(Author : Paul Sawers)
After years of speculation, Microsoft finally confirmed plans to open its first physical retail store in Europe.

Microsoft to open its first European retail outlet in London… next to Apple’s flagship store

The tech giant revealed that it will open a store by Oxford Circus in London’s Regent Street, a prestigious thoroughfare in the heart of the U.K. capital. Interestingly, the new Microsoft store will be situated just a stone’s throw from Apple’s flagship outlet, which reopened with a redesign just last year. Microsoft already operates online stores in Europe, of course, selling everything from hardware such as Xbox One and Surface Book to software, including Office and games.The company has long flirted with a European brick-and-mortar presence, with rumors of a European launch dating back to at least 2012. But for one reason or another, it has never quite come to fruition.

A history of Microsoft stores
The Seattle-based firm first debuted an “on-the-ground” retail experience in 1999 at the Sony-owned Metreon shopping complex in San Francisco, but it exited the space in 2010. Microsoft then kick-started its serious retail store chain efforts in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2009. The company now claims almost one hundred retail stores across the U.S., including its New York flagship, which opened in 2015. It has since gone international, with retail stores opening in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia.

A growing trend we’re seeing is “online” and traditionally software-focused companies shifting further into the brick-and-mortar realm. Amazon has been opening physical bookstores in the U.S., where it also has a growing presence on university campuses, allowing students to try out the company’s own-brand devices. Oh, and then there’s its $13.7 billion acquisition of supermarket chain Whole Foods.

Google, too, has dabbled increasingly in physical outlets, though it has yet to go full-throttle into retail stores. However, with yesterday’s news that it is buying HTC’s Pixel smartphone team for more than $1 billion, that could change in the future.

With Microsoft edging deeper into the hardware realm and now selling a bunch of own-brand Surface laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs, consoles, mixed reality headsets, accessories (there’s even a long-rumored phone reportedly in the works), having a physical presence is more important than ever.

Our customer experience in our physical stores generates confidence and trust in our products and services,” noted David Porter, head of Microsoft Stores. Visitors can expect to see a range of products not just for sale, but also for show across computing, gaming, mixed reality, and artificial intelligence (AI), he added. The London store has been a long time coming, though a firm date for its opening hasn’t been given yet.

Source  : venturebeat.com

(Author : Retail in Asia)
Nestlé and bed company Caspar have teamed up for a second time this year, launching a ‘nap café’ in Tokyo to promote power-sleeps across the Japanese capital.

Nestle opens a nap cafe in Tokyo’s Ginza

The food and beverage giant and the sleeping specialist retailer had bowed the nap café in the Ginza shopping district. The Ginza Nap Café at the Ginza Chairs complex is aimed at people needing to catch up on their rest. Inside the café, customers will find dozens of beds, set at varying angles to each other to promote privacy. Guests can buy a short 30-minute power nap or settle in for a three-hour long sleep.

In addition to the beds, there are sleeping tables equipped with special foam pillows that support the head and neck. Each sleep session comes with a timer and light activated eye mask.

The initiative was trialled in Harajuku in March 2017 and was deemed a success. According to reports, Japan is the second most sleep-deprived nation on earth, second only to Koreans. The Ginza Nap café runs through September 2017.

Source : retailinasia.com

(Author : Ellen Smith)
Forever21 recently announced the launch of its new cosmetics store, ‘Riley Rose,’ which is set to open in California at the end of September.

'Riley Rose' is Forever21's Newest Conceptual Beauty Store

This new vibrant space will open 13 stores in the US, carrying “accessories, cosmetics and home goods for the millennial consumer.” Stacked with popular beauty brands and serving as a “wonderland for millennials and Gen-Zs,” this experimental store encourages social media engagement, offering a vibrant, selfie-friendly environment that adds a unique dynamic to the standard shopping routine.

As the convenience of e-commerce stands as retail’s biggest competitor, Forever21 continues to expand its efforts into conceptual spaces which aim to draw more consumers into physical stores. The storefront’s appearance serves as a prominent example of the apparel brand’s attempt to offer consumers a better overall in-store experience.

Source : trendhunter.com

(Author :  Retail in Asia)
AmorePacific Corp., South Korea’s top cosmetics maker, has opened a shop for its premium skin care brand at the upscale department store Galeries Lafayette in France, expanding its presence in the European market.

