(Author : Katherine Pendrill)
Earlier this year, Taco Bell announced the opening of its first shipping container outpost in South Gate, California.

Taco Bell Has Opened Its First Permanent Shipping Container Outpost

While the brand originally came up with the idea back in 2015 with a shipping container pop-up at SXSW, the newest store is meant to be a permanent location. Taco Bell’s new shipping container outpost is a 1080-square-foot retail space, housed inside a series of old cargo containers. Designed by SG Blocks, the new Tex-Mex restaurant consists of a kitchen, a walk-up service counter and outdoor seating. While the popular Tex-Mex chain is no stranger to creative retail concepts, the new shipping container store is meant to serve as part of a company-wide green initiative to create more sustainable spaces.

Source : trendhunter.com


(Author : Sandra Halliday)
To mark the start of the Summer season from now up until June 4, the window of Topshop’s global flagship store on London’s Oxford Street has been transformed into an interactive pool scene, complete with a 360º Virtual Reality water slide, “ready to take customers on a fully immersive ride.”

Topshop adds VR to flagship to celebrate start of summer

It’s a major development for the retailer with users starting their VR journey seated on a giant inflatable at the entrance to the slide and then being “thrust into a fictional Topshop-themed world with a few surprises along the way.” Starting at the store, “the ride will see consumers embark on a hyper-real, high-intensity journey across London’s streets, twisting and turning their way through the computer-generated landscape.”

It’s an interesting development for a store that usually grabs more headlines for its collaboration with supermodels and designers or the activities of its controlling shareholder Sir Philip Green.

But it reflects the major impact advanced technology is making on retail and how flagships need to be more than just big and well-stocked, they need to offer one-of-a-kind experiences too. Given that this is as much about marketing as anything, consumers will be able to share the experience with their social followers in a dedicated Splash! at Topshop area within the store. And Snapchat users will be able to access an exclusive Topshop lens available from May 27 “that will see them immersed in a surreal summer-themed aquatic world.”

Sheena Sauvaire, Global Marketing and Communications Director at the company, said: “Topshop Oxford Street has one of the most prominent store fronts in the world. As VR technology continues to advance our desire was to blend it with retail theatre to create an immersive and shareable experience for our consumers, as a fun way to celebrate the start of summer.”

Source : trendhunter.com

(Author : Jason Del Rey)
Target has finalized an investment in Casper Sleep, pumping $75 million into the fast-growing mattress startup in a funding round that will total $100 million or more, according to a source familiar with the deal.

Target is investing $75 million in mattress startup Casper

Existing Casper investors like Lerer Hippeau Ventures, IVP and NEA are also participating in the round. New investors, in addition to Target, could send the round over $100 million. The investment comes after Target and Casper could not come to terms on an outright acquisition after Target offered to buy the startup for $1 billion.

“Target invested in Casper because we believe in their team, their ideas and their vision for reimagining sleep,” a Target spokesman said in a statement, but declined to confirm the amount invested.

The statement continued: “The strategic partnership offers Casper access to an established retail brand and gives Target an opportunity to work with a future-focused digital brand that is exploring an area that is meaningful for our guests — sleep and wellness. We’re looking forward to exploring the future together.”

Casper, which is known for its foam mattresses that it ships to customers folded up in a box, last raised $55 million at a valuation of around $500 million in the summer of 2015. The startup received a higher valuation with this new investment, though the exact terms could not be learned.

For Target, the investment signals a move to put its money where its mouth is in its attempt to reclaim some of the cool factor that made it a hit among discount retailers for so long through relationships with popular designers and brands. Target is launching more than a dozen of its own brands over the next two years in categories like Home and Kids to appeal to young families.

It’s also partnering with digital-first product makers like Casper — most recently — as well as Bevel, Harry’s and Who What Wear to sell their goods with the hope of driving younger shoppers onto its website and into its stores.

For Casper, the new money gives it the funds to continue to expand into new products and invest in marketing as it tries to become known for more than just mattresses and break away from a pack of competitors like Leesa and Tuft & Needle, which have raised little to no venture capital but are still growing. Industry insiders also expect more traditional mattress companies to enter the “bed in a box” market in the coming year.

While people close to Casper believe the company has its sights on an eventual IPO, it’s unclear whether having Target as an investor would scare off other potential suitors from the retail world along the way.

Source : recode.net

(Author : Josh Constine)
Warby Parker wants to get you the right prescription glasses without forcing you to get an in-person eye test. It’s now testing its new Prescription Check app that uses your phone and computer in tandem to administer a 20-minute series of eye tests, which are then reviewed by a doctor who makes the final call on your prescription.

