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Neiman Marcus pushes into secondhand retail as resale category climbs

Luxury Daily – Retailer Neiman Marcus Group is furthering its interest in luxury resale with an investment in designer handbag and accessory consigner Fashionphile, its latest partnership with an upscale secondhand platform.

In light of the rapid growth of the high-end consignment market, Neiman Marcus has previously sought strategic relationships with resale retailers. However, its minority stake in Fashionphile marks the retailer’s first investment in a secondhand luxury company.

“Secondhand or ‘preloved’ luxury merchandise is joining the mainstream trend of consumers that are passionate about sustainability and recycling,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. “Buying used merchandise and clothing doesn’t have the stigma it had in the past when people were embarrassed to admit they purchased an item at a secondhand store.

“Now, even some very affluent consumers are comfortable and proud to purchase previously-owned items,” he said. “Partnering with luxury resellers enables Neiman Marcus customers to enjoy the benefits of luxury goods at a fraction of the full price and it is a great way for aspiring consumers to obtain luxury goods they normally couldn’t afford.”

“Partnering with resellers enables luxury retailers to participate in the secondhand market opportunity without setting up completely new processes for obtaining used merchandise, inspecting it and managing the inventory and promotion of the items,” BRP’s Mr. Naumann said. “It allows them to offer used merchandise options immediately with minimal start-up costs.”

Read Full Article: Neiman Marcus pushes into secondhand retail as resale category climbs

How Madewell could become a billion-dollar brand

DIGIDAY – Madewell, which has been acting as the J.Crew Group’s breadwinner as the flagship brand’s sales struggle, is on a mission to double its annual sales from $500 million to $1 billion.

The company announced yesterday that Libby Wadle, who was previously Madewell’s president, will become its first CEO. In an interview with Fortune, Wadle said that she was getting a title change because the “complexity of the business is changing.” Madewell generated more than $500 million in revenue last year, and Wadle said that “we have our eyes set on becoming a billion-dollar brand in short order.”

Madewell has room to grow, but it will have to do so without diluting the brand. Ken Morris, principal at BRP, retail consulting firm, praised Madewell for its “narrow focus,” and said that its reputation for “offering a great product at good prices,” is what’s helped build customer loyalty.

Read Full Article: How Madewell could become a billion-dollar brand

Ralph Lauren builds on its ‘next great chapter’ with diversity-focused campaign

Glossy – Ralph Lauren has always been associated with a certain image: a preppy, WASP-y style that has remained relatively unchanged for years. But its latest global campaign, which launched Thursday, sees it emphasizing diversity and inclusivity as the brand seeks to reinvent its image and its business strategy.

With the refocus, the brand has also embraced things like streetwear, both through the adoption of the drop model and in some of the brand’s high-profile collaborations, including one with British streetwear brand Palace that was named one of the best collaborations of 2018 by Highsnobiety.

Ralph Lauren has also shifted its attention to the international stage. After closing several stores in the U.S., including its Fifth Avenue flagship store in April last year, the brand has been actively rolling out stores in China, opening “one a week,” said Ralph Lauren CEO Patrice Louvet, who joined the company in 2017. (Ralph Lauren still plays an active role in brand decision-making.) The brand currently has around 80 stores in China.

“China represent about a third of all personal luxury goods purchases globally and is one of the fastest growing markets for luxury retail,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Fashion brands can’t ignore the lucrative Asian markets, as it represents tremendous growth opportunities. Ralph Lauren can maximize profits by closing underperforming U.S. stores and using the capital to open stores in Asia that have the potential to garner significantly more revenue.”

Read Full Article: Ralph Lauren builds on its ‘next great chapter’ with diversity-focused campaign 

Grocery co-op identifies urgent store issues with AI

Chain Store Age – Associated Food Stores (AFS) is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to determine what really needs fixing in the store. Salt Lake City-based AFS, which consists of about 500 independent and corporately-owned stores in the western and southwestern U.S., found itself dealing with a growing number of SKUs. This resulted in more potential issues occurring at store level than a manager could effectively track or prioritize.

AFS may be ahead of the curve when it comes to applying AI to store-level SKU issues. According to the BRP, retail consulting firm, report, 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, most retailers (67%) are not leveraging advanced analytics to improve their planning decisions and optimize inventory. In addition, only 39% of surveyed retailers identified improved analytics as a top priority.

Read Full Article: Grocery co-op identifies urgent store issues with AI

As the novelty of pop-ups wanes, brands are taking a more creative approach

Glossy – For many digitally-native DTC brands, the path toward a physical brick-and-mortar presence is clear: Open a pop-up shop, gauge interest and then open a permanent store. But Dolls Kill, a fashion brand founded in 2014 with ties to the electronic dance music subculture, is taking a somewhat alternative approach.