AmorePacific opens store at Galeries Lafayette in France

The Sulwhasoo store opened in the upscale department store of Galeries Lafayette in Paris on 8 September 2017, according to the company. Galeries Lafayette is famous for selling numerous designer labels and luxury beauty brands that are favored by customers with deep pockets. Galeries Lafayette, also known as ‘The Holy Land of Beauty’, is a tourist attraction crowded with not only French customers but also many tourists. As interest in K-beauty continues to grow in the French market, Sulwhasoo plans to make the Galeries Lafayette a popular spot for visitors to Paris.

It is the first time for Sulwhasoo to be launched in the European market, according to the company. It is also the only Korean brand that has an independent outlet in the French department store. On the 8th day of opening the store, customers from various nationalities such as Middle East, China visited the store. Mainly, consonant cream light, yunjo essence, perfection cushion were purchased.

Sulwhasoo’s signature products ‘First Care Activating Serum EX’ and ‘Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX’ is the most popular. Customers showed their great interest in Sulwhasoo’s brand story and main ingredient ‘Ginseng’. Sulwhasoo offers a holistic skincare range inspired by Asian wisdom. Harnessing the benefits of Korean herbal medicine, it is described as the ‘first science-based Korean luxury medicinal skincare system’.

Indigenous medicinal herbs native to Korea are used in the products to balance the energies of the skin for a healthy complexion. Many of the products contain the concentrated extract of ginseng, long revered for its anti-ageing properties.

The Sulwhasoo brand has spent 50 years researching the skincare benefits of ginseng. AmorePacific’s high-end beauty product lineup has successfully expanded its market presence in key Asian markets, including China, Singapore and Thailand, and branched into the United States and Canada. Sulwhasoo’s first overseas foray was made in Hong Kong in 2004.

Source : retailinasia.com

(Author : Laura McQuarrie)
‘The Residence’ is a unique new retail space from John Lewis that gives consumers the chance to really get a feel for what it’s like to purchase its products by temporarily living in the in-store apartment. 

John Lewis is Inviting Consumers to Temporary Live Its In-Store Spaces

The fully furnished retail space is equipped with a bedroom, a living room and a dining area, which consumers are invited to live in as if the spaces were there own. Although many furniture showrooms convey a hands-off feel, The Residence encourages those who make themselves at home to rearrange furniture and even host private dinner parties for friends.

To really make The Residence feel like an authentic abode, John Lewis services the home with a daily newspaper delivery, stocks it with the latest fall and winter products and even gave the home its own unique scent.

Source : trendhunter.com

(Author : Retail in Asia)
H&M expands its global footprint with the opening of its first store in Vietnam. Located at Vincom Center Dong Khoi in Ho Chi Minh City, the new flagship store opened with a DJ performance and party on Saturday.

H&M makes bricks-and-mortar debut in Vietnam

More than 4,000 queued for the grand opening of H&M’s first store in Vietnam, with many customers arriving at 10pm the night before to be amongst the first ones through the door. The flagship spreads over 2,000 sq mts across two floors, showcasing a selection of the latest fashion and accessories for men, women, teenagers and kids, including the H&M Studio collection. The store will also bring H&M’s designer collaborations and projects to Vietnam, including the recently announced Erdem x H&M collaboration and the Holiday collection.

H&M country manager for Southeast Asia Fredrik Famm performed a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Vincom Center Dong Khoi store together with sales manager for Vietnam Anne Soderberg and store manager Nguyen Kieu Oanh.

“We have been waiting for this day for a long time and the response from our customers in Vietnam was definitely worth the wait! I am proud to welcome shoppers to our very first store and we are pleased to offer our customers added value through fashion, quality, and sustainability at the best price in a sustainable way,” said Fredrik Famm.

The Swedish brand has more than 4,000 stores in 66 markets, and aims to enter Kazakhstan, Colombia, Iceland and Georgia throughout the year. The company plans to have approximately 500 new stores by the end of financial year 2017.

Source : retailinasia.com

(Author : Harmeet Singh)
The luxury auto brand adds a second location in its dealership-complementing store strategy. Mercedes-Benz has opened up its second “Mercedes Me” concept store in the Canadian market, hoping to offer up a different kind of brand experience for potential auto shoppers.

Mercedes makes its next lifestyle retail play

The new location is at the CF Markville shopping centre in the Greater Toronto Area. The 5,600 square foot store does showcase five to six of the latest Mercedes-Benz models, but it’s also meant to offer up an experience beyond what’s found in a dealership, says Philipp von Witzendorff, vice president and head of the Toronto retail group at Mercedes-Benz.

