Outdoor retailers put down roots in used goods

Retail Dive – As with many trends, used goods and refurbishment programs lend themselves to certain retailers more than others. Outdoors retailers are one space where they’re growing, but electronics retailers are also well-known for having robust refurbishment and repair programs, mainly because so many of those products are both expensive to make and difficult to recycle, not to mention that they’re often made from valuable resources that must be mined and manufactured first.

While some retailers may have better margins than others when it comes to refurbishing goods and selling them to someone new, the financials are not often the biggest benefit retailers can derive from keeping products in circulation. According to David Naumann, vice president of marketing at Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm, the appeal for outdoor retailers, in particular, comes from a customer base that’s less interested in saving money and more interested in saving the environment.

“People are more often spending their retail dollars with companies that make them feel good about spending their money,” Naumann told Retail Dive in an interview. “Especially in the outdoors space: these people enjoy the outdoors and they want to protect the outdoors so those people are probably inclined to be more socially or environmentally conscious and look more positively on the retailers that are also embracing those environmental responsibilities.”

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Everlane’s plastic-free pledge comes at a critical time for fashion and sustainability

Glossy – Everlane is the latest fashion brand to announce plans to remake its supply chain in a more sustainable way. At an event on Tuesday evening hosted by Everlane founder Michael Preysman, along with investors Natalie Massenet and Nick Brown, the brand announced that by 2021, it plans to completely eliminate the use of all non-recycled plastic in its products. As reported by Women’s Wear Daily, the event was also an occasion for Everlane to show off its ReNew blankets and fleeces, which are made with recycled plastic.

“Everlane’s commitment to be completely free of virgin plastics by 2021 is socially responsible, and it aligns well with the growing population of environmentally conscious consumers,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at BRP, retail consulting firm. “Many of these consumers are very passionate about the negative impact we are having on the environment.”

As customers become more conscious, brands that flagrantly disregard concerns for the environment risk appearing ignorant at best or callous at worst. Reducing fashion’s frankly terrible impact on the environment is not only a moral and ethical obligation, it can also be good business sense.

Read Full Article: Everlane’s plastic-free pledge comes at a critical time for fashion and sustainability

Free People launches in-house fragrance to test market opportunities in beauty

Glossy – With the launch of its first in-house set of fragrances, Free People wants a coveted place on the vanity.

The fragrances are free from synthetic ingredients, parabens, colorants and more, making it a clean perfume option. Currently, there is a dearth of fragrance options available at Free People, Richards said, adding that Free People’s own line helps fill a white space. Free People’s in-house scents join a burgeoning category of clean fragrance, alongside brands like Skylar Body and Phlur. Free People’s beauty and wellness offerings include crystals, sexual wellness, makeup, oral care and aromatherapy, and has grown from 395 SKUs at launch in 2016 to 1152 SKUs today.

Rather than partnering with a third-party manufacturer, Free People opted to develop its fragrance in-house by hiring a dedicated fragrance product developer to create brand equity, said Richards. “I didn’t want people to think we just found some juice and stuck on our name on the label,” she said.

That the company not only created the fragrance in-house but also owns the distribution rights helps with positioning it in the space, according to Erin Smith, a senior consultant at BRP retail consulting firm.

“If Free People releases this fragrance and is the sole distributor, I can’t go to Amazon to get it. I have to go online or in-store,” she said. “It’s an additional asset that they have; instead of sourcing goods and selling them, they now also have this other model where they produce products themselves, and that increases the value of the company.”

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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.”

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Will Nike kick up sales on

RetailDive – Nike has garnered much attention over the last few months, for better or for worse. The brand earlier this month announced it would begin selling apparel, accessories and shoes on — the Walmart-owned e-commerce marketplace that caters to wealthier, urban millennials.

The partnership isn’t the first of its kind for Nike. Last year, the company shocked many when it began selling directly on Amazon. At the time, some industry experts warned the move may blow back on Nike. But at the end of last year, CEO Mark Parker told analysts the partnership was “going well” and that the company would expand its pilot sales on the channel.

Now, it seems to be expanding its marketplace sales strategy to include selling one of Amazon’s biggest rivals. On the topic, the discussion forum RetailWire asked its BrainTrust panel of retail experts the following questions:

  • Do you see any issues with Nike selling directly on’s revamped website with the platform’s connection to Walmart?
  • How would you assess the benefits versus risks for Nike in partnering with versus Amazon?

The inevitable

Ken Morris, Principal, BRP, retail consulting firm: Selling Nike products on these marketplaces does nothing to tarnish the Nike brand, as Nike products are widely available today on Amazon and through other retailers and distributors. The move for Nike to sell directly on these platforms is probably inevitable. If Nike is concerned about protecting its retail channels by not cannibalizing their sales, they could limit the products they sell directly on the marketplaces to product models that are exclusive to Nike branded store or Nike’s online.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.


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.


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.”

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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