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(Author : Retail in Asia)
Korea’s first shopping robot that can understand questions and give advice in four languages will start operating on Aug 7 at the Hyundai City Outlet in Dongdaemun, central Seoul.

Hyundai City Outlet’s robot speaks 4 tongues

The robot is equipped with an artificial intelligence system that is able to translate foreign languages. Other stores have information-providing robots, but this is the first robot with translation software. Once a customer selects a language, the robot will understand questions in the language and answer them. The service will be available in Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese at the start and will expand the range to French, German, Russian and Arabic in the future. The robot uses GenieTalk software, which is capable of recognizing voices and translating sentences. Based on neural machine translation, GenieTalk produces accurate translations by considering the sentence’s context and word order. Its machine learning ability increases the service’s quality over time. “Combined with artificial intelligence technology, the usage of robots is evolving from automated and repetitive tasks to being applied to commercial spaces and homes,” said Hancom, the developer of GenieTalk.

The company was originally famous for Hangul, a widely used word processing program for the Korean language. Hyundai City Outlet was selected as the testing ground for the robot due to its high proportion of foreign shoppers, who account for 15 percent of the store’s sales, according to Hyundai.

“We’re hoping the robot will enhance the experience for foreign customers,” said a spokesman for Hyundai Department Store. “After Dongdaemun, the robot will be placed in other stores frequented by tourists such as Hyundai Department Store’s branches in Apgujeong and the Trade Center, southern Seoul.”

The company added that the robot will be assisting human guides to help foreigners at the duty free store Hyundai is preparing to open by the Trade Center. Hyundai’s shopping robot can also play music and take pictures.

“We’re looking for new ways to employ information technology in enhancing the experience for shoppers that visit our branches,” said the company.

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(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.

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(Author : Retail in Asia)
Unveiled in May 2017, the Myeong-dong flagship store is presented as an interactive beauty destination, the “House of Color Play”, where customers can be creative with cosmetics.

Personalisation and experimentation are at the heart of Etude House

Bringing a sophisticated, confident attitude while staying true to the brand’s playful spirit, it expresses Etude House’s refreshed “Sweet Dream” philosophy. 

The Myeong-dong flagship store offers a brand experience over three floors. Complementing the refreshed façade are the sleek, on-trend and contemporary interiors that instantly wows customers entering the store and offers a glimpse of the mezzanine level.

On the ground floor, customers are encouraged to explore all Etude House products, share looks and socialise around an oval mid-floor table that’s haloed by a modern lighting feature and illuminated wall mirrors. Key Etude House décor details such the parquet floor and Georgian panels have been mixed with more contemporary fixtures and materials.

The mezzanine level introduces a Personal Studio offering, My Colour Finder and My Color Draping services for finding each customers’ most suitable shades. New ‘Find your Look’ demos empower and educate customers, adding a unique Etude House twist by including skincare to the how-to guides.

D&P introduced nine signature looks for this section, with beauty experts on hand to demonstrate and advise. Digital is also a strong part of the Etude House experience, with expanded product stories and immersive tutorials. For example, girls can find out their exact skin tone using a specialist face colour scanner.

Even more personalisation and play is delivered on the second floor with the Color Factory concept. Customers can blend bespoke lipsticks at the ‘My Lips Bar’ using cutting-edge beauty technology. They can then select a favourite lipstick case and have their name engraved on the packaging.

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(Author : Retail in Asia)
The Shilla Duty Free and AmorePacific have introduced a pop-up ‘Beauty Truck’ store to promote the Korean skincare house’s MakeOn brand. The pop-up, which launched on 22 June and will stay open till 19 July, is located outside the travel retailer’s flagship store in downtown Seoul.

The Shilla Duty Free and AmorePacific launch pop-up ‘Beauty Truck’

The five-tonne Beauty Truck, painted vivid pink, is intended to capture visitor interest as soon as they arrive at the main store. MakeOn is described as a “self-aesthetic device that allows facial cleansing, make-up and massage” at any time and any place.  MakeOn beauty devices offer skincare treatments through energy – combining light, heat, ion and motion. MakeOn’s four top items can be experienced at the pop-up store: Cleansing Enhancer, Skin Light Therapy, Makeup Enhancer and Magnetite Roller. Pop-up store staff provide product support and product explanations in Korean, English and Chinese. All items are available for sale inside the main store.