Warby Parker’s Prescription Check app lets you skip the eye doctor

This could let Warby Parker sell people prescription glasses on impulse rather than hoping customers come back once they get their prescription the old-fashioned way. For now, Warby Parker says only people between the ages of 18 and 40 in California, Florida, New York and Virginia who already have Warby Parker glasses are eligible for the test. And initially Warby Parker will only confirm that someone’s existing prescription is still right, before allowing the app to give users updated prescriptions in the future.

Eventually Warby Parker could roll out Prescription Check more widely to let new customers from a wider range of places get hooked up. Though one important thing to note is that Warby Parker stresses that people still need regular eye exams to check for medical conditions, so you can’t ditch the eye doctor entirely. Inc. mentioned the new feature in a profile of the startup yesterday.

Without Prescription Check, Warby Parker users had to either find a doctor on their own to get a prescription, or come in to one of the startup’s roughly 50 retail locations that are mostly just in big cities. Prescription Check’s technology works extremely similarly to startup Opternative, which has raised $9.5 million and been doing online eye tests since 2014. However, it’s met regulatory pushback from optometrist and ophthalmologist organizations trying to protect their in-store eye test businesses.

The Prescription Check test sees users stand back from their computer screen that displays the vision tests while reading instructions off the phone they’re holding. The phone’s camera can measure a credit card placed in the corner of the computer screen to determine the distance and screen size so the tests are configured properly.

A source says that Warby Parker has been working on the Prescription Check idea for a long time and considered both building and buying the necessary technology. Now Warby Parker appears to have built it on its own. “We’ve been exploring vision technology for a long time” a Warby Parker spokesperson tells me. “We weren’t able to find existing technology with a user experience that met our standards so we decided to build it ourselves.” Specifically, Warby Parker has patented a way to measure the distance to your screen with your phone’s camera rather than having to measure with your feet or another way like Opternative does.

With Warby Parker already focused on sales over the internet, the Prescription Check app and technology could give it another edge over retail stores. The whole point of e-commerce is to take away the hassle, and few things are more disruptive to an online shopping experience than having to make a doctor’s appointment first.

Source : techcrunch.com

REI Flagship store

(Author : retail design blog)
For their fifth flagship, and first foray into the Washington, D.C. market, the nation’s largest consumer co-op and specialty outdoor retailer, REI, chose a space at the historic Washington Coliseum (Uline Arena) in DC’s emerging NoMa neighborhood.

REI Flagship Store

The 51,000-SF flagship represents the culmination of an 18-month process to completely reimagine REI’s store experience. Multiple terraces flow down into the store, breaking down the cavernous single-level, 50,000-SF floorplate while increasing the ceiling height to accommodate REI’s diverse mix of outdoor gear. The terraces not only create vistas across the entire store, but also naturally break down the space into a collection of smaller, intimate shopping zones. The different platforms create an amphitheater vibe, harking back to the historic concerts and sporting events held in the arena. The use of conventional interior finishes, such as drywall, was purposefully minimized, in keeping with the “gear garage” aesthetic. The architecture and material palette is simple, raw, and utilitarian; the walls are lined with exposed plywood and concrete backer board.

REI Flagship Store1

The wood flooring was salvaged from dunnage—wood used for packing cargo on shipping trucks. Large steel garage doors let in light and air, and kilim rugs and eclectic seating groups help to soften the overall experience. REI’s eclectic mix of found objects, hand finished graphics, furnishings, vintage outdoor gear and local artifacts add a human touch and moments of softness within the vast assortment of gear and apparel.

Highlights at the DC flagship include a 1965 VW wagon, complete with a keg on the roof, and one-of-a-kind props like a lime green ceramic fire place anchoring the Snowboard shop. A completely new way of looking at the REI stores, the market concept elevates the brand and best highlights REI’s service and expertise. Most importantly, it inspires REI members to take action and head outdoors.

REI Flagship Store2

The collection of focal points around the perimeter blend into the eclectic marketplace commons in the center of the store to create a relaxed, casual and communal vibe intersected by moments of discovery and inspiration. Bringing the “outdoors in” was a key goal for the store. Large warehouse-style windows and garage doors allow daylight to enter and offer views into the store. The outdoor courtyard encourages local outdoor enthusiasts to hang out. REI’s expert staff uses the space for gear demos and events.

Source : retaildesignblog.net

(Author : Dan O’Shea)
Lowe’s has announced its latest Lowe’s Vision mobile app, which leverages Google’s Tango augmented reality technology on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the first smartphone enabled with Tango, to help customers with in-home design needs, according to Lowe’s Innovation Labs.

