(Author : Deena M.Amato-McCoy)
Best Buy is offering its shoppers a new digital shopping option. In a move that leverages its recent partnership with Amazon, the electronics retailer is enabling customers to order its Best Buy’s Deal of the Day products on an Amazon Alexa device.

Consumer electronics giant taps Alexa for voice ordering

The digital commerce option allows customers to buy from a tailored list of recommendations, which are partially based on their needs and taken from Best Buy’s assortment of laptops and TVs, the retailer said in a company blog.

Here’s how it works: customers add the Alexa skill to their voice-enabled device via the Alexa app or Alexa skill store. After logging into their Best Buy account, users say, “Alexa, talk to Best Buy,” and they will connected with the online store.

The program illustrates “one way we’re delivering on our Best Buy 2020 strategy that we laid out in September: to evolve what we sell, and, in this case, how we sell it,” Best Buy stated in the blog. “We’re starting with this skill, and these select products, to learn more and give customers one more way to shop at Best Buy.”

The move comes on the heels of Best Buy Canada’s partnership with Google, a move that enables users to hear sales, learn more about various products, and find their nearby store via the Google Assistant.

Best Buy also began selling both Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice-activated devices in about 700 Best Buy stores nationwide, as well as online. The devices are part of the consumer giant’s smart home departments, which also feature an ever-growing number of smart products, such as Nest thermostats and Philips Hue lighting.

Source : chainstoreage.com

(Author : European Supermarket Magazine)
Auchan Retail China is entering the second phase of developing a fully phygital – that is, blending the physical and digital – point of sale in Shanghai, with Chinese electronics company Hisense.

Auchan China Expands Digital-Store Concept 'Auchan Minute'

The French retail group’s Chinese arm has joined forces with the state-owned electronics company to develop Auchan Minute, a 100% phygital retail experience. After a testing phase during the summer, the retailer is now rolling out Auchan Minute, which has no staff members, as all payments are conducted via smartphone. Customers scan a QR code at the door to enter, and then scan products with their phones, adding them to a virtual basket. Shoppers verify their purchases and complete payment online before leaving the store. “In an urbanising world, where four billion people will live in the city by 2025, Auchan Retail – the 11th-largest global food group – has opened Auchan Minute, in the district of Yangpu in Shanghai,” Auchan said in a statement.

“This 100% automatic point of sale offers city dwellers a connected shopping solution closer to home that can be controlled with their smartphone,” the company added. The company hopes to open several hundred Auchan Minute stores in China.

E-Commerce Expansion
The French retailer is pursuing new ways of bringing its supermarkets into the future, both at home and abroad. Just last month, it launched a new click-and-collect service in the Saint-Étienne area, the largest of its kind in France. Last year, Auchan bolstered its Chinese e-commerce service by signing a deal with digital-intelligence firm Keyrus to further develop its e-commerce platform. Elsewhere, many other retailers have been developing digital-store concepts similar to Auchan Minute, including online retail giant Amazon’s bricks-and-mortar grocery concept Amazon Go.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s is trialling a checkout-less service in London, Coop Danmark is planning to open the first unmanned grocery store in Denmark in the first quarter of 2018, and Irish company Everseen has developed a new fully automated checkout-free system.

Source : esmmagazine.com

(Author : Jenny W.HSU)
For over a century, L’Oreal has been a standard-bearer for beauty and glamor. Now, it has also stands out as an early adopter of “New Retail” in China–an innovative business model that weaves online and offline shopping into one seamless interactive experience for consumers.

L’OREAL GLAMS UP ‘NEW RETAIL’ TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS FOR 11.11

As part of the rev-up for Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, the cosmetic giant this year, in collaboration with Tmall.com, rolled out several cutting-edge technologies to engage with Chinese customers, offering an upgraded shopping experience whether browsing at an existing brick-and-mortar shops, one of the six Pop-Up Smart Stores in five major cities or in front of a computer or phone screen.

Here is a look at L’Oreal’s “New Retail” approach:

FIRST-EVER FASHION SHOW FROM CHAMPS ELYSEES – In early October, Tmall customers had an unparalleled opportunity to “participate” in a fashion show held for the first time ever on the Champs-Élysées, a universally known boulevard synonymous with prestige, luxury and elegance. The show featured “A-listers,” such as American actress Jane Fonda, Oscar winner Helen Mirren, and Chris Lee, one of the most popular pop stars in China. It was broadcast live exclusively and replayed on Tmall.com. Viewers were able to see the entire show in 360 degrees, simply by moving their phones. To date, over 4.5 million people have watched the show.“Thanks to e-commerce and thanks to Alibaba technology, we can literally bring Paris to the Chinese consumers,” said Stéphane Rinderknech, the company’s China Chief Executive Officer. Adding to the exclusivity was the debut of Balmain’s newest lipstick collection on Tmall.com designed specially for 11.11 customers.