In other words, it’s a place to engage consumers and fans of the brand (hopefully creating new ones). The store includes various collector’s items and Mercedes-branded merchandise, like luggage, golf bags, pens and clothing. It also has an interactive screen where shoppers can customize their vehicles.

The automaker is still keeping the path to purchase in mind with the concept store, however. The Markville location, for example, is just 3 km from a Mercedes-Benz dealership and is managed by the same team, with staff in the concept store well-versed in vehicle specifics and able to direct potential customers to the nearby lot.

In terms of locations, Mercedes is after shopping malls where people come to essentially hang out, given that the Mercedes Me concept is more of a lifestyle play, versus a place to actually buy a car. From a demographic perspective, the Markham area also has a large Chinese Canadian population, a group with whom the lifestyle concept resonates, von Witzendorff says.

The first “Mercedes Me” store in Canada opened at the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, B.C. The retail concept debuted in Hamburg, Germany in 2014 and the brand now has various locations worldwide.

Source : strategyonline.ca

(Author : Mishal Omar)
Aldi and Instacart recently collaborated in order to try and unseat Amazon’s current prominence in the retail world.

Aldi and Instacart Are Offering a Grocer Delivery Service

Aldi is a German discount supermarket chain that is seeking to overthrow Amazon’s power by introducing a grocery delivery service in some cities in the United States. The brand Instacart, which it is collaborating with, is a same-day grocery delivery service. The Aldi and Instacart collaboration is simple enough, with customers requesting deliveries through the Instacart app or via its website, and choosing which products they want delivered – which arrive within the hour.

This collaboration runs in direct competition with AmazonFresh, with the difference being that Aldi is able to offer “exclusive products not found elsewhere.”

 

Source : trendhunter.com

 

(Author : Laura McQuarrie)
Nike recently unveiled a new in-store sneaker creation tool called the ‘Nike Makers Experience’ that will allow consumers to make custom footwear designs on the spot.

The 'Nike Makers Experience' Lets Consumers Create One-of-a-Kind Shoes

While the making of bespoke sneakers seems like it would be a lengthy, time-consuming process, this experience makes a custom pair of Nike footwear available on-site to a consumer in just about 90 minutes.

With the Nike Makers Experience, customers are invited to put on a plain Nike Presto X shoe and then choose custom graphics to enhance the design. Augmented reality, object tracking and projection technology are used to bring the designs to life on a customer’s feet.

For the introduction of this new interactive in-store experience at the Nike By You Studio, Nike is limiting it to select friends and family members of Nike+ members on an invite-only basis.

Source : trendhunter.com

(Author : Cassidy Mantor)
Nordstrom is the latest retailer experimenting with downsizing its brick and mortar footprint, introducing a small branded store on Melrose in LA that will offer free stylists and wine.

Nordstrom launches Nordstrom Local retail concept

Nordstrom Local is a new service-oriented concept designed to make in-store shopping more convenient for customers. The new Nordstrom Local occupies 3,000 square feet which is a fraction of the size of Nordstrom’s standard 140,000 square feet stores. Nordstrom Local will offer free styling and on-site tailoring, and will function as a location to pick up online orders and process returns. It has one styling suite, eight fitting rooms and a central sitting location where customers can chat with their personal stylists over a glass of wine or a beer.

The impetus behind Nordstrom Local is to keep up with a changing retail landscape. Nordstrom has not yet fallen victim to the retail apocalypse and plans to keep ahead by focusing on consumer service and convenience.

Downsizing retail footprints is one of the trends large department store retailers are following to stay afloat. Kohl’s recently launched a handful of small scale concept shops featuring similar perks of increased service, online order pickup, and an overall quicker shopping experience in a smaller physical space.

Shea Jensen, Nordstrom SVP of Customer Experience, who led the Nordstrom Local initiative said, “We wanted to offer our best services in a convenient location to meet [the consumer’s] shopping needs. Finding new ways to engage with customers on their terms is more important to us now than ever.” Jensen pointed to “great service, speed and convenience” as the three core values that will continue to engage consumers today.

In addition to beer, wine and styling, Nordstrom Local will offer nail services where customers can get manicures. Customers can interact in real life with a Nordstrom Trunk Club stylist. They also will be offered an integrated experience with style boards of looks pulled specifically for them that can be purchased on their phones.

Nordstrom Local will be on the corner of Melrose and Melrose Place at 8401 Melrose Place, Los Angeles. It opens on October 3rd, which is the same day that Nordstrom will also relocate its Westside Pavilion store to Century City.

Source : us.fashionnetwork.com