Lowe's unveils augmented reality app for in-home projects

“The Lowe’s Vision app enables customers to easily measure any room in their home with the touch of a finger, and style it with virtual Lowe’s products in real-time through augmented reality,” according to a statement on the Lowe’s Innovation Lab’s website. “This is a big step forward into our vision for how customers will use these technologies to design, build and enjoy their homes, from the comfort of home.” This latest mobile app comes on the heels of the March unveiling of the Lowe’s Vision: In-Store Navigation app, which is intended primarily for in-store navigation, product search and related in-store shopping functions.

Dive Insight
A video on the Lowe’s Innovation Labs page explains the Phab 2 Pro with Tango technology has multiple cameras that allow app users to create 3-D experiences that show a highly realistic view of how a re-imagined living space will look. That really is the name of the game here, as there is no point in putting augmented reality technology into this sort of mobile app unless it is going to virtually imitate the experience of seeing the products in the customer’s actual home.

Lowe’s has been aggressively developing new technologies, and this isn’t its first augmented reality solution. In fact, just a few months ago Lowe’s announced a Vision app leveraging Tango, but that app was targeted more at in-store navigation and needs.

This app is targeted for use outside of the physical Lowe’s store, and while it’s not described as a mobile shopping app, that’s really what it is. It’s also much more advanced than most mobile shopping apps, allowing users to drop a new stove into a space in their kitchen where the old stove still sits. That’s about as close as you can get to buying the thing, having it delivered, installing it and seen it in the space — except the app takes all the nervousness, risk and mystery out of the equation. If shoppers don’t like how it looks in the app, they can drop in an image of a different stove.

The only negative here is the fact that a lot of people who might want to use the app don’t have the Phab 2 Pro smartphone. Tango is a pretty impressive 3-D technology with a lot of potential uses, and Google is sure to work hard to get it into more devices. (The upcoming Asus ZenFone AR actually looks to have some pretty major implications for retail.) For Lowe’s shoppers, wider availability of this particular app, regardless of device, can’t come soon enough.

Source : retaildive.com

(Author : retail design blog)
Yves Rocher reopened its newly designed flagship store on the world’s most beautiful avenue on the 5th of May 2016. For this unusual and sensitive assignment the brand turned once again to Workshop Retail Design Agency (creator of the Yves Rocher’s latest retail concept).

Yves Rocher flagship store

The site for the store is a converted Haussmanian residence and Workshop, took advantage of the unusual layout to integrate domestic features such as rooms, corridors and stairways with a modern and immersive customer experience. Yves Rocher’s brief was to attract an international clientele and integrate the modern values of the brand whilst respecting the architectural restrictions of a listed building.

Welcome to the Botanical Beauty Lab
The interior of the store is an invitation for customers to explore the “Cosmétique Végétale” range through an innovative and multi-sensory experience. Glass, natural and living materials are combined seamlessly with technology and beauty to bring a breath of fresh air to the frenzied shopping of the Champs Elysées.

Yves Rocher flagship store2

The choice of natural materials was as much about image as sensation. Wood, moss and stone are present throughout the store and bring its own subtle but distinct perfume and acoustics. The majestic chandelier “Genno” (symbolizing the origin of life) hangs over the main stairway and is made up of 240 illuminate elements, each in them form of the letter ‘Y’ (of Yves Rocher) and sprouting along strands in organic form.

Beautiful transitions generate customer flow
Yves Rocher’s flagship store is four shops in one connected with experiential transitions, enticing customers from one universe to another generating flow and natural contact with the products and beauty assistants.

MAKE-UP – Fall for the color
Workshop conceived a bright welcome and the unlimited colors of the make-up wall are in view from the front door with flash makeovers and consultations in the makeup lab. Moving up the spiral stairway to the first floor the outline of a tree appears light up in pinpoints of light through the wood.

Yves Rocher flagship store1

SKIN CARE – Have a beauty break
Skincare is the heart of Yves Rocher’s expertise and Workshop created a calm and relaxed space of wood and moss dedicated to natural beauty, with diagnostic and nail bars.

PERFUME – Take your sense out
A meticulous care was taken in designing a small “Fragrances Lab”, where testing and experimenting are encouraged for a delicate olfactory journey through fields of exotic plants and flowers.

BATH – Succumb to new pleasures
The corridor leading to the bath area is the opportunity to discover the 250 sources of ingredients of Yves Rocher – the first of which is at La Gacilly, in Brittany: the village where Monsieur Yves Rocher was born.

A pathway from nature, history and science to the future
Customers can end their visit with gift and travel boxes in the checkout area for a souvenir of France and Yves Rocher. And then glass flasks, plants, and scientific equipment are the focus of the interactive display lining the route from the checkout back to the store entrance. Hidden animations and tactile screens once again enchant the senses for a unique and immersive discovery of the brand’s history since 1959.

