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Rotarity aims to be the streetwear answer to Rent the Runway

Glossy – The relentless pace, exorbitant price and intensely of-the-moment nature of modern streetwear have all combined to make keeping a rotating, relevant closet of the latest pieces incredibly difficult. But just as Rent the Runway shook up the luxury fashion industry, a new platform is hoping to change streetwear.

For Rotarity founder Chris Hasek-Watt, the inspiration to create a rental service for streetwear came from a very pragmatic place: his own unwillingness to spend massive amounts of money on clothes he would only wear a few times.

“The designs are cool and flashy, but you can only wear it a few times before it starts to look like you’re wearing the same thing every day,” he said.

“The biggest challenges for streetwear rental services are price point and customer base,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at BRP retail consulting firm. “There is probably a minimum price point for streetwear to be profitable for a rental model. The other potential challenge is that the target audience for streetwear rental may be a different demographic than the traditional fashion rental consumer, which may require more advertising and education on the value proposition.”

Read Full Article: Rotarity aims to be the streetwear answer to Rent the Runway

How will Google bust into brick and mortar?

RetailDive – It’s reportedly only a matter of time before the tech giant signs the lease on its first permanent store — and just what its physical strategy will look like remains to be seen.

It’s reportedly only a matter of time before Google signs the lease on its first permanent brick-and-mortar store. Last week, unnamed sources told The Chicago Tribune that the tech giant was mulling a two-level 14,000 square foot space in the city’s meatpacking district.

While Google hasn’t responded to Retail Dive’s request for information, nor has it spoken publicly to other publications, retail insiders aren’t holding back speculation over what a move into physical retail could mean for Google. In the past, the company has experimented with pop-up shops and other store-in-store concepts, but a commitment to a physical store of its own will make a brick-and-mortar strategy critical. Just what exactly that will look like has yet to be seen.

On the topic, the discussion forum RetailWire asked its BrainTrust panel of retail experts the following questions:

What kind of brick-and-mortar strategy, if any, makes the most sense for Google to support its hardware lineup? What lessons should Google take from pushes by Apple and Amazon into physical retail?

Do what Amazon did: Buy your physical footprint

Ken Morris, Principal, Boston Retail Partners: Physical stores make perfect sense to showcase Amazon’s current portfolio of tech products. It seems like a smaller footprint than 14,000 sq ft would make more sense, however, maybe they will lease some of the space to brands that are selling innovative products on Google Marketplace. Eventually, I expect Google to follow the lead of Amazon and expand its product portfolio significantly by adding private label brands of multiple product categories beyond technology.

I saw the barge idea in Portland and that was an ill-fated idea. Maybe acquiring a retailer with stores in key markets as a way to accelerate its physical presence — just like Amazon acquiring Whole Foods would be a better approach.

Read Full Article: How will Google bust into brick and mortar?

What can luxury retailers learn from Amazon Prime Day?

Luxury Daily – Ecommerce giant Amazon is hosting its largest annual promotional event, which can serve as an example to luxury retailers as they hope to make inroads with their online shopping strategies. Starting on July 16 and taking place throughout a 36-hour window, Prime Day is expected to generate billions of dollars in sales for the online marketplace. This record-breaking shopping event also serves as an opportunity for legacy brands to capitalize on consumers’ spending during this “Christmas in July” period.

“Luxury retailers can emulate some of the marketing principals of Prime Day and organize virtual events that engage their customers,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. “Rather than deep discounts, luxury retailers can focus on limited availability of exclusive products for a specific time period or only available to premier loyalty members.”

“While some luxury retailers have begun selling some of their merchandise on Amazon, most have limited their product assortment Amazon to avoid cannibalization of the brands’ sales,” Mr. Morris said.

“Keeping a good share of their product assortment exclusive to the retailer’s brand ecommerce site is the best approach to motivate customers to visit their site on a regular basis,” he said. “It is also imperative to have a steady cadence of new items, promotions and events to keep customers engaged with the brand.”

Read Full Article: What can luxury retailers learn from Amazon Prime Day?

2018 Holiday Guide – Putting Personalization into Practice

Retail TouchPoints – Integrating personalization into retail marketing and communications strategies is becoming more important every day. Especially during the highly competitive holiday shopping season, consumers are looking for relevant promotions, messaging and interactions from the brands they visit online, in-store and via every other touch point.

The 9th annual Retail TouchPoints Holiday Guide offers strategic insights, tips and real-world case studies that drive home the value of delivering a more personalized retail experience.

Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP, shared these comments:

“The key to success in meeting consumers’ last mile expectations is having the right product in the right place, so that you are buying it once and touching it once.”  Putting product in the distribution centers or stores that are geographically close to their final destinations makes the last mile both shorter and speedier.

“You don’t necessarily have to offer two-hour delivery, but if you offer two-day delivery, you have to meet that expectation 99.9% of the time,” said Kramer. “Customers may be buying something they need for the weekend or as they are heading out on vacation.”

The growth of BORIS (buy online/return in-store) has meant increased convenience for consumers, but has created a new set of issues for retailers — particularly when the items purchased online are not carried in the brick-and-mortar store. “Some retailers are limiting the impact of BORIS by offering customers who are returning products a coupon for X percentage off anything they purchase in the store on the same day,” said Kramer. “This is a great way for retailers to garner some additional sales from customers returning merchandise.”

Read Full Article: 2018 Holiday Guide – Putting Personalization into Practice

CLOUD STRATEGIES: Proving Key to Personalization, Product Content Enhancement

Retail TouchPoints – The retail cloud business segment is expected to reach more than $28 billion by 2021, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.9%, according to research from MarketsandMarkets. As many as 70% of retailers say cloud will be a major factor in their business by 2020, according to a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit. But as more retailers jump aboard the cloud bandwagon, they should strive to gain a competitive edge with the technology that goes beyond the basic benefits of a cloud implementation.

This Retail TouchPoints Special Report will spotlight innovative strategies facilitated by cloud solutions that can help retailers achieve new business goals with speed and efficiency.

Many retailers already are leveraging cloud servers for business basics like POS processes, order management and fulfillment and communications across the enterprise. More advanced cloud offerings can help them:

  • Personalize offers even before the purchase journey begins;
  • Improve delivery and quality of product content offerings, especially as the number of SKUs they carry increases;
  • Unlock and unify customer data from disparate sources; and
  • Assist with in-store, mobile-powered guided selling.

ELIMINATING THE ‘SAFETY STOCK’ PROBLEM

Despite the introduction of cloud services, many merchants still haven’t taken the proper steps to give shoppers true “real-time” access to their inventory across channels. Many retailers still struggle with “safety stock” — additional quantities of an item held in inventory to reduce the risk that the item will be out of stock, according to Ken Morris, Principal of BRP.

“Let’s say I’m selling Tag Heuer watches — I must have a safety stock of two to account for this lag,”
said Morris. “If I have two or less items in a store, I have to tell corporate I have no items, because I have to account for the lag in updates to inventories between all the distribution centers and all of the stores. Although I may have two each in every store of 1,000 stores, it’s going to read as zero to someone trying to buy online and pick up in store.”

With a cloud service that incorporates data from all stores and distribution centers, retailers would be able to generate more accurate real-time stock numbers throughout the enterprise, without worrying about products going out-of-stock. Additionally, associates would be able to access this information quicker within the store, so they could assist consumers with real-time inventory data.

MOBILE APPS GUIDE IN-STORE SALES VIA SHOPPER DATA

Cloud platforms also can help retailers match products within the store to shoppers via guided selling. Morris described how an app recently designed for a BRP retail client offers guided selling in-store based on prior shopper behavior.

“Whatever they visited or put on their wish list or basket as they walked into the store, the app would guide them around to look at what they saw online and direct them with a Google map around the store,” Morris said. “This makes retail experiences way more relevant than most are today, especially because stores are changing. Having that data while the customer is in the store is key. To be able to affect the sale before checkout is what Amazon does every day online. They know who I am, they know what I buy, they know what I’m likely to buy and they help me through that sale.”

Read Full Article: CLOUD STRATEGIES: Proving Key to Personalization, Product Content Enhancement

Despite Anchor Store Closures, Malls Can Secure Success With Dining, Experiences, Entertainment

Retail TouchPoints – As many as 30% of malls will need to close due to the oversaturation of shopping centers in the U.S., estimates Coresight Research. But the need to reduce significant square footage isn’t all bad news. While more than 1,100 department stores are set to close between 2018 and 2023, mall operators can secure future success by:

  • Focusing on potential “anchor” replacements, but not in the form of large format stores;
  • Prioritizing high-end dining and experiences to cater to future generations of shoppers; and
  • Embracing the concepts of “destination centers” and “retaildential” complexes.

While it’s true that many malls are suffering and may close, others are finding new ways to attract more shoppers. Malls range in grades, from A++ to D. High-performing Class A malls constitute only 20% of the market, yet represent 72% of total mall sales, according to data from Green Street Advisors. These “A” malls have experienced double-digit sales growth since 2012, Coresight reported.