Pop-up store visitors receive discount coupons and free gifts from MakeOn and AmorePacific, including a -10% discount coupon for MakeOn products a and pink fan featuring the brand’s logo. Free samples of highly popular AmorePacific cosmetics brand Laneige are given to visitors taking and sharing pictures in the MakeOn photo zone. Additional Laneige samples are given to visitors boarding the truck and experiencing MakeOn treatment. Shoppers who visit the MakeOn shop in The Shilla Duty Free Seoul store receive a MakeOn gold pouch. An additional beach bag is given to those who purchase at the shop.

The Shilla Duty Free is airing live social media broadcasts at the pop-up store for Chinese, Southeast Asian and South Korean followers in Chinese, English and Korean. KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) for each language are visiting the pop-up, and describing their experiences in an effort to generate on-line buzz and word of mouth via social media.

While The Shilla Duty Free has long focused on social media events for Chinese followers, this is the first time that the retailer has aired live broadcasts in other languages. Shilla says it plans to increase social media events and live feeds for Southeast Asian and South Korean consumers following the Beauty Truck initiative.

The company commented: “This brand new concept pop-up store is The Shilla Duty Free’s latest endeavour to provide an unique and differentiated customer experience especially focused on the beauty category. The Shilla Duty Free, the first operator to run the cosmetics & perfume category in all three major hub airports in East Asia [Incheon, Changi and, soon, Hong Kong International -Ed], is eager to offer an unparalleled beauty experience to customers.”

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(Author : Retail in Asia)
In conjunction with Lotte Card and Lotte Data Communication, 7-Eleven has launched its first smart convenience store equipped with a BioPay system at Lotte World Tower.

7-Eleven tests hand-scanning Biopay in Korea

BioPay is a payment method that allows consumers to make transactions by identifying themselves with a part of their body linked to a preassigned credit card. It is the first such store to be opened by 7-Eleven in the world, the company said. The HandPay system, in which individuals are recognized by their veins, was chosen over other types of BioPay — such as iris or fingerprint recognition — to maximize convenience, added the company.

Customers place their purchases on a conveyor belt at an unmanned counter, where the items are then scanned 360 degrees to locate their barcodes. The prices are then tallied and appear on a screen. The system will be further improved through an artificial intelligence system that can identify products without barcodes.

The store also has other high-tech features, including a refrigerator that automatically opens and shuts, electronic price tags, a smart CCTV system, and a Smart Safe Cigarette Vending Machine.

Jung Seung-in, president of Korea Seven, said, “7-Eleven Signature, as a premium smart convenience store with a cutting-edge IT system suitable for the fourth industrial revolution, will be remembered as an innovative icon in Korea’s distribution industry.”

Korea Seven is a joint venture by Lotte and 7-Eleven. The 7-Eleven Signature store will be open exclusively to employees of Lotte for the next one or two months as a pilot program before it opens to the public. The company also said that it would make efforts to extend the HandPay system to payment methods other than Lotte Card by the end of August.

While the company refused to reveal specific mid- and long-term plans, the technology used in the 7-Eleven Signature store is likely to be expanded to other subsidiaries of Lotte in the future.

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(Author : retail in asia)
The renovated branch of Lotte Premium Outlets in this suburban city about 30 miles south of Seoul looks more like an amusement park than a shopping mall for bargain hunting.

Lotte refashions outlet to target families and kids

At its Incheon outlet location, Lotte has opened a three-story complex catering to families with children. There are cafes with ball pits and slides, job experience zones where kids can pretend to be doctors and firefighters, and a large Toys ”R” Us store that anchors it all. The Incheon branch is not just for shopping but also for outdoor activities for families.

Since opening the location in 2013, Lotte found that 75 percent of visitors were in their 30s and 40s. That’s 6 percentage points higher than the share of people who visit other outlet branches outside Seoul. The company figured that more shops and facilities for family visitors, especially kids, be better for customers.