MAGIC MIRROR – With the help of Alibaba’s augmented-reality technology, L’Oreal has installed an interactive device at its Shanghai, Wuhan, and Changsha boutique shops and several pop-up stores. With it, visitors can “try on” different types of makeup by simply looking into the screen and tapping on a selection of hues that appears at the bottom.Customers can see in the “magic mirror” what they look like with a certain shade of lipstick or blush. They can play around with colors until they find the one that best suits them. Once they do, from the same touchscreen, they can immediately order from L’Oreal’s flagship store on Tmall.com, and the product will be delivered to their doorstep.
The company said this technology, also available through L’oreal’s Tmall flagship store online, not only allows customers to test out different shades in a short amount of time, it also adds an extra layer of confidence and assurance for the customers that what they buy is what best suits them.

VIRTUAL GUIDE – By using location-based technology, members of L’Oreal’s Tmall store can receive a push alert on their phones letting them know where the closest L’Oreal counter is. This kind of path-finding technology means, via the Tmall app on their phones, shoppers can easily find a store where they can get personal, real-time, one-on-one beauty tips from a makeup artist at the counter. Moreover, customers will receive discount coupons they can use on the spot.

“CATCH THE CAT” – This augmented reality mobile game developed by Alibaba illustrates how brands can benefit from the melding of technology and entertainment in retail. It’s a way to bolster consumer engagement. The location-based game lets Taobao and Tmall app users move within their real-world surrounding as they try to capture an avatar—the Tmall black cat mascot — within the game’s map. Players can also earn special promotion prizes and coupons for the L’Oreal online flagship store.

MAKEUP VENDING MACHINE – For mall-goers who know exactly what moisturizer or foundation they want buy, but don’t want the hassle of dealing with a beauty adviser at the counter, L’Oreal unveiled its own vending machines at several pop-up stores. They’re stocked with everything from Lancôme perfume, to lipsticks and toners. Shoppers can pay for items on the spot by scanning a QR code with their phones.

Source : alizila.com

(Author : springwise)
Luxury online fashion retailer is developing an AI-powered tool that will help ensure customers get their choice right first time.

AI tool complements the work of stylists

Artificial intelligence (AI) is fast becoming one of the hot pieces of technology used to support a number of tasks in everyday life and the retail industry is catching on. Consumers in the UK spend GPB 388 billion on retail purchases and the industry is making a huge strides away from the high street and towards online. The number of purchases made online is up 16 percent against last year and this is constantly growing.

As part of a GBP 442m investment, Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, which recently opened their new Tech Hub in London, are now expanding their use of AI technology to personalise the shopping experience for consumers. The company, which was established in 2015 following the merging of the two luxury e-commerce sites (Yoox and Net-a-Porter) has been experimenting with AI since 2016 and is currently exploring new tools such as a virtual stylist to complement the work of their personal shoppers.

The intelligent tool will draw on the past work of the company’s stylists as well as the customer’s purchase history, likes and dislikes, to learn what types of clothes combine well for an outfit. The virtual stylist will offer customers a more sophisticated degree of personalisation by suggesting complementing products to create an outfit that works well for them. The system could also potentially help customers pick clothes based on their location, schedules holidays and activities, whilst also speeding up the work of customer care teams and personal shoppers in making product recommendations and put together outfits more quickly.

AI is taking the online market by storm and we are seeing an increase of innovations such as the mobile app Blippar which allows shoppers to make purchases straight from the runway at fashion shows. How could AI further complement the human touch and contribute to a even more personalised shopping experience?

Source : springwise.com

(Author : Cassidy Mantor)
Neiman Marcus has turned to its millennial employees for help in sourcing a new beauty shop concept called Trending Beauty that will pilot at the department store’s NorthPark Center location in Dallas.

Neiman Marcus pilots millennial employee-sourced Trending Beauty shop

Neiman Marcus reported its average beauty customer was 51 years old at the time of its IPO in 2015. In an effort to stay in business and appeal to a new generation of beauty customer, the retailer assembled a focus group of 20 assistant buyers, merchandisers and planners in their twenties to share their favorite beauty products outside of the range of inventory usually carried by Neiman Marcus.

The results are 45 brands across skincare, makeup, self care, ingestibles, candles, and oils. Brands include Ouai, KNC Beauty, Lipstick Queen, Bioeffect, Hum Nutrition and Joanna Vargas, with the average price point standing at $50 an item.

