bang” launch into Canada.  Nordstrom has chosen a very measured roll out of stores.

Target renovated a large number of existing stores within a short time.  Nordstrom only opened their first store two years after announcing their intention to enter Canada.

SO WHO WAS RIGHT?

With Target’s announcement that they are pulling out of Canada, it appears that Nordstrom took the right approach.  To confirm whether this is true, we recently took a close look at the only Nordstrom store operating in Canada.  Located in Calgary, Canada’s oil capital, the store opened in September 2014.  There has been enough time since then for the operators to get any kinks worked out as well as to see whether they can sustain the excitement of their opening.  Here is what we found.

This is a store that shouts service.  From the front entrance to the friendly staff that seem to genuinely care that you are finding what you want.  Someone even said “Welcome to Nordstrom!”

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Key service message at front door – Nordstrom

Nordstrom sign

The sign lists all the various services Nordstrom offers

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Another service – a rest area to just sit and people watch

The store itself is well appointed and comfortable.  In fact, it looks better than a lot of American Nordstrom stores.

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The merchandise looks very fresh and although there was reduced merchandise (not surprising for January) the store was set to look great and give the Nordstrom shopper the option of high-end brands to more interesting little known brands.

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With a combination of great service, seasonally appropriate merchandise, and a great look, Nordstrom does not disappoint. They can even entice a jaded retail consultant to start looking for her size!

So will Nordstrom make it in Canada – if Canadians have anything to say about it, the answer is yes. The number of Nordstrom bags going out of the store on a Thursday morning in January proves that point. The only issue is, can they make money on these stores? While we see them getting the top line sales, whether they can make money with Canada’s higher cost structure, only time will tell.

Target…Totally Predictable!

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Target Retail Store

Target leaving Canada is no surprise. Their stores were a real flop right out of the gate. Since the chain first opened its doors in March 2013, there were all sorts of basic issues: supply chain and empty shelves, dropping a fashion flyer with no advertised items in the store, summer fashion posters still up in November, etc. Behind this was an organization that was siloed—with marketing, merchandising and operations clearly not communicating and totally out-of-sync.

What has always been an amazing situation is that this phenomenal U.S. chain couldn’t even get Retail 101 right in Canada: in the Target store closest to my neighbourhood, the front and forward merchandise areas were empty and the high-traffic fixtures around the escalators were devoted to dollar store items. Even more astounding was the situation when I went to purchase a pair of jeans on the second floor men’s wear department. I was told that there was “no fitting room and that I would have to go to the lower floor women’s wear department.” What? A men’s wear area without fitting rooms? OMG!

We all hoped for an up-beat, creative, contemporary offering. What we got was a mess.

Unfortunately, they won’t be missed—because they never ever really arrived.

Some key learnings from Target:

  • Get the basics right!
  • Don’t be arrogant!
  • Don’t switch your culture!
  • Be nimble—or else!
  • If you have great resources—use them!
  • Never underestimate a competitor!

2015 Retail Outlook…Time to Check Your Priorities!

Canadian retailers of all types will find an action packed year ahead of them. With an economic background consisting of many pluses and minuses, retailers need to be super-sensitive to “messages from consumers” and agile in their reactions. Here is what the advisors at J.C. Williams Group think retail management must look out for.

