Weekly News Roundup: Mobile Gen Z, App Downloads Up, Smart Stores

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

Mobile Gen Z
Digital natives of Generation Z prefer smartphones over other devices, but they still shop in stores. IBM's report shares how retailers must "create more interactive engagement around their brands to serve the 'always on,' mobile-focused, high-spending demographic" (Fox Business, Mobile Commerce Daily)

App Downloads Up
Worldwide app downloads went up 15% in 2016 (Venture BeatTechCrunch). With app downloads expected to top 200 billion this year, The Next Web shares how brands can create micro-moments to keep mobile users coming back.

Smart Stores
Advancing technology to create personalized experiences will help retailers grow with their walk-in customers of the future; sensors, interactive shelves, robots, and self-checkout are among the new technologies coming to stores (AP).

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Topics: Trends

[FREE DOWNLOAD] Mobile SEO Best Practices Checklist


In recent years, Google has shown its dedication to creating a completely mobile-friendly web. (Remember Mobilegeddon?)

Google made another change to its search algorithm called Mobile-first Indexing, which uses the mobile-friendly version of a website to determine the search results ranking. It makes a lot of sense after you know smartphones and tablets drive more online searches and web traffic than desktops.

Think with Google: There are more searches on mobile than on desktop, and more than half of all web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets.Source: Think with Google

To help you understand mobile SEO, we outlined the basics that will help you rank in search, including:
  • Robots.txt
  • Sitemaps
  • Interstitials
  • Canonical Link Tags
  • Alternative Link Tags
  • Title Tags
  • Meta Tags
  • Image Descriptions
  • Structured Data Elements


Learn more about each of these touchpoints by downloading the Mobile SEO Best Practices Checklist


Topics: Trends

Breakthrough Thoughts on In-Store Experiences

Woman scanning product tag in a retail store

As several big-name retailers begin downsizing, others are investing more in their in-store experiences—some for the first time ever—and adding mobile to the mix. Although the cards are stacked against traditional brick-and-mortar, omnichannel shopping is alive and well, and retail stores are a key component.

Register for our next webinar: "Retailers: Are You on the Road(map) to Success?"

Hear from top e-commerce executives and what they're saying about the importance of retail stores and their upcoming plans for enhancing the in-store experience:


This forward-thinking brand already uses their smartphone and tablet apps to capitalize on Singles' Day sales, shoppable video, and more. Now, Farfetch plans transition from pureplay to omnichannel retail by opening a "Store of the Future" this year, which will focus on personalization by leveraging data.

The future of luxury fashion, we believe, will involve — to a large extent — the physical store... But the future of the physical store will be augmented by digital platforms. At this intersection of physical and digital retail, many new customer-focused, unique experiences are suddenly made possible.
— José Neves, Founder and CEO
José Neves, Farfetch Founder and CEO

Rent the Runway

After its flagship store opened in New York in 2013, more locations popped up in places, like Chicago, San Francisco, D.C., and Vegas because Rent the Runway quickly realized the benefits of brick-and-mortar stores—people with appointments purchase 26x more often than online shoppers. Its stores are outfitted with check-in kiosks, which help associates learn about shoppers' preferences, and offer customers styling sessions.

It's more like a club, or a place that you feel like you're kind of a member of.... We find for a lot of our customers, that experience is what makes them fall in love with our stores.
— Maureen Sullivan, President
Maureen Sullivan, Rent the Runway President


Nordstrom plans to focus on uniting its online and in-store experiences after seeing sales drop for over a year. A new associate app is expected to enable employees to send recommendations directly to their customers from the retailer's online catalog. The company is also exploring self-checkout. 

The way customers are choosing to shop in a more digitally connected world continues to change, and we know we need to find ways for our stores to evolve with them. This is a challenge but we also see a tremendous opportunity to leverage our stores in ways that will allow us to serve customers into the future better than anyone else.
— Erik Nordstrom, Co-president
Erik Nordstrom, Nordstrom Co-president


Since the downfall of some athletic and department stores, Nike is dedicated to customizing experiences in their own stores. A multi-floor store in Manhattan offers brand enthusiasts adaptive lighting in the dressing rooms to see what clothing looks like in different locations, testing floors for specialized shoes, same-day deliveries, and more. Mobile integration plays a key part in their strategy, where shoppers can book one-on-one appointments for consultations. 

Consumers just expect more. They expect more immersive experiences at retail like you are seeing here.
— Heidi O'Neill, President of Global Direct to Consumer
Heidi O'Neill, Nike President of Global Direct to Consumer

Barnes & Noble

Potentially looking to expand its customer base, Barnes & Noble built a restaurant inside the store, which locally sources beer and wine, and is completely surrounded by book displays. Associate and customer ordering systems are an integral part of the in-store experience.

We know we have a lot to learn, and we welcome that. We want this to be a special place … and we will work to keep improving.
— David Deason, VP of Development
David Deason, Barnes & Noble VP of Development

Are You on the Road(map) to Success?

Learn how to transform your omnichannel retail strategy and which retailers are leading the way with their online and in-store innovation.

Join our webinar on Tuesday, January 31 at 1:00 p.m. ET with Branding Brand CEO Chris Mason along with guest speaker, Forrester Principal Analyst Brendan Witcher.

Register for the Webinar

Topics: Omnichannel Trends Solutions

Weekly News Roundup: Hot Retailers, Fast Growth Online, AI Innovators

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

Hot Retailers
AEO, Victoria’s Secret, and Everlane — one of the first brands to prioritize e-commerce — are included in Business Insider’s list of retailers to watch in 2017. Bloomberg explores if retailers like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods can stay mostly offline and succeed

Fast Growth Online
Retailers saw 8-times faster growth online than in stores this holiday season (Fortune). Partially due to lacking foot traffic in malls, The Limited is working to close its 250 stores (Wall Street Journal).

AI Innovators
Embracing artificial intelligence technology, Starbucks will roll out a voice ordering assistant early this year and Cosabella matches shoppers with individualized e-commerce experiences (AdWeek).

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Topics: Trends

Weekly News Roundup: Predictions, CES, Brand Fallout

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

2017 Predictions
A report by USA Today anticipates groundbreaking changes in mobile tech for 2017, along with expectations on shopping might change

Consumer-focused AI gadgets took center stage at the CES convention this week, along with a TV so paper-thin it can be hung with magnets (New York Times, USA Today). Wireless charging and health tracking devices were popular among Innovation Award finalists (BGR).

Brand Fallout
With disappointing holiday results behind them, Macy’s and Kohl’s must revamp omnichannel strategies (MarketWatch). Also trying to stay afloat is Sears Holdings, which will sell off its Craftsman brand and close 150 Sears and Kmart stores (Bloomberg, CNN Money).

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Topics: Trends