The Trending Beauty shop is carved out of the beauty floor with modern wood and metal fixtures, and is designed to stand out to millennial shoppers with its neon pink signage. Neiman Marcus is the latest retailer appealing to millennials. Bloomingdales unveiled its GlowHaus concept at five locations. However, while GlowHaus sits adjacent to other millennial brands, Trending Beauty is an enclave in an otherwise more mature retail experience.

Kelly St. John, Neiman Marcus’ VP of beauty said, “There’s been such a growth in up-and-coming beauty brands in the last [several] years, and we wanted to curate an assortment we could position not only to our existing customers, but to new customers as well.”

St. John noted that Trending Beauty is part of an overall operations strategy of being more nimble. She explained that they installed the space in three hours in an effort to get the consumer the product she wants immediately.

Trending Beauty also joins other new Neiman Marcus beauty initiatives: the Wellness Shop opened earlier this year, offering supplements and ingestibles, and last month the retailer partnered with Indie Beauty Expo to bring 15 indie beauty brands to its assortment.

Trending Beauty is open now in Dallas, TX’s NorthPark Center, close to the retailer’s headquarters. Neiman Marcus has not confirmed additional locations but plans to open more shops this spring if Trending Beauty in Dallas is a success.

Source : us.fashionnetwork.com

(Author : Lucien Joppen)
In Alibaba and Amazon’s shadow, Japanese Rakuten Ichiba is quickly developing. Several Western chains are using the platform to sell their products to Japanese online consumers.

 

Rakuten bridges gap to Japanese online consumer

Profitable
Rakuten Ichiba (loosely translaed into “Optimist”, what’s in a name?) has been around for twenty years, three years Amazon’s junior, but still two years older than Alibaba. It would do it justice to just label it as an internet retailer: it allows current retailers to attract Japanese online consumers and foreign online shoppers can order Japanese products through Rakuten. However, the company has more than this gateway: it is active in plenty of industries, including banking, trael, messaging, e-books and more.

Over the course of the past twenty years, the owner and founder Hiroshi Mikitani turned Rakuten, with the help of some 14,000 employees, into a company with a 7.2 billion dollar annual turnover and a 350 million dollar profit. An online retailer with profit seems like an anomaly. Nevertheless, a sizeable portion of its profit comes from abroad: ever since it decided to spread its wings in 2005, it acquired several local platforms, including Buy.com (United States), Tradoria (Germany) and PriceMinister (France).

Bridge to consumers
It is no surprise that Rakuten Ichiba has an excellent position in its home territory, with 90 million registered members and a 27 % market share of overall Japanese online turnover. The key to its success cannot be brought back to one reason, but its main advantage is that it managed to culturally bridge toe gap to the Japanese consumer. In other words: Rakuten knows how this particular type of consumer “acts”.

Wearepentagon’s consultants wrote a clarifying article, stating that these consumers have very high expectations and should not be approached too “aggressively”. These consumers have high demands when it comes to service, like how they receive communication about the delivery times. These are still quite an issue, seeing how nearly one in four deliveries gets returned because the consumer is not there to receive the package. The country’s populace works legendary long hours and perhaps Rakuten could benefit from a “deliver at work” option?

High penetration
The Japanese online retail world currently ranks fourth worldwide and will generate about 122 billion dollars (source: Statista) in 2018. The forecast is that it will be able to continue the growth it achieved in the past few years. The Japanese consumer already spends considerable amounts online, about 1,000 dollars per year. The country also has a very high internet penetration: 91 % is online and prefers to shop on computer. Tablets (and definitely smartphones) are considerably less popular.

Further growth will mainly come from new consumers, but that will require a solution to the aforementioned delivery issue. The careful Japanese shopper also appreciates his orders to be protected, something the major internet platforms (including Rakuten) have also taken into consideration.

Insatiable appetite
Rakuten feels it can also grow thanks to synergies between markets in which it is already active. It is clear it wants to attract all types of services like a spider in a digital web. In order to get to that position, the company will invest in four different areas that impact every single one of the holding’s activities: AI / deep learning, user interaction (which includes virtual reality), large-scale distribution and the internet of things / drone technology.

It will take too much time to delve into each and every single of these areas. The internet of things / drone technology is a combination of the three other areas, according to Rakuten. The company previously experimented with Sora (a pilot on a golf course), a delivery drone that will help lower delivery costs in the future. This is a major issue for every eCommerce company like Rakuten (just look at the company’s delivery statistics, which have plenty of room for improvement).

