(Author : Deena M. Amato-McCoy)
Uniqlo will be popping up at airports and malls across the nation — but not through retail storefronts.

Fast-fashion giant trying on vending machines

Putting a new spin on the term “fast fashion,” the Japanese retailer is launching 6-ft.-high vending machines that will enable customers to purchase T-shirts and lightweight down jackets, the Wall Street Journal reported. Merchandise is packaged in boxes and cans.

According to the report, Uniqlo intends to roll out 10 of the vending machines to airports and malls over the next two months in several key U.S. cities, including New York and Houston. The first unit launched on Wednesday in the Oakland International Airport.
Marisol Tamaro, Uniqlo’s U.S. marketing chief, told the Wall Street Journal, that the vending machines are a good fit for airports because hurried travelers “don’t have a lot of time to wait in line and explore a store. We’re trying to understand where we can be more successful without making a big commitment.” Customers use a touchscreen to select shirt and jacket styles, colors and sizes. Purchases can be made via credit or debit card, and unwanted items can be returned in-store or via mail.
The move comes after Uniqlo, faced with disappointing sales in its U.S. mall stores, has pulled back on its ambitious expansion plans. The company is using its U.S. flagships and unconventional concepts, such as the vending machines, to drive brand awareness.

(Author : Inside Retail Hong Kong)
Sporting goods store Decathlon Hong Kong yesterday launched its first flagship store, at Grand Plaza, Mongkok.

Decathlon Hong Kong opens flagship in Mongkok

Another store is scheduled to open at Causeway Bay Park Lane this month, according to the French brand’s Facebook page. Offering up to 70 types of sports equipment and clothing for amateur and professional athletes, the flagship store covers more than 25,000 sqft (2300 sqm), making it the largest single-storey sporting goods store in Hong Kong. Customers can access extra details about products by scanning the barcode at one of the store’s smart shopping screens.

Another feature is the first-ever “Decathlon community”, which offers expert sporting information and organises free activities to promote physical recreation and sports.

Decathlon first entered Hong Kong in 2015 with a website and e-commerce platform. It last year secured 15-year leases for shops, reports EdgeProp, which says the brand originally planned to open a 35,000 sqft flagship store in Viva Business Park (Chai Chee Technopark).

Source : insideretail.hk

(Author : Christine Chou)
In the U.S., car-shopping means hours spent at a local dealership and tense negotiations with salespeople. In China, it requires little more than a tap on the touchscreen of your mobile phone.

In China, the vending machine of the futur sells cars

So far that has meant simply purchasing a new vehicle online. But Tmall, the Alibaba Group-owned B2C shopping site, is looking to take this specific type of e-commerce to the next level—with the “Automotive Vending Machine.”

According to Yu Wei, general manager of Tmall’s automotive division, the company hopes to launch the first such vending machine later this year. Consumers would browse the cars stored in the massive garage-like structure on their smartphones, make their purchase, and then the cars would be delivered to them at ground level. “It will makebuying cars as easy as buying a can of Coke,” Yu said.

Alibaba’s “new automotive retail model” will be the key to making these vending machines a reality. Introduced during Tmall’s “6.18” mid-year sale in June, the model allows mobile shoppers with good credit scores to purchase their new ride in only five minutes.

Anyone with over 750 points on Sesame Credit, Alibaba’s credit-scoring system for consumers, could select a model online, pay a 10 percent initial fee and pick up their new car. Then all they would need to do is to make monthly payments through Alipay until it is paid in full.

For example, to purchase a car priced at 150,000 RMB ($22,200), consumers would pay a 15,000 RMB ($2,220) initial fee to get the vehicle, and then pay installments of less than 2,000 RMB ($300) per month.

About 1,500, or 5 percent, of the 30,000 cars sold on Tmall within the first three days of the new payment model’s launch were purchased by consumers using this system. “The era of online car shopping has already arrived,” said Yu.

Alibaba has been experimenting with different online sales models for the autos industry. Last year, Maserati sold 100 cars in 18 seconds during a flash sale on Tmall to mark the opening of its flagship store on the B2C platform. Fellow Italian luxury car brand Alfa Romeo followed with its own flash sale last March, selling 350 Giulia Milano cars in 33 seconds.

Luxury vehicle brands are expanding online in China to reach the country’s affluent and digitally active consumers, according to research consultancy L2. The move to e-commerce also reduces their reliance on conventional auto dealerships as they seek to drive sales in the country, L2 wrote in a recent report. The report said China, already the world’s largest car market, is projected to become the top market for luxury vehicles by 2020.

Source : alizila.com

(Author : Harmeet Singh)
The grocer acquires a majority stake in Montreal’s MissFresh, getting into an emerging category.