  • E-tail (with 82% of Canadians researching products online and 71% making a recent purchase – source: J.C. Williams Group Canadian E-tail Report) is now a formidable and growing force. Commodities like Electronics and Entertainment have penetration of over 30%—and even apparel has 18% of expenditures spent online! Any retailer not moving to cross-channel or omni-channel retail will be left behind.
  • Value retailers from Dollarama and Giant Tiger to Walmart and Costco in the price-driven sector, fast-fashion H&M and Zara (Index Group), and Best Buy/Future Shop will continue to steal market share. Consumers want clear choices. Retailers without a clear strategy will confuse shoppers and lose buying traffic.
  • On the opposite end of the scale, Canadians will have more alternatives at the top end. Not to be outdone, Harry Rosen and Holt Renfrew continue bold expansions and upgrades while new entries Nordstrom and Saks will offer new shopper experiences. The question for the industry is “Will all of this be over saturation within our small country?”
  • As Canada builds with urban density, shoppers will see many more stores in city cores – most in smaller formats like the recently announced IKEA “pick up store” of ±37,000 sq. ft. Driving this change is the high cost of retail real estate and the creation of the web-based “endless aisle” where expanded assortments are shown online rather than in-store.
  • What does seem clear is that the retail life cycle (innovation ⇒ rapid growth  ⇒ mass acceptance ⇒ maturity ⇒ decline) is getting shorter. Canadian retailers that are (a) caught in the middle either value-wise or fast-fashion wise, (b) not focused on a micro-segment, (c) not clearly and uniquely differentiated, and (d) not offering omni-channel shopping (with some minor exceptions) will face competitive headwinds.
  • Canada has many of the best retailers in the world! These creative, service-centred, agile, and entrepreneurial omni-channel businesses will prosper in our country of great opportunities.

Source: Senior Advisors at J.C. Williams Group Limited
Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Washington

How to Generate $2,000 per Square Foot…Ten Steps to Success!

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On a recent trip to New York I ventured off Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Soho – to Brooklyn and the Atlantic Terminal Mall on Flatbush Avenue (not exactly the haute couture centre of the City).

There on the second floor was a Uniqlo store, opened in October 2013, which was nowhere near as “jazzy” as its Fifth Avenue or Soho older brothers’ (or sisters’) stores. But look beyond all the fancy Christmas stuff of the Manhattan store and you’ll observe a lean-mean-merchandising-machine! This store has to be pushing $2,000 per square foot. And here is why.

Lessons Learned from Uniqlo
#1 Choose a Solid Location with Strong Adjacent Tenants
Co-anchor tenants include Target (not a Canadian version!), Burlington Coat Factory, DSW, Victoria’s Secret, and 25 national specialty chains. These are located at a major transit junction in central Brooklyn, so lots of shopper traffic!

#2 Straight Forward Messages are Best
Shoppers are in a hurry, often confused or conflicted, and need simple choices. Make sure your “theme” messages are easy to comprehend and react to!

The entrance and store sign are open and inviting.
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The windows tell the “colour theme” story clearly. Shoppers “get it” in the blink of an eye.
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#3 The Front 10 Feet Pays the Rent!
The “front and forward” space productivity should be three to four times the rest of the store. You cannot generate sensational sales revenue with an artsy-fartsy display or minimal intensity. Good retailers know and practice this. They load up the front with best sellers.

Just look at Uniqlo’s displays with:
1. Sales associates beside each one
2. Bright, colourful product
3. In depth assortment
4. Fantastic prices on cashmere women’s and men’s sweaters! $59.90
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#4 Backup Feature Item In-depth
Part of Uniqlo’s success is single-focused promotional items featured in limited ranges (huge buying clout!). Winter jackets were in big demand at $59.90 and $29.90.
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#5 In-depth Merchandise Sends a “These Items are Important” Message
“If they have that much of this item – it must be important and popular” is what these walls convey.
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#6 End-aisles are Great for Add-on Sales of Smaller Accessories
Building high productivity is done using many different merchandising techniques. Every one has to be used!
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#7 Make the Store a Merchandising Machine with Lots of Impulse Items
Your store gets to $2,000 a square foot by using every space and idea.
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#8 What is Your Inventory per Square Foot?
All retailers should use this metric to analyse sales trends in departments and classifications. Uniqlo does not shy away from “using the cube” to showcase assortments and build productivity. All these pictured items have in-depth backup right on the fixture.
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#9 An Efficient Check-out is Essential
While Uniqlo had long lines at the service desk, they moved quickly.
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#10 Lots of Team Members
While almost hidden in the crush of shoppers, there were dozens of uniformed (all in black) staff continuously re-stocking and straightening inventory. This store was managed in an obviously organized and disciplined manner.

Uniqlo’s unique value position is re-enforced by the simplicity of its visual presentation, the commitment to inventory depth, and the efficiency of the shopping experience.

Mexx Brand About to Die in Its Omni-channel Sleep!

