Fashion’s infatuation with AR continues, but only certain use cases inspire consumer engagement

Glossy – As fashion brands are embracing augmented reality, the question remains of whether there is an actual appetite for such tools or if brands are pushing them in spite of apathy from consumers.

Over the past few years, augmented reality has become a powerfully appealing idea among Silicon Valley elites and marketing teams across industries, and some reports put the AR market at $83 billion by 2021. What’s more, a number of new AR-powered initiatives from brands in streetwear, luxury and mass fashion show that the fashion industry has confidence in the technology, but how much of that enthusiasm is reciprocated by consumers?

“The retail categories that are best suited for augmented reality are those with products that are very visual, like apparel and cosmetics, and those that are expensive to display in multiple assortments of style and color, such as furniture and décor items,” said Jeffrey Neville, svp and practice lead at BRP Consulting Firm. “Since approximately 50 percent of consumers say they are more likely to shop at retailers that offer augmented reality, it is something retailers should be evaluating.”

Read full article: Fashion’s infatuation with AR continues, but only certain use cases inspire consumer engagement

Brand collaborations lead to double exposure for retailers

Luxury Daily – To capture consumer attention, a growing number of retailers and department stores have partnered with luxury brands to create more engaging campaigns. From ecommerce fashion retailer MyTheresa to department store chain Barneys New York, collaborating with high-end labels allows these retailers to leverage brand enthusiasm into larger audiences. However, such campaigns can also dilute retailers’ own carefully-crafted brands.

“While sharing the limelight with another brand does take away some of the focus on a department stores brand; if done well, it can enhance the store’s brand reputation by being associated with a luxury brand that consumers love,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm.

Italian fashion label Versace is introducing its sunglasses collection to Barneys, and a new short gave shoppers a glimpse at the eyewear. Clad in Versace prints, a model posed with different pairs of Versace sunglasses outside of New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, bringing the house’s Italian sensibility to the streets of New York.

“Partnering with brands on marketing and advertising campaigns has two key benefits for departments stores – leveraging brand passion and reduced costs,” Mr. Naumann said.

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Customer identification is key to personalization—yet most are anonymous until checkout

Bulldog Reporter – Customer identification is the first step necessary to personalize the shopping experience, yet most in-store shoppers are anonymous until they check out. According to the newly released 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey from retail management consulting firm BRP, only 13 percent of retailers identify customers when they walk in the store and another 10 percent identify customers pre-checkout. Retailers fare better online, as 30 percent identify customers when they enter the website and another 30 percent identify customers pre-checkout.

“While most online retailers are able to identify customers early in the browsing process in order to create a more personalized experience, identifying customers in the store continues to be a challenge for most brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president at BRP, in a news release.”

Read Full Article: Customer identification is key to personalization—yet most are anonymous until checkout

Retailers plan for blockbuster holiday season despite tariff overhang

Washington Examiner – Retailers are stocking their shelves to meet blockbuster holiday-shopping demand fueled by U.S. economic growth while preparing for slower sales next year as President Trump’s escalating tariffs drive up prices. The time from Halloween through Christmas is typically the most lucrative period of the year for companies from Macy’s to Pottery Barn and Target, and the retail industry is beginning to flourish after a long stretch of declining revenue as Amazon siphoned off customers.

Underpinning their growth is near-record U.S. consumer sentiment and unemployment close to a 50-year low. Wages are also starting to rise more rapidly, and last year’s GOP-led tax cuts let most Americans keep more of what they earn.

“We’re talking about a $1 trillion holiday season coming up,” Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm, told the Washington Examiner. “A lot of these guys do half their business in a two-month period. They’re losing money most of the year until they hit the fourth quarter.”

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Retailers Adding Virtual, Augmented Reality

AI & IoT Daily – About a third of retailers are planning to implement augmented and virtual reality in the future, according to a new study.

Four percent of retailers say they already have implemented virtual reality but that it needs improvement, according to the digital commerce benchmarking survey by BPR, retail consulting firm, comprising a survey of leading retailers.

For the future, 28% of retailers plan to implement virtual reality, 7% of them within the next 12 months and 21% within the next one to three years.

Read full article: Retailers Adding Virtual, Augmented Reality

Customer identification remains a challenge for retailers, reveals survey

Retail Customer Experience – Just 23 percent of brick-and-mortar retailers are able to identify a customer prior to checkout, compared to 60 percent of online retailers and the inability is likely thwarting the customer personalization effort.

According to BRP 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, 13 percent of brick-and-mortar retailers identify a customer when they enter a store and 10 percent identify the customer pre-checkout.