Beginning last week, the brand has been touring a refitted ice cream truck around the country as a traveling pop-up shop. Rather than establishing a presence in a single city or market, Dolls Kill, which recently secured $10.7 million in funding, is hoping to test the retail waters in eight different cities around the East Coast.

The pop-up was built around a single product: a combat boot the brand debuted late last year called the Billionaire Bling Boot, which sold out less than an hour after it dropped. Dolls Kill conducted a poll asking its Instagram followers how they would like to get access to the boot. and a traveling pop-up truck was the No. 1 answer. Thus was born the alliteratively titled Billionaire Bling Boot Bus Tour.

“Typically, the fashion truck retail format is a great fit for boutique brands that can’t afford a storefront, but want to test a new concept with minimal start-up costs,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at BRP, retail consulting firm.

Read Full Article: As the novelty of pop-ups wanes, brands are taking a more creative approach 

How Bloomingdale’s is using shop-in-shops to test wider retail strategy

Glossy – Late last year, Bloomingdale’s unveiled a major new concept: a rotating shop-in-shop section called The Carousel that would see curated collections of pieces from a variety of big and small brands centered around a theme. Now on its fourth iteration, Bloomingdale’s says The Carousel has been an important lesson, not just for how to improve its shop-in-shops, but also how to improve all of its retail efforts.

“The Carousel is a great place for us to test out new brands and see how they resonate with our shopper,” said Kevin Harter, vp of integrated marketing at Bloomingdale’s. “Through our learnings from The Carousel, we have been able to determine what could be beneficial to our overall assortment. We’ve also seen success in offering a cross-shopping experience and have expanded this idea to other areas in the store.”

“As stores rotate new trendy brands into their in-store shops, they capitalize on the latest hot brands,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at BRP, retail consulting firm. “When the stores change the in-store brand, it gives them something new for customers to explore on their next store visit. It is a great way to increase the frequency of store visits.”

“Shop-in-shops, or stores-within-stores, is a growing trend,” said Naumann “For the anchor store, it can be a great way to attract new customers that don’t typically shop at the brand, and for the [brands], it gives them a captive audience of the anchor store’s shoppers. It also offers them a cost-effective space without committing to a long-term lease.”

Read Full Article: How Bloomingdale’s is using shop-in-shops to test wider retail strategy

‘Coming down from the mountain’: How the casualization of fashion is affecting traditional luxury brands

Glossy – When Bill White founded Scarpe di Bianco in 2009, a brand that makes small batch, handmade Italian leather shoes, “comfort was a four-letter word” in the luxury shoe industry, he said. The idea of a comfortable dress shoe was oxymoronic in a category that valued traditional, albeit stiff, leather construction. But like many in the high-end fashion industry, Scarpe di Bianco has experienced an increasing trend toward all things comfortable, casual and sporty.

“Fashion trends continue to evolve, and one of the most recent growing trends is the casualization of the business work environment,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing for BRP, retail consulting firm. “Ties are long gone, and suits are dying. The new norm for men’s business footwear is sneakers, and dress shoes are becoming a rarity. Selling more casual products is now a necessity for high-end brands.”

Read Full Article: ‘Coming down from the mountain’: How the casualization of fashion is affecting traditional luxury brands 

A new membership program looks to alleviate pain points of emerging fashion designers

Glossy – The internet has done many wonderful things for fashion, particularly smaller brands and independent designers. Small fashion brands that would never have been able to get off the ground 10 years ago can now find modest but sustainable success through small online stores and a dedicated social media following.

Not Just A Label has been promoting NJAL+ on its own social media channels and is also including educational tools for member designers to learn how to better market their own stores.

“Independent designers are very creative, but they often don’t have the time, business savvy or technical skills to market and sell their products online,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at BRP, Retail Consulting. “Designers want to spend their time on what they do best: designing clothes. Designing and promoting a website that will get noticed by luxury shoppers is a daunting task.”

“E-commerce and online marketplaces have created a viable way for independent designers to create a business with very little investment,” Naumann said. “Before e-commerce, independent designers needed to open a store or get another store to carry their designs. Both options have limited sales opportunities, and opening a store is very expensive. Entrepreneurs will continue to flourish, and online marketplaces and e-commerce platforms are making it easier for new independent designers to live their dream.”

Read Full Article: A new membership program looks to alleviate pain points of emerging fashion designers 

Are You Using Advanced Analytics to Optimize Inventory?

