Weekly News Roundup: Commerce Survivors, Rolling Warehouses, Failure Learning

Weekly News Roundup

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

Commerce Survivors
Retail's survival-of-the-fittest game will be determined by digital and in-store strategy (Women's Wear Daily). Behind the scenes, AI becomes increasingly more relevant in the fashion industry (Glossy)

Rolling Warehouses
Drone-delivered packages could start coming from a new "rolling warehouse" system by UPS (Bloomberg, Inc. Magazine). The shipping technology likely won't take hold until 2020 (RetailDIVE).

Failure Learning
Department stores might be too big to succeed, but there's still potential (FORTUNE, eMarketer, RetailDIVE). Competing with Amazon's shipping model is starting to shake out as revenue loss for major players (CNBC, FORTUNE)

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Topics: Trends

Why the iGeneration Shops Retailers Other Than Amazon

Gen Z enjoys sharing their shopping experiences

There's no denying that Amazon is currently the retailer to beat. However, the iGeneration, also known as Generation Z, could be part of the motivation behind Amazon's ventures into brick-and-mortar. NRF reports that 98% of these shoppers say they prefer to purchase in-store, and with an estimated $44 billion in buying power, brands can't afford to ignore them.

Request the webinar recap for “4 Opportunities to Win in the Digital Retail World.”

Born between the mid 1990s and early 2000s, Gen Z members are digital natives—they grew up with technology and are hardwired to know how to use it. Knowing this, it would make sense if this group was Amazon-obsessed. However, reports cite an increase in demand for fresh in-store experiences, and the iGeneration is already leaving behind brands that can't adapt.

A Business of Fashion article states:

"Today's teens live out their lives on social media, where social currency is built on experiences. 'They don't want to buy stuff. They're buying an experience and the product they get through it is kind of a bonus.'" 

Purchasing on Amazon is less about creating a memorable experience and more about immediacy and convenience, which is the opposite of what Gen Z-ers are seeking. Brands unavailable on Amazon should focus on building out customer loyalty programs catered to meeting the demands of digital natives. Traditional retailers can also capitalize on Amazon's strategy by launching mobile apps that streamline the omnichannel experience.  

As a Gen Z-er myself, I'm likely to post an Instagram photo showing off my new headphones, but there's no reason to include that they're from Amazon unless I'm complaining about a problem. On the other hand, if I spent the day out shopping with friends Snapchatting and taking photos, I'm more inclined to Instagram my new purchases, detailing my experiences that day and sharing where I shopped.

In short, digital natives seek shareable experiences that the e-commerce giant can't provide—unless they're trying out Amazon Go or Amazon Books stores. Learn more about how your brand can combat Amazon and win in the ever-changing retail landscape by signing up for our upcoming webinar.

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Topics: Omnichannel Trends

[PRESS] WWD: Mobile Commerce to Transform Retail From Transactional to Conversational

WWD-2-21-17.jpgSource: WWD

Women's Wear Daily included insights from Branding Brand's most recent webinar in a story about omnichannel retailing. 

Here's a clip: 

Growth prospects for integrated customer experiences are poised to rise and swift, successful transitions to omnichannel dialogs between retailers and consumers could likely determine survival of the fittest.

And most likely, that dialog (and hopefully conversions) will occur on a mobile device. Mobile commerce is pegged to garner 45 percent of total e-commerce by 2020, reaching $284 billion in sales, according to a BI Intelligence report.

The journey there is expected to be challenging as retail’s landscape has evolved into a battlefield of pure-play, bricks-and-clicks and brick-and-mortar brands. Success hinges on the adoption of emerging technologies and strategic customer communication. “Faced with a plethora of choices and communications, consumers tend to fall back on the limited set of brands that have made it through the wilderness of messages,” according to researchers at McKinsey & Co. Today, retailers are tasked with the challenge of cleverly navigating through this wilderness to connect to customers in a way that is both personal and profitable.

Omnichannel retailing underscores engagement at all levels: in-store, online, mobile and social media. Branding Brand, the largest retail app and mobile commerce platform, envisions a future led by real-time commerce — fueled by a seamless shopping experience.

“Retailers must connect all touch points in the buying journey,” a cyclical process that integrates personalization, engagement, data gathering, observation and the development of customer and associate apps, noted researchers at Branding Brand. “Even if a customer starts and ends the buying process in the same channel, there are many touch points in between when they’re researching and comparing products,” they observed.