Metro buys into meal kit company

Metro has acquired a majority interest in Montreal meal kit company MissFresh, getting in on what it says is an emerging category and consumer demand for healthy eating-focused options. MissFresh’s three co-founders will keep 30% of the capital and an active management role in the business, which was founded in 2015 and delivers ingredients and recipes for “ready-to-cook” meals.

While it’s too early for Metro to divulge specifics, company spokesperson Genevieve Grégoire says there will be “synergies” in how MissFresh fits into Metro’s current in-store and digital experience and marketing plans.

The major grocery retailers in Canada like Loblaws and Walmart, along with niche players such as M&M Food Market, are working on improving their omnichannel strategies through both click-and-collect and delivery services. Walmart, for example, announced today that it’s eliminating its pickup fee for online grocery orders. For its part, Metro launched online grocery shopping last October.

The MissFresh deal comes following news that Amazon had filed a meal kit trademark in the U.S., threatening players like Blue Apron and German company HelloFresh, the latter of which also operates in Canada. Amazon already has some meal kit offerings through Amazon Fresh.

In Canada, the meal kits category had lagged behind the U.S., U.K. and Europe in terms of number of options and adoption but that’s shifted over the past couple of years, with brands like Chef’s Plate and HelloFresh expanding their delivery zones and marketing.

Source : strategyonline.ca

(Author : European Supermaket Magazine)
Dutch retailer Albert Heijn has launched a new augmented-reality product scanner, which allows customers to find out more about its private-label products.

Albert Heijn Introduces Augmented-Reality Product Scanner

With a new mobile app, AH Product Scanner, customers can scan a product in stores with their phone camera to receive additional information about ingredients, nutritional values, allergens, recipes, and the origin of products.

New Technology
“Customers find it increasingly important to know what products they buy from us and where they come from,” said Marit van Egmond, director of merchandising and sourcing at Albert Heijn. “With the help of new technologies, we now provide information at your fingertips while shopping.”

In the first phase of this programme, 35 private-label meat and fish products have been included in the app. These products now feature a sticker on the packaging that relates to the AH Product Scanner. The retailer aims to gradually extend this technology to all Albert Heijn-branded products.

Source : esmmagazine.com

(Auhor : Deena M. Amato-McCoy)
Amazon’s new delivery system makes a play for a customer segment initially targeted by Walmart’s e-commerce arm.

 Online giant’s new delivery system targets apartment dwellers

The online giant introduced a new delivery locker designed for apartment blocks and other housing complexes that may not have services to accept or store packages. Called The Hub by Amazon, the modular system features compartments where packages can be stored for pickup. Depending on the module, the customizable unit can feature between 42 and 55 lockers. There are indoor and outdoor models, which stand 6 ft. high and 7 ft. high, respectively.

To retrieve a package, customers enter the pickup code into the system. Upon authorizing the code, a corresponding door will open, revealing the stored items. The Hub accepts delivery from all carriers, according to Amazon. The program takes a swing at a similar service recently introduced by jet.com. Walmart’s e-commerce operation is teaming up with Latch, a provider of smart building access technologies, to integrate a reader-style electronic access product in 1,000 buildings in New York City. The installation, which is being paid for by the partners, will give more than 100,000 residents the ability to retrieve orders electronically, according to TechCrunch.

Using their smartphone as a key, participating residents can grant access to delivery companies, dropping off packages even if they are not home. The solution, called the R Access system, also provides a visual audit trail of guests, as well as management tools that enable users to add users and share access, according to Latch’s website.

All 1,000 buildings will be set up to provide access to Jet’s delivery partners. The program could be a catalyst for Jet to streamline deliveries in metro and urban areas, according to the report.

Source : chainstoreage.com

(Author : In Young Bae)
The Adidas Originals Seoul flagship store, which closed last Monday, will open on July 28 again.

Adidas Originals to open renewal flagship store in Gangnam, Seoul

Adidas Korea renewed its flagship store and reopened to commemorate the third anniversary of the opening of this year. “Adidas Originals” will provide consumers with the store as a space to express their individuality and creativity, not just a place to sell products. The store, which opened in 2014, attracted attention as the third flagship store of Adidas Originals in the world. While expressing the aspiration to become Seoul’s leading street fashion and cultural center, it was loved by sneakers mania with various collaborations and limited edition items of “Adidas Originals” as well as parties and events.

“Adidas Origins” has organized a variety of events on the theme of ‘CREATIVE CANVAS’ that fans of the brand can participate and enjoy before re-opening.