“While most online retailers are able to identify customers early in the browsing process in order to create a more personalized experience, identifying customers in the store continues to be a challenge for most brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president, BRP Retail Consulting Firm, in the release.

Read Full Article: Customer identification remains a challenge for retailers, reveals survey

Virtual and Augmented Reality Enter Retailers

Convenience Store Decisions – Some 32% of retailers expect to add virtual and augmented reality in the next three years. Nearly 50% of consumers are more likely to shop at retailers that offer virtual or augmented reality, according to a BRP, retail consulting report. Through virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR), innovative retailers are offering new and enhanced ways for customers to experience products, like visualizing how a product would look in their home or even on their body. VR and AR offer interesting applications and opportunities, as the ability to mix virtual and real elements can be game changing – especially for furniture, home décor and apparel retailers.

According to BRP’s 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, retailers understand the impact that VR and AR can have on the customer experience and 32% of retailers plan to use virtual and augmented reality within three years.

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Consumers embracing AR, VR

Chain Store Age – Customers increasingly want to shop with retailers that offer augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

This was according to the “2018 Digital Commerce Study” from BRP, retail consulting firm. The study reported that 48% of customers would be more likely to shop at a retailer that utilizes augmented or virtual reality. Many retailers have already introduced AR apps and testing and deployment of VR apps is increasing. And 32% of retailers plan to use AR and VR within three years, respectively.

AR and VR offer new and enhanced ways for customers to experience merchandise, like visualizing how a product would look in their home or even on their body. Both technologies offer interesting applications and opportunities, as the ability to mix virtual and real elements can be game changing – especially for furniture, home décor and apparel retailers.

“Immersive technology like VR and AR is redefining the way consumers can experience and buy products, leveraging the advantages of physical space, like the store or the customer’s home, without being constrained by the space,” said Brian Brunk, principal, BRP. “Traditional retail lines continue to blur as retail realities are rapidly evolving and the stage where the theater of retail takes place can be dictated by the customer.”

Read full article: Consumers embracing AR, VR

Why catalogs still have a hold on holiday marketing

Retail Dive – Many retailers have turned into fourth-quarter catalogers to cash in on the season’s sentimentality, while shoppers are crossing “irrelevant email marketing” off their lists this year.

Catalogs might be aimed at inspiration, but the hope is that the visual inspiration leads to a purchase, whether it be through the catalog, online or through a visit to the store. In that way, catalogs aren’t too different from the showroom format that retailers like Bonobos rely on, according to Ken Morris, a principal at Boston Retail Partners. It’s a trend he calls “catalog rooming” — where a customer uses a retailer’s holiday catalog to discover products and then heads into the store to see it in person and try it on, either finishing the purchase there or coming home to buy it online. 

It’s also a way to bring customers who might not have shopped in a while back into the fold, as retailers generally send out their holiday catalogs to a broader array of shoppers than they do the rest of the year. As long as they’re making $0.20 on every dollar they spend on a customer, the catalog will keep coming, Morris says — and the holidays provide more potential than the rest of the year for a big profit.

“Some of them, they’re in the red for nine months of the year and then the final three months of the year they go into the black and start to make a profit and hopefully that covers the loss,” Morris said, noting that depending on how sophisticated the retailer is, catalogs might also be tailored, placing a customer in one of a certain number of categories with different material in each. “It’s to the demographic that I fit into because they know what I buy — they know what’s in my closet, they know what’s in your closet.”

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With Mobile Pay, You Can Go Without a Wallet at Checkout

The New York Times – When you’re at the checkout line this holiday season, you could juggle your bags and dig into your purse or billfold for your credit or debit card. Or you could use that phone you’re already clutching, or that new smartwatch strapped to your wrist. Many stores now accept mobile wallets, a technology that lets customers make payments via smartphone or watch.

Still, many consumers are sticking with their cards due to concerns about safety or the familiarity of good old plastic. But if you’re ready to give mobile wallets a try, here’s what you need to know to get started.

WHERE MOBILE WALLETS WORK BEST.

HOW MOBILE WALLETS WORK.

MOBILE WALLET ADOPTION HAS STALLED.

Concerns about safeguards are another issue. Many consumers are more worried about the security of mobile wallet payments than traditional card payments, says Ryan Grogman, senior vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners, a retail consulting company. But mobile wallets do have some security advantages over regular credit and debit cards.

HOW BANK INFORMATION IS KEPT SECURE.

Read Full Article: With Mobile Pay, You Can Go Without a Wallet at Checkout