It will take some time before delivery drones will be used at a large scale, but there will be a larger impact from Rakuten’s international delivery service, launched in May 2017. This should help simplify shipments from and to Japan and exclude third party companies. Rakuten, the Japanese spider with an insatiable appetite.

Source : retaildetail.eu

(Auteur : 
Online fashion giant Asos is boosting its payment options with a new service which lets customers try any of its 85,000 products at home and pay only for what they want to keep.

Asos launches Try Before You Buy service in the UK

The service has been launched in partnership with leading payments provider Klarna and is expected to boost customers’ spending on the site. Asos’ new Try Before You Buy service has been already implementing Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland and Norway, delivering ‘successful’ results.

Nicola Thompson, Global Trading Director at Asos said: “We are constantly looking for new ways to improve the Asos experience for our 15.4 million customers around the world. We know people love the option of paying later only for the things they keep, and are excited to introduce this for customers shopping on our app in the UK.”

To select the option, customers must be 18 years of age and have a mobile number, email and UK residential address. A 30-day period will be given before customers are asked to complete the payment online.

The launch of Try Before You Buy comes just weeks after the online company unveiled Style Match – visual search functionality ; Asos Instant – same day delivery for London customers; and Asos make up – part of the newly relaunched Face + Body category.

Source : us.fashionnetwork.com

(Author : Retail in Asia)
Hyundai Motor Group, Korea’s largest automaker, opened its sixth brand experience space in Beijing to reach more Chinese consumers.

Hyundai opens Beijing brand experience space

Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing is located in the city’s 798 Art District, known for its galleries and cafes. The center will be a cultural space and not feature any cars. The Motorstudio is the second overseas location of its kind after one in Moscow. Chung Eui-sun, the company’s vice chairman, attended the opening ceremony in Beijing on Nov 1, indicating just how vital the Chinese market is to the automaker. Hyundai Motor has been struggling in the country and hopes the center will boost its fortunes in the world’s largest auto market.

Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing represents the direction of Hyundai Motor’s future path, which centers on sustainability and creative energy that can solve social problems,” Chung said. “It feels more meaningful that such venue could be established in this experimental and innovative neighborhood of 798 Art District.”

Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing includes a book lounge and cafe on the first floor and gallery on the second floor. A vivarium occupies one side of the building’s exterior, and other art installations are scattered across the studio space.

Along with the space, the automaker is running a program called Hyundai Blue Prize to support emerging artists and select a few to display their work in the Motorstudio.

The opening comes amid a thaw in relations between Seoul and Beijing. The Korean and Chinese governments agreed to a rapprochement after months of diplomatic cold shoulders over a U.S. missile defense system in Korea that China believes threatens its security. Chung said at the ceremony that he expects a “positive effect” from the promise of better relations between the two countries.

Source : retailinasia.com

(Author :  Inside Retail Hong Kong)
British retailer, Debenhams is to trial in-store fitness centres with gym specialist Sweat! as its partner, in three of its locations.

Debenhams to launch in-store fitness centres

The department store operator says the partnership, to launch early next year, will give customers more reasons to visit Debenhams stores more often and will attract a younger female base.

Founded by entrepreneur, Frank Reed, Sweat! offers an aspirational gym environment at a slight price premium to budget gyms. Facilities in the brightly branded gym space include dedicated studios for spinning and aerobics, innovative fitness programmes such as The Matrix along with a full range of free weights and Technogym equipment. The fitness foray is part of the Debenhams Redesigned strategy to make stores a destination for social shopping.

“In Spring we detailed the Debenhams Redesigned strategy stating that we would look to work with strategic partners to deliver our plan,” explained Sergio Bucher, Debenhams CEO.

“We believe that by teaming with Sweat! we will optimise the space that is available in some of our stores whilst offering an attractive and credible leisure experience to customers. The partnership is a step closer to establishing Debenhams as a Destination for leisure experiences and gives customers more reasons to visit us more often.”

Source : insideretail.hk

(Author : Emma Hutchings)
The auto brand has found a creative way to promote its line of SUVs.

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Car manufacturer Honda decided to address the shortage of dealerships in France by taking a slightly different approach to selling vehicles, relying on the experience and passion of its fans to present and test their 2017 range of SUVs. For the ‘Honda Next Door’ campaign by Sid Lee Paris, loyal Honda owners had their garages transformed into pop-up dealerships.

Honda chose to give its fans this unique opportunity because it believes they are the company’s best ambassadors. Those who wanted to check out the CR-V and HR-V could sign up online for a test drive and go to one of the eight pop-up dealerships in France.

Source : psfk.com