Within “A” malls, occupancies remain in the high 90% range, said Michael Brown, a partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney, and author of the report The Future of Shopping Centers. For the most part, those malls will be safe from the expected 30% of malls anticipated to close. But with so many department store closures on the horizon, there will still be spaces opening up, even at some of the top-performing malls.

“Most of the retailers we see that are anchors — and I literally mean anchors — they’re not driving traffic and they’re holding down the mall,” said Ken Morris, Principal at Boston Retail Partners. “They didn’t pivot to online sales right away and were late to the game. Those are the people that are anchoring a lot of the failing malls, especially in the C and D class malls.”

Morris highlighted the Apple store as a retail environment that modern retailers should strive to copy in some ways, particularly if they desire attention from mall operators.

“There’s something for everyone [at the Apple store], regardless of if you’re six or seven years old, or 70 years old,” Morris said. “It’s an event. It’s theater, and the reality is that’s going to draw people all of the time.”

Read Full Article: Despite Anchor Store Closures, Malls Can Secure Success With Dining, Experiences, Entertainment

RETAILER OF THE YEAR: Albertsons

Frozen and Refrigerated Buyer – Will an upcoming merger with Rite Aid be enough to turn things around at the nation’s second-largest supermarket chain? Industry observers aren’t so sure.

Plain vanilla,” “mediocre at best,” “generic,” “tired,” “middle of the road,” and “meh.” Those are some of the ways a panel of industry observers described Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons. So why the heck did we name it our 2018 Retailer of the Year?! Well, keep in mind that the title doesn’t necessarily go to the best operator. For better or worse, we’re looking for a chain whose actions over the past year have influenced the industry in a significant way, and Albertsons clearly fits the bill.

While Amazon-Whole Foods may have been the obvious choice for Retailer of the Year, the truth is we’ve done that story to death. Yes, e-commerce is the wave of the future, but “traditional” brick-and-mortar isn’t going any- where anytime soon, and after its mega-merger with Rite Aid is completed later this year (more on that coming up), Albertsons will have a whopping 4,900-plus locations nationwide, serving more than 40 million customers per week. It also announced several unique initiatives in the past few months and recently welcomed a new president and COO with a history of transforming under- performing companies, so there’s reason for optimism.

Comments from Perry Kramer – Page 24:

On the flip side, the merger will also allow Rite Aid to increase its presence in the grocery business, says Perry Kramer, senior vp and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. “Rite Aid has a very significant urban foot- print, and many of their stores have recently been refreshed or remodeled,” he reports. “Those locations provide a great opportunity to expand frozen and refrigerated offerings, including Albertsons private label brands, which will help extend brand recognition and improve margins in those stores.” Another benefit of the merger with Rite Aid is the addition of a large amount of consumer data to enhance Albertsons’ customer data analytics, says Kramer. “Analyzing the data will enable the company to build a much more extensive view of its customers,” which will help it improve the customer experience both online and in stores.

Comments from Perry Kramer – Page 26:

In addition to using POS and loyalty data to improve customer analytics, Albertsons is likely to utilize real-time transactional data to improve its in-stock positions, which will become even more important as the company grows its digital presence, including online ordering and home delivery, adds Kramer.

One area that could truly become a competitive advantage for Albertsons is its own brands, most of which originated with Safeway, which many pundits list as one of the chain’s greatest assets. “The company has done a good job with its private labels in individual stores,” says Kramer, citing sales of more than $11 billion in fiscal 2017. However, “There’s a significant opportunity to continue to expand store brands across Albertsons’ many banners. When consumers see the same brands in different stores and when they shop and browse online they will become household names.”

Comments from Perry Kramer – Page 28:

But Kramer likes the idea of partnering with an established player in the meal kit space. “It allows Albertsons to rapidly roll out this new capability while learning the meal kit delivery business without a major investment of capital or time. Once it has an understanding of this rapidly changing market, the retailer will have the ability to bring the operation in-house if it makes sense.” He adds, “I think the move demonstrates Albertsons’ recognition that it needs to be ahead of trends if it’s going to continue to grow.”

Read Full Article: RETAILER OF THE YEAR: Albertsons (pages 22-28)

Retailers Take Stock of the Winners & Losers Post Bon-Ton

Sourcing Journal – Though the press has had a lot of fun with the retail apocalypse storyline, former Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said the reality is a lot less dramatic.

Speaking to CNBC, Lundgren said rumors of the demise of department stores circulated throughout his 40-year career, but even with the recent turmoil, it’s not going to happen. “There will be a shake out,” he said. “There’s going to be winners and losers.”