On Saturday, July 29, the first weekend of reopening, the ‘Do The Over’ party, which has been taking part in celebrated cities all over the world starting in LA in 2005, is held in the back yard of the flagship store. The famous DJs will show DJing performances in ‘Do The Over’. Anyone who is a fan of “Adidas Originals” can apply through the event page.

As part of the NMD ‘NEVER FINISHED’ campaign from September 29th to August 9th, various inspirational pictures of the city taken by customers will be displayed in the store. On August 5th, it will hold ‘ADIDAS MAKER LAB’ event where you can create your own sneakers miniature of your desired design and color.

On August 12, “Adidas” sneaker collector “Quat” of Berlin, Germany will visit the flagship store. He will display 200 pairs of “Adidas” vintage sneakers in his collection and have a time to meet domestic consumers, talking about street culture.

Source : retailinasia.com

(Author : Elias Jahshan)
Volkswagen has opened the doors to a new concept retail store at Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre, complete with digital and interactive features.

Volkswagen drives into Birmingham’s Bullring with new concept store

The car brand is the latest from the motoring industry to join the growing trend of opening up a shopping centre or high street store, and it chose Bullring in order to take advantage of its annual footfall of 36 million. At the store, customers can undergo anything they need with Volkswagen, from initial enquiries to the purchase of a new or pre-owned car and official merchandise or accessories. The store entrance features a 10-screen video wall to attract the attention of shoppers, and there is a digital wall spanning the left-hand side of the store. Light boxes next to each vehicle also explain the specs and benefits of each model, along with a button that prompts illuminations and facts about the factory and manufacturing processes.

On the digital screens, vignettes of people enjoying their Volkswagen vehicle come alive, as well as quotes from car owners, adverts, branded video and aggregated social media feeds all feature in the multi-sensory display. Customers also have the option to configure their own car on iPads around a central table, before moving onto a big screen “reveal” of their vehicle. There is also the chance to test drive a car from the drive pod in the recently refurbished Bullring centre car park.

“It’s great to see top car brands recognising the value in opening modern day showrooms in prime retail destinations,” Bullring general manager Michaela Moore said.

“The opening marks the latest in a number of high-end regional debuts including; Ben Sherman, T2, New Look Men and Smashbox, as well as both Coach and Russell & Bromley which are set to open in August.”

Source : retailgazette.co.uk

(Author : Josh Kolm)
The grocery chain aims to answer demand for organic products while reinforcing its local ties.

IGA grows a garden on top of a store

As proud as you might be of the garden you’ve been growing in your backyard or patio this summer, IGA may have you beat. On the roof of an IGA Extra store in Montreal, owned by the Duchemin family, the grocery chain has been working with urban gardening and agriculture company La Ligne Verte and urban beekeeping company Alvéole to grow a range of organic vegetables and honey.

The garden – which IGA claims is the biggest organic vegetable garden in Canada – will provide produce and honey under a new store brand, “Frais du toit” (“fresh roof”), though they are only available at the Duchemin family’s store.

Cartier also handled the development of the “Frais du toit” brand identity, merchandising tools and communications strategy. In addition to the online video that is running on Facebook and in pre-roll, the agency also created an in-store display that features a live feed of the rooftop garden.

Feeding consumer demand for organic and locally-grown products is something everyone from food brands to QSRs to grocery stores have been attempting to do in recent years. That’s part of what IGA is aiming to do with this attention-grabbing, large-scale execution, but focusing on the Duchemin family also helps reinforce the brand’s ties to the communities in which it operates. That’s something parent company Sobeys also has been attempting to do elsewhere in Canada and it was why the IGA brand stuck around after it was acquired in the late 1990s.

IGA grows a garden on top of a store1

“Our retailers are true entrepreneurs who really make a difference in their community through unique, inspiring projects,” Carl Pichette, VP of marketing at Sobeys Québec, said in a press release. “By focusing on hyperlocal, organic and daily picking, we offer consumers a unique and sought-after product.”

Source : strategyonline.ca

(Author : Laura McQuarrie)
The new ASICS store in Brussels, Belgium, introduces a new global retail concept from the brand that’s centered around consumer empowerment. 

This ASICS' Store Concept Helps Consumers Understand Their Own Needs

The space designed and developed by ASICS by Green Room is equipped with vibrant digital displays like the Runkeeper, which combines real-time social posts with data-driven animations from the local running community. As Green Room Amsterdam Creative Director Paul Silcox puts it: “The space works hard to enable and empower the customer, to put them at ease with their selection, but not to dictate to them.”

In the store, dynamic displays and touchscreen stations encourage consumers to discover what products may work best for their needs, as well as connect with on-site staff for a greater sense of community.

Source : trendhunter.com