What does the future of retail look like?

by Deepak Sharma on Monday, July 26, 2010

If this is a question you are trying to seek answer to, I suggest head over to Cashier Live’s recently launched interactive microsite “Future of Retail”. New technologies like mobile advertising, in-store augmented reality, and cloud-based software are changing how retailers (big and small) sell to consumers. The microsite presents scenarios for Mobile coupons, Virtual mirrors, Welcome kiosk, Digital signage, Self-checkout, Email receipts, Store management, RFID tags and Purchase orders. For each scenario, there are Proof of Concepts which shows how the retailers are working or thinking about using these new technologies. For e.g. for Welcome Kiosk there is this cool Gap Welcome video from Minority Report.

Retail’s Mobility Imperative

by Deepak Sharma on Sunday, July 25, 2010

Forbes Insights has just published a study on how large U.S. retailers are approaching the mobile channel and looking to serve the mobile consumer.

The study-"Retail's Mobility Imperative: A Measured Approach to the Emerging Channel"- is based on an exclusive survey of more than 300 executives at leading U.S. retailers. It found that nearly three out of four (73%) retailers now have some type of mobile initiative in place, and almost half (47%) said their approach to the mobile channel was being driven by a desire to capture "first-mover advantage" and help them increase their engagement with mobile customers. The study also looks at how retailers are crafting their emerging mobile strategies, and where mobile's share of the marketing budget is heading.

You can download a copy of the study at: http://www.forbes.com/forbesinsights/retailmobility/index.html

New Rules of Retail

by Deepak Sharma on Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Oracle Retail has a new white paper on New Rules of Retail. These rules are derived from book by Jeff Jarvis, well-known author of What Would Google Do?, of what he calls Google Rules. The table below takes each of Jarvis’ Google Rules and applies them to retail industry examples to derive ten new rules of retail.

Retail has come full circle, local to global and now back to local as international retailers cater to individual preferences of their best customers. It’s a complex consumer market that spans borders, retail formats and media, and new rules of engagement apply. Jeff Jarvis’ book What Would Google Do? inspires ten guidelines that help retailers to thrive in today’s new consumer marketplace.

Google Rule

Industry Examples

New Retailer Rule

New Relationship Your worst customer is your friend; you best customer is your partner

Newegg.com lets manufacturers respond to customer comments, and their EggXpert site lets customers help other customers.

1. Listen to customers. Convert the critics to fans and the fans to influencers.

New Architecture Join a network; be a platform

Tesco and BestBuy released APIs for their product catalogs so third-parties could create new applications.

2. Become a destination for information.

New Publicness Life is public, so is business

Zappos and WholeFoods founders are prolific tweeters/bloggers, sharing their opinions and connecting to customers. It’s not always pretty, but it’s genuine.

3. Be transparent. Share both your successes and failures with your customers.

New Society Elegant organization

Wet Seal helps customers assemble outfits and show them off to each other. Barnes & Noble has a community site that includes a bookclub.

4. Communities of your customers already exist, so help them organize better.

New Economy Mass market is dead; long live the mass of niches

lululemon found a niche for yoga inspired athletic wear. Threadless uses crowd-sourcing to design short-runs of T-shirts.

5. Serve small markets with niche products.

New Business Reality Decide what business you’re in

When Lowes realized catering to women brought the men along, their sales increased.

6. Customers want experiences to go with the products they buy.

New Attitude Trust the people and listen

In 2008, Starbucks launched MyStartbucksIdea to solicit ideas from their customers.

7. Use social networks as data points for making better merchandising decisions.

New Ethic Be honest and transparent; don’t be evil

Target is giving away reusable shopping bags for Earth Day. Kohl’s has outfitted 67 stores with solar arrays.

8. Being green earns customers’ respect and lowers costs too.

New Speed Life is live

H&M and Zara keep up with fashion trends.

9. Be prepared to pounce on you customers’ fickle interests.

New Imperatives Encourage, enable and protect innovation

1-800-Flowers was first to sell via Facebook and an early adopter of mobile commerce. The Sears Personal Shopper mobile app finds products based on a photo.

10. Give your staff permission to fail so innovation won’t be stifled.

PSFK presents the Future of Retail

by Deepak Sharma on Monday, July 05, 2010

Driven by technology, the web, community and the search for ever-richer experiences, the world of shopping is undergoing a sweeping transformation. This free report from PSFK seeks to understand the forces of change and provide a framework in which we can envision this new future.

Forever21 and Augmented Reality

by Deepak Sharma on Sunday, July 04, 2010

Fashion brand called Forever21 has just launched a massive augmented reality billboard in Times Square. Great way to use Augmented Reality and engage with the users and what great place than Times Square.

From http://www.fastcompany.com/1663846/times-square-billboards-use-spy-tech-to-reach-out-and-grab-you

Designed by interactive agency Space150 for Forever 21, the billboard features a model walking in front of an image of the crowd below. And then it gets interesting: The model occasionally leans over, and appears to pluck someone out of the crowd. Sometimes, they stink, so she tosses them. Sometimes she kisses them, and they turn into a frog. And sometimes, she drops them in her bag and happily trots off. At one point, the model takes a Polaroid of the crowd, shakes it out, and brandishes it in front of her--showing off a zoomed-in image of the people below.

The billboard relies on technology that's usually used in government or security surveillance, and Space150 had to consult surveillance experts to pull it off. Above the 61-foot-high face a high definition Prosilica camera captures the crowd. But then, software picks apart the individuals in the crowd, and selects some for a digital composite built in real-time, which is then used in the interactions with the virtual model on screen.

The software even picks up the yellow of the Forever 21 bag, so that anyone holding one is more likely to get noticed by the model. (If someone actually goes into the store, there are now heat sensors that detect them, and cause a bunch of flash bulbs surrounding the threshold to go off, simulating dozens of paparazzi.)

Times Square Billboard by Space150 from Cliff Kuang on Vimeo.

Most Valuable Global Retail Brands

by Deepak Sharma on Thursday, July 01, 2010

A newly released study by Kantar Retail and BrandZ examines the most valuable global retail brands and reveals critical success requirements for retailers and suppliers to thrive in the new retail environment. The Top 20 Most Valuable Global Retail Brands report combines retailer and shopper insights and analyses from Kantar Retail with the definitive Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking produced annually by Millward Brown Optimor and powered by the BrandZ database. Walmart tops the list followed by Amazon, Tesco, Carrefour and Target.


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