And while those touch points are increasingly done online and via apps, physical stores still have a vital role to play. Amid store closings at The Limited, Macy’s, Office Depot, CVS and Wet Seal, there is a concurrent resurgence of brick-and-mortar store openings for digitally native pure-play brands — the likes of Amazon, Modcloth and Rent the Runway — that are ahead of the curve in their customer experience curation.

“Being able to touch and feel products at physical stores often makes customers more comfortable buying apparel and accessories. Storefronts also act as advertisements and can boost the prestige associated with a brand,” CB Insights said in a separate report.

Meanwhile, retail mobile activity has become a preferred form of engagement, with 74 percent of customers shopping in-app while waiting in store lines, according to Branding Brand. Though only 21 percent of smartphone owners had a range of three to five retail apps on their device as reported in an October 2015 comScore survey, vast improvements in the mobile sector allude to a surge of growth. “Advances in smartphone technologies, upgraded mobile networks and mobile-specific digital tools and platforms are making both mobile commerce and location-based services a reality. This, in turn, enables brands and consumers to engage with one another anytime, anywhere,” said researchers in a report from Deloitte.

Effectively, consumers now anticipate the conveniences and amenities of real-time communication, with most expecting to use shopping apps for purchasing products, tracking orders, earning rewards, accessing or saving coupons and browsing products. “Individualization means engaging in real-time by listening, measuring, assessing and addressing intent across every enterprise touch point,” Branding Brand stated. This practice marks the shift from transactional commerce to “conversational commerce.”

View on WWD.com

full recap from the referenced webinar "Retailers: Are You on the Road(map) to Success?" is available below. 

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Topics: Trends Media Coverage Company

Weekly News Roundup: Sales Boom, Fierce Competition, Zombie Retailers

Weekly News Roundup

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

Sales Boom
An indication of consumer confidence in the U.S. economy, January 2017 retail sales rose more than expected — with online retail remaining strong and on-par with its December 2016 performance (Fox Business, Bloomberg)

Fierce Competition
Walmart will streamline online and in-store buying processes to be more efficient and competitive against Amazon (Reuters). Estimates say between 65-70 million people worldwide subscribe to Amazon Prime (RetailDive).

Zombie Retailers
The Wall Street Journal reports on the roster of retailers living on borrowed time. Shifting consumer preferences to online shopping poses problems for retailers averse to investing in digital (MarketWatch, CNBC). 

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Topics: Trends

Everything You Need to Know About the "Amazon Effect"

Amazon Go store in Seattle
Source: The Verge

In today's evolving retail landscape, many brands are struggling to strike a balance between ever-changing consumer demands and the alluring appeal of new technology.

To make matters worse, traditional retailers face an uphill battle against a company that's redefining the rules of the industry: Amazon. A recent study shows that half of retailers cite Amazon as their biggest threat.

Fast Company recently declared Amazon the world's most innovative company of 2017 due to the brand's unstoppable ability to grow into other markets, remain popular with consumers, and threaten traditional retailers. This has been dubbed the "Amazon effect."

Request the webinar recap for "4 Opportunities to Win in the Digital Retail World."

What is the "Amazon effect?"

Amazon's ability to construct holistic buyer personas in an age of erratic, nonlinear consumer journeys gives them a huge advantage over brands still trying to understand their customers' online and in-store habits. 

In Fast Company's words: "Our mobile-first, on-demand world finds its roots in Amazon’s founding idea: that digital commerce will radically reshape our marketplace."

Amazon's clear understanding of the consumer enables them to create optimal user experiences in store and online as well as penetrate new markets

What makes the "Amazon effect" so powerful?

Amazon Prime is the powerhouse behind the "Amazon effect." The membership provides services shoppers demand, such as free two-day shipping, streaming content, and more, while collecting valuable data and driving sales—Prime members spend 4x more than nonmembers annually. According to Fast Company:

To truly understand how Bezos is meshing size and agility in 2017, though, you need to look beyond sales figures ($100 billion in 2015) and the stock price (up more than 300% in the past five years) and consider three initiatives that drive Amazon today: Prime, the company’s rapidly proliferating $99-per-year membership program; an incursion into the physical world with brick-and-mortar stores, something the company has long resisted; and a restless rethinking of logistics, epitomized by a new fulfillment center an hour outside Seattle that features high-tech robots working alongside human workers like a factory of the future.

Traditionally brick-and-mortar big box stores' inability to refine omnichannel, reach consumers at all touchpoints, and pinpoint a linear buyer's journey make them vulnerable to the "Amazon effect." 

How are retailers combating the "Amazon effect?"

Innovative brands are investing in 4 key areas of their digital strategy. Find out what they are in our next webinar "4 Opportunities to Win in the Digital Retail World."

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Topics: Trends