Another factor was the growing popularity of children’s products in Korea. Between 2012 and 2016, the industry’s revenue expanded from 27 trillion won (US$24 billion) to 39 trillion won. A good portion of the outlet’s new building is dedicated to play. On the third floor, a job experience zone lets kids experience diverse occupations, from veterinarian to firefighter and even urban planner. There is a fee – 22,000 won for kids between 5 and 13 and an extra 4,000 won for an accompanying adult – but there is no limit on time.

In another play space, called Doctor Balance, children can test their physical strength, including muscle endurance and responsiveness, on playground sets that resemble gym equipment. Next to the job experience zone is a Toys “R” Us. Lotte is the Korean operator of the U.S.-based toy store, but so far, it’s only installed stores in its supermarket chain Lotte Mart.

The location in the Incheon outlet is the first time Lotte is running a Toys “R” Us outside the mart. An outlet spokesman said the toy store will have about 6,000 products. The building’s second floor has more shopping areas, but even they’re dedicated to kids. Outdoor brands Nepa and Blackyak, for instance, are selling swimsuits and backpacks for children. Out of 47 brands in the new space, 32 are specifically kids’ brands.

There’s something for the parents, too. Various fast fashion brands, including Uniqlo and Topten, have set up shop, and automaker BMW has opened one of its Motorrad cafes where car aficionados can enjoy coffee while browsing BMW-themed apparel.

Lotte Premium Outlets’ Incheon location holds the title of biggest outlet in Asia with a floor space of 53,000 square meters (570,000 square feet). An average 15,000 people visit daily, and it has generated 1.2 trillion won in revenue since opening. The company expects the new Fashion & Kids Mall building to boost the number of visitors by 20 percent.

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(Author : retail in asia)
L’Oréal Luxe brand Lancôme has opened a new store at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea.

ancôme opens “Parisian apartment” store at Lotte Hotel in Seoul

The store, said to reflect the brand’s new visual identity, is designed to be like a “Parisian apartment with a view”. According to Lancôme, the space is “infused with an artistic and casual yet chic French touch” and is described as “an inspirational place full of discovery”.

The shop features a sharing table in the centre which encourages customers to play with textures and colours, guided by recommendations from beauty advisors. Customers can also discover the art of make-up or test tailor-made skincare routines.

Customers can explore the world of Lancôme and discover or re-discover the various product families including best-sellers such as La Vie est Belle, Advanced Génifique, or l’Absolu Rouge. The latest launches and travel exclusives are also available.

Lancôme commented: “The Lotte Hotel Lancôme store perfectly reflects the brand’s new design and concept. Already available in local markets, this concept has been efficiently adapted to the travel retail channel to provide a smooth shopping experience given travellers’ time constraints.”

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(Auteur :  Jeanne Dussueil)
Le concentration des FinTech se poursuit en Asie, au profit du chinois Alibaba. Le géant a annoncé un investissement de 200 millions de dollars, au travers de sa filiale Ant Financial dans le nouveau projet FinTech du Coréen Kakao.

Alibaba (Ant Financial) avance ses pions en Corée du Sud avec Kakao Pay

D’un service de messagerie, KakaoTalk amorçait dès 2015 un tournant vers la banque en ligne avec eBay et Tencent. Ant Financial, qui gère AliPay, va investir dans un autre service, baptisé Kakao Pay, lui offrant ainsi un accès direct aux 100 millions d’utilisateurs de l’application de messagerie. De son côté, Alibaba va potentiellement toucher les consommateurs coréens via l’application.

Au-delà de son application phare, KakaoTalk, le Coréen propose de nombreux autres services comme KakaoTaxi (réservation de véhicules), KakaoTV (vidéo) ou encore Kakao Style (e-commerce).

En 2015, la structure procédait déjà à des rachats afin de se développer hors de ses frontières. Elle mettait ainsi la main sur la start-up indienne de paiement mobile Paytm. Pour assurer cette croissance externe, Ant Financial est sur le point de boucler une nouvelle levée de fonds de 3 milliards de dollars sous forme de dettes, apès avoir levé 4,5 milliards de dollars en 2016.