Source : retaildesignblog.net

(Author : retail design blog)
Benetton Group revealed the specially designed Pop Up Cubes at two various venues in 2016. First it appeared in Milan in the fashion district of Corso Como during the Fashion Week from September 21st to the 23rd, and later it appeared again in the Côte d’Azur for the annual MAPIC retail trade show.

Benetton Pop up cubes

While both events had the Pop Up Cubes, they were addressed differently thanks to the dynamicity of the setup possibilities in which the events themes can easily be modified to specific purposes.

In Milan, the Cubes realized of 2,5 m cubic overall dimensions each and fabricated via interchangeable metal elements finished in oven processed high gloss paint, housed an interactive video content where the public had the opportunity to express their emotions in three different settings.

Benetton Pop up cubes1

At Mapic, on the other hand, the Cubes were setup do address the B2B nature of the event and housed 8 large led walls on a 360 degree view point to showcase Corporate Video Statistics, the Clothes for Humans Video Brand Campaign, the Pop Up Experience in Milan, and a conceptual video on how the Benetton Pop Up Cube came about.

Benetton Pop up cubes2

The Benetton Pop Up Cube have proven great potentiality to bring awareness to the brand where in Milan there were 1000 registered video emotions recorded, 2000 people interacted, of an average age of 28 years.

Source : retaildesignblog.net


(Author : Helen Pawson)
L’Oréal Travel Retail is inviting travellers to discover the world of Giorgio Armani’s Milan Studio Profumo via promotions at key airports globally, including Dubai, Heathrow and Oslo, through May.

Giorgio Armani invites travellers into his Studio Profumo

The Studio Profumo shows how Armani creates his fragrances and reveals the inspiration that he draws from the world of haute couture. The promotion features designer podiums which echo Armani’s studio along with mounted picture frames and a display of fragrances such as Sì Eau de Parfum and Sì Rose Signature.

Giorgio Armani invites travellers into his Studio Profumo1

Travellers can discover fragrances including Acqua di Gioia, Sky di Gioia, Code and Code Cashmere via scented ribbons in colours that match the various lines. Customers who purchase one or more Armani fragrance will receive a pouch signed by Giorgio Armani.

Source : moodiedavittreport.com

(Author : Marianne Wilson)
So what’s the bottom line? By rethinking stores and testing new ideas with customers in real-life stores, we are improving customers’ experiences and making it easier than ever for them to get what they need as quickly and easily as possible.


First Look, Walmart’s next-gen test stores

Walmart is testing new features and technology in two recently-opened supercenters in Tomball, Texas, and Lake Nona, Florida. The stores were fully reimagined — from layout to building and environmental enhancements to added technology — with a goal of improving the shopping experience and making it easier for customers to get what they need as quickly as possible. Here is a peak at the changes:

New Layout: The chain used customer shopping behavior to reimagine the layout for the two stores. For example, services like the beauty salon and tech repair are adjacent to relevant merchandise. Health and wellness departments are consolidated to create a single destination. Baby, toys, kids’ apparel and kids’ shoes form a single destination to ease the shopping journey.

Scan & Go: Scan & Go technology that works both on personal smartphones and Walmart-provided handheld devices is being tested in the two locations. Customers are greeted on their way into the store by a large bank of Scan & Go wands, and new digital produce scales have been added to make scanning weighable items much easier. Scan & Go fast pass checkout lanes allow customers to bypass the traditional checkout process
SmartLife: New interactive projection technology allows customers to learn about connected devices (such as Google Home, Apple TV, Nest, baby monitors and connected thermostats) and get answers to what is important to them. Since images are projected onto tables and walls, there’s no chance of accidentally damaging a product, and the product details can be updated more quickly through this new platform. This technology is found in the entertainment section of the store, as well as in hardware, baby, and health and wellness for relevant department items.

Integrated Pickup: Shoppers can use the outside drive-thru to pick up weekly groceries and also their prescriptions and Walmart.com orders.

Extended Aisles: Step into the Tomball Supercenter and you’ll find interactive screens offering access to an extended curated selection of online-only items in almost 100 categories. Customers can order products, pay with the rest of their basket at checkout and pick up two days later.

Appointment Setting and Ordering Technology: The two stores are testing a new appointment and ordering kiosk system in the deli area that allows shoppers to place their order, go shopping, then come back to quickly pick it up. If the deli test goes well, the feature could be expanded to pharmacy, auto care center, beauty salon or anywhere ordering and appointment setting occurs.

Next-Gen Call Buttons: Shoppers press a Wi-Fi-connected call button and wearable GPS-enabled devices alert associates that assistance is needed. Associates wearing these devices are trained in specific store areas and are on call to help in the furniture, paint, fabrics, sporting goods and bikes areas of the store.

Source : chainstoreage.com