Convenience Store Decisions – BRP Consulting finds only 33% of retailers optimize their inventory by leveraging advanced analytics. According to BRP’s 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, most retailers (67%) are not leveraging advanced analytics to improve their planning decisions and optimize inventory.

The importance of enhanced data and analytics is not lost on retailers, however, there are further opportunities to optimize their planning and inventory.

While 67% of retailers are not using advanced analytics for merchandise planning, only 39% of retailers identified improved analytics as a top priority. This is a disconnect. As technological capabilities continue to advance, investing more resources into data utilization needs to be a critical objective for retailers.

“Analytics serve as an important tool in assisting retailers to find and interpret meaningful patterns in customer and inventory data to support decision-making,” said Robert Cuthbertson, vice president at BRP Consulting. “Insight into customer demand, product adjacencies, price sensitivity, reaction to promotions, demographics and more are key to drive merchandise plans and actions that maximize profitability. This is especially critical in an omni-channel environment, as understanding the preferences of disparate customer groups across different channels becomes more complicated.”

“The technology for AI tools has advanced dramatically in the past five years. Innovative new technologies can even predict where customers will be in the next hour or next day based on historical patterns,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP Consulting. “AI is also helping retailers make better decisions on which store should fulfill an online order. While traditional logic would select the product from the closest store to the consumer, with machine learning techniques, retailers can assess the value of inventory in each store to make smarter fulfillment decisions. For example, if they can identify/predict that the item in inventory at the closest store will likely sell at full price, but the same item at a different store location will likely result in overstock and markdowns, the retailer can ship from the further store and maximize total profits.”

Read Full Article: Are You Using Advanced Analytics to Optimize Inventory?

Only 33% of Retailers Optimize their Inventory By Leveraging Advanced Analytics, According to BRP Report

Advanced Analytics and AI are Key to Improving Planning Decisions

Boston, MA – February 14,  2019 – According to BRP’s 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, most retailers (67%) are not leveraging advanced analytics to improve their planning decisions and optimize inventory. The importance of enhanced data and analytics is not lost on retailers, however, there are further opportunities to optimize their planning and inventory. While 67% of retailers are not using advanced analytics for merchandise planning, only 39% of retailers identified improved analytics as a top priority. This is a disconnect. As technological capabilities continue to advance, investing more resources into data utilization needs to be a critical objective for retailers.

Advanced analytics, or predictive analytics, offers retailers the ability to predict outcomes based on sophisticated algorithms and historical data. This requires human interaction to query data, validate patterns, create and then test use cases and assumptions. Now, with artificial intelligence (AI), also known as machine learning, planning systems can reassess models and reevaluate the data, all without the intervention of a human. AI is able to test and retest data to predict every possible customer-product match, at a speed and capability no human, or team of humans, could possibly achieve. The result is far more accurate decisions.

“Analytics serve as an important tool in assisting retailers to find and interpret meaningful patterns in customer and inventory data to support decision-making,” said Robert Cuthbertson, vice president at BRP Consulting. “Insight into customer demand, product adjacencies, price sensitivity, reaction to promotions, demographics and more are key to drive merchandise plans and actions that maximize profitability. This is especially critical in an omni-channel environment, as understanding the preferences of disparate customer groups across different channels becomes more complicated.”

“The technology for AI tools has advanced dramatically in the past five years. Innovative new technologies can even predict where customers will be in the next hour or next day based on historical patterns,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP Consulting. “AI is also helping retailers make better decisions on which store should fulfill an online order.  While traditional logic would select the product from the closest store to the consumer, with machine learning techniques, retailers can assess the value of inventory in each store to make smarter fulfillment decisions. For example, if they can identify/predict that the item in inventory at the closest store will likely sell at full price, but the same item at a different store location will likely result in overstock and markdowns, the retailer can ship from the further store and maximize total profits.”

According to the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey retailers’ current and planned usage of advanced analytics by planning area includes:

  • Merchandise Planning – 33% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for merchandise planning and another 48% plan to within three years.
  • Assortment Planning – 30% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for assortment planning and another 49% plan to within three years
  • Demand Planning – 31% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for demand planning and another 54% plan to within three years.
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – 22% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for PLM and another 33% plan to within three years.

BRP conducted the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey to explore the current state of retail planning and to identify and understand retailers’ priorities as they strive to meet the needs and demands of today’s consumers. Platinum sponsors are Aptos and Mi9 Retail, gold sponsors are Celect and Retalon, and silver sponsors are ANT USA and enVista.

To download the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-integrated-planning-survey

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.