Fondé en 2014, Ant Financial regroupe plusieurs activités dans le secteur des FinTech. D’autres produits sont également édités par Ant Financial, comme un outil de credit scoring (une note indiquant à un particulier sa capacité d’emprunt selon sa situation financière actuelle) ou encore une marketplace de fonds.

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(Author : Cate Trotte)
With an in-store manufacturing lab, Korean eyewear company YUN is changing the way people buy glasses. Cate Trotter, head of trends at Insider Trends, takes us on a tour of the Berlin shop.

YUN - the store with its own manufacturing lab

YUN is an innovative Korean eyewear company, but its first (and flagship) store is in the Mitte borough of Berlin. Launched in October 2015, this young brand is reinventing the way that people buy glasses. At the heart of this is the innovative in-store manufacturing lab, built around a lens finishing system which sits out on the main shop floor in full view of customers. The state-of-the-art high-tech machine means that glasses can be made to fit a customer’s exact prescription in as little as 20 minutes.

The store stocks more than 12,000 individual blank lenses to ensure it can meet the widest possible array of prescriptions. These are then shaped and finished by the automated machine, before final adjustments are made to the fit. By being able to watch their glasses being made in front of them customers feel more connected to and engaged with the YUN brand.

YUN - the store with its own manufacturing lab1

The technology also adds up to a better customer experience by making shopping for glasses something that can be done in a lunch break or while out shopping or on the spur of the moment. It enables YUN to serve as many customers as possible, while retaining control over the process and quality of its products. Being able to have high quality prescription glasses in their hand on the same day may be an important influencing factor on would-be customers.

YUN also operates a simple pricing model with frames and tailored prescription lenses costing either €99 or €149. This includes a free eye test, which is carried out in-store by the qualified opticians in dedicated examination rooms. All of the frames styles are designed in-house in Korea with the aim of being lightweight, allergy-free, comfortable, durable and flexible. To complete the experience customers get four weeks to try their new glasses and if they’re not happy can return them.

Since launching its physical store, YUN has also enabled customers to order glasses directly from its website if they hold a valid prescription. This has widened its potential customer base to anyone around the world, with the multilingual website acting as an important touch point for shoppers.

Customers can also book their free in-store eye test from the website, as well as being able to walk in off the street on a whim. Although it is a relatively simple digital application in integrating with the booking system in-store, it helps reduce friction for customers. It’s also in keeping with the entire identity of the store, which is built around the idea of minimalism, from the packaging to the way the glasses are simply displayed on tables.

Since launching its physical store, YUN has also enabled customers to order glasses directly from its website if they hold a valid prescription. This has widened its potential customer base to anyone around the world, with the multilingual website acting as an important touch point for shoppers.

YUN is a fantastic example of a retailer disrupting the normal way of doing things, much as we’ve seen with companies like Uber. Its innovative use of technology goes beyond the normal digital applications to create something unique – something many retailers can learn from.

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(Auteur : Sarah Ahssen)
Vingt ans après sa création, la griffe française de cosmétiques fondée autour de la vinothéraphie par Mathilde et Bertrand Thomas ouvre sa première boutique spa en Asie.


C’est à Séoul, dans le quartier d’Hannam-dong, Itaewon-ro, que Caudalie a investi il y a quelques mois une maison de trois étages entièrement rénovée pour y installer un spa, une boutique, mais également un bar à vin nommé French Paradox, rappelant l’ancrage bordelais de la marque.


Côté boutique, le lustre en laiton en forme de grappe de raisin domine la table centrale sur laquelle les visiteurs sont invités à tester et découvrir les produits. Une table rappelant par ailleurs les tonneaux de vin, modernisés cependant par du marbre blanc. Pour mettre en valeur les produits phare de Caudalie, une colonne située à côté du bar, présente l’Eau de Beauté, produit culte de la marque.

Caudalie est présente dans 19 000 points de vente, neuf spas vinothérapie et 24 boutiques spas en propre.

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