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News of the Dutch fashion brand, Mexx, filing for bankruptcy did not come as a surprise to us.

Earlier this year, while working on an international omni-channel strategy for a Canadian competitor of Mexx, we attempted to audit Mexx’s online strategy. At the time, we found that they had recently put their online business to bed.

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According to the company, they decided to close the website to build a better one that would provide its customers with a superior shopping experience—a wise move in a digitally driven world.

However, now that the company is bankrupt, it appears that not only their online business but also the brand has died, or is about to die in its sleep!

Mexx.ca

On December 5, 2014, the day after Mexx filed for bankruptcy, we discovered the company’s website is no longer in a state of slumber, but it has not fully awaken. For instance, a banner that advertised a door crasher special for girls’ apparel was still on the homepage despite the fact that the offer had ended on December 1, 2014, which was four days ago!

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Online Sales Continue to Rise

An interesting shift is occurring in the retail world. For some retailers, online sales could potentially account for the majority of total sales in the near future. A new research report from UBS highlighted four companies that are expected to see a large portion of sales coming from e-commerce in the fourth quarter of 2014. These retailers include:

Retailer Estimated Online Sales (as a % of Total Sales)
American Eagle Outfitters 24%
Urban Outfitters 38%
Lululemon 22%
Abercrombie & Fitch 29%

It was not long ago when many had said apparel purchases would not be well-received online!

“Go Omni-channel or Go Home”

While e-commerce is clearly the way to go, successful retailers are not stopping at a spectacular website. They are embracing what it means to be an omni-channel retailer. An omni-channel retailer integrates all of their channels to engage customers with a consistent, seamless and superior experience and message, and/or to gain efficiencies, such as inventory efficiency.

J.C. Williams Group’s quarterly Canadian E-tail Report surveys Canadian consumers regarding their online purchasing habits. The message has consistently been “Go Omni-channel or Go Home!”

Retailers who have invested in an omni-channel strategy have seen both their online sales and enterprise value increase.

If you don’t have an omni-channel strategy, in its place is a gaping hole in your business. Your customers are probably going elsewhere while you are sleeping. It is time to wake up before your brand falls into an eternal omni-channel slumber.

Shoes: The New Retail Anchor

What woman doesn’t love shoes?

While always regarded as an “anchor” department in traditional department stores and some shopping centers, no one really capitalized on it dramatically.

That was until Shelfridges London flagship store devoted about one-half a floor to women’s shoes with dramatic feature displays and a full range of brands.

Now, The Dubai Mall (±6,000,000 sq. ft.) has created a new twist on “shoes as an anchor.” Featured in small boutique shops are “branch-shops” of all the brands and designer names elsewhere in this mall. They are all clustered in the mall’s “Level Shoe District.”

This grouping is a mix of formal small spaces, open displays in the mall, and mini designer flagships. Whatever can be thought of the Level Shoe District, it is exceptional. However, drawbacks include some “shops” without staff, others without back-up stock immediately available, and confusion if it is a shop or a display. As well, it is not featured prominently on their website.

One thing that is clearly proven in retail—classification dominance of a particular category is a powerful shopper draw. With this lineup (below), The Mall of Dubai’s Level Shoe District is unique!

Bally Berluti Car Shoe
Chanel Christian Louboutin Diesel
Dior Dolce & Gabbana Fendi
Fred Perry Geox Giuseppe Zanotti
Gucci Harry’s of London Kate Spade
Lacoste Le Coq Sportif Louis Vuitton
Marc by Marc Jacobs Miu Miu Onitsuka Tiger
Paul Smith Pierre Corthay Prada
Private Collection Puma Ralph Lauren
Repetto Roger Vivier Saint Laurent Paris
Sergio Rossi Stuart Weitzman Tods
Tory Burch Valentino Vogue Café
Sole Lounge by Margaret Dabbs Concept Store by The Zoo The Cobbler

Level Shoe District Level Shoe District 10 Level Shoe District 9 Level Shoe District 8 Level Shoe District 7 Level Shoe District 6 Level Shoe District 5 Level Shoe District 4 Level Shoe District 3 Level Shoe District 2

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