On one end of that spectrum is Amazon and on the other, he said, there’s The Bon-Ton Stores, which recently began liquidation sales following the company’s February bankruptcy filing.

“Amazon has done a great job of attracting this loyalty customer through their Prime program but they’re the only pureplay—if you can still call them that—online retailer in the top 100 retailers,” he said. Further, he said those who are putting too much stock into e-commerce at the expense of brick-and-mortar, are missing the fact that it still only accounts for 10 percent of retail.

As for Bon-Ton, he said the company, which had a mountain of debt, made a fatal mistake that’s all too common these days. “The key is don’t be a highly leveraged retail business because you cannot survive the ups and downs of consumer changes.”

With Bon-Ton out of business, Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners, a retail management consulting firm, told Sourcing Journal the effects will be felt across the landscape, resulting in a boon for some and a misfortune for others.

Given that Bon-Ton’s travails were well documented, Kramer said it’s likely the retailer’s competitors were already laying out plans to capitalize on the vacancy.

“The biggest winners will be the regional competitors who already have a strong understanding of the merchandise mix and customer experience that resonated best with Bon-Ton’s customer base,” he said, listing Boxcov’s and Belk as possible benefactors. “The most opportunistic competitors have already been working to negotiate discounted merchandise for the next few seasons to take advantage of the procurement gap that will be created by the Bon-Ton closure.”

Beyond snapping up stock, he also sees opportunity for these stores to tap into Bon-Ton’s credit cardholders, who could be wooed with favorable perks.

Ultimately though, Kramer sees a dim future for some of the company’s landlords. “In many cases, the closing of these stores, which are most often an anchor store in malls, may be the straw that breaks the back of several malls impacted by the store closures across 26 states,” he said, adding the smaller stores in those centers may be hurt as well.

Read Full Article: Retailers Take Stock of the Winners & Losers Post Bon-Ton

Tampa, St. Petersburg: Convenience is king for older-skewing shoppers

Drug Store News – The growing Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., market is becoming one of the more competitive retail battlegrounds in the country. Buoyed by retiring baby boomers from the North, the area is seen as a great place for retailers to grab market share. Several small, innovative retailers and discounters are chipping business away from operators of big-box stores: Walmart, the struggling Winn-Dixie and Publix, the dominant grocer in the area.

Over the last few years, Publix has lost market share to Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market and Lucky’s Market. Also, Save-a-Lot, Aldi and soon Lidl lure shoppers with their blend of limited assortments, private labels and low prices. These smaller-than-average formats appeal to millennials, a key demographic, because they will soon be starting families. Many of them tend to prefer smaller stores with unique offerings instead of the traditional grocery store.

“Elderly shoppers, which is an expanding segment in these metro markets, want shopping to be more convenient and easy,” Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners, said. “In-store product displays should be at appropriate heights, especially for products more frequently purchased by people who are potentially in a wheelchair. Some stores are carpeting more areas to help prevent slipping and falling. Offering magnifying glasses near packages with fine print or working with manufacturers to offer product packaging with larger print are added conveniences for shoppers with limited vision. Drive-through lanes at drug stores are becoming expected and are especially popular with elderly people who have difficulty getting in and out of their cars.”

Read Full Article: Tampa, St. Petersburg: Convenience is king for older-skewing shoppers

Denver: Retailers court Hispanic, millennial shoppers

Drug Store News – Two major demographic shifts are happening in Colorado. One is a surging Hispanic population, and the other is the emergence of millennials, who in 2015 became the largest generational group, surpassing baby boomers, resulting in nearly 40% of residents being under the age of 18 years old. These factors are affecting the retail marketplace throughout the state and especially in Denver, the biggest city.

Meanwhile, there isn’t a competitive situation in the drug store channel. ARM Insight reported that Walgreens controls the business with an 86% market share. Rite Aid and CVS Pharmacy are behind at 10% and 4.0% respectively.

Whether it’s the drug or grocery channel, winning retailers are adapting their product mix, promotions and services to appeal to the market demographics that are growing — a health-and-wellness focus for millennials and Latino food and beverages for Hispanic shoppers.

“Adding bilingual signage and packaging will make shopping easier for non-English speaking customers, and will increase brand loyalty,” Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners, said. “Retailers are also expanding product offerings to appeal to various ethnic interests, including specialty food items, makeup with broader skin tones, broader clothing sizes and styles, etc.”

Read Full Article: Denver: Retailers court Hispanic, millennial shoppers