Activation Commerciale

(Author : Malls.cpm)
The new concept aims to improve customer engagement and productivity on a smaller footprint.

Abercrombie & Fitch Opens New Store Concept

As the retail landscape continues to evolve, those that remain in the game must be willing to try new things to stay relevant. Abercrombie & Fitch has demonstrated that it’s willing to do just that, as the company debuted a new A&F prototype store in Columbus, Ohio earlier this year. The new concept aims to improve customer engagement and productivity on a smaller footprint. We can safely assume it’s hitting the mark, as the company has announced that it’s going back to the well and opening up another one.

As Retail Dive shares, this one is located at Tysons Corner Center, a sprawling development outside of the nation’s capital that features more than 300 specialty stores and restaurants spread out over more than two million square feet, and attracts more than 25 million visitors annually.

“The A&F brand experience has been updated to provide the customer with a new vision of the retailer and is one of seven new concept stores that will be opening by the end of 2017.  The evolved experience is designed to be an inviting space that facilitates brand engagement and encourages product trial,” A&F announced in a release. “The Abercrombie & Fitch store in Tysons Corner will be in a new location at the mall, and with a significantly smaller store footprint.” This isn’t just a familiar Abercrombie & Fitch location on a smaller scale, but rather a concept that shows that the team behind the scenes spent a lot of time focusing on the store of the future.

“The modernized space was imagined with the best customer experience in mind, encouraging the discovery of A&F’s new collections and brand positioning. Looking to provide a unique and personal shopping experience, the layout includes accommodating features such as innovative fitting rooms, and omni-channel capabilities,” the release adds. “Each fitting room has thoughtful amenities designed to enhance the customer’s mood, including separate controls for light and music, as well as a phone charging dock.  Select fitting rooms comprise of two individual capsules within a larger, private suite, allowing for sharing new looks with a friend or family member, while also enjoying privacy.” Beyond the fitting rooms, making things more convenient for consumers is clearly a huge priority for A&F. 

“With a focus on customer engagement and service, associates will be on hand to help customers place and pick up online orders in store,” the release continues. “Furthermore, cash wraps will be placed throughout the space, enabling a quicker and more accessible checkout experience.”

Abercrombie & Fitch Opens New Store Concept1

In addition to the new store concept, the company has announced it will be updating select existing stores with a new, refreshed in-store design. Sounds like there’s a lot to get excited about at A&F, and other retailers should perk up and take notice.

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(Auteur : Elsa Consea)
Pour freiner la baisse du trafic, certains grands magasins américains remplacent les linéaires par des « expériences ».

Des cours de yoga pour faire revenir les clients dans les magasins

C’est le président des grands magasins américains Saks, Marc Metrick, qui le dit. « Vendre des produits, ce n’est pas la réponse. Il faut construire une expérience affective avec les clients. » Pour faire revenir les clients qui tendent à délaisser les grands magasins à New York comme ailleurs, le navire amiral de la prestigieuse chaîne au coeur de Manhattan a choisi de consacrer un étage entier à des « expériences » plutôt qu’à de simples produits.

Là où étaient exposés il y a encore quelques mois costumes et robes de luxe, les clients trouvent des services dédiés au bien-être : cabine diffusant des vapeurs de sel, bar à jus bio, cours de sport façon « bootcamp », séances de méditation… « C’est ça le “nouveau luxe”. Avant, c’était le cuir et la fourrure ; maintenant, c’est le bien-être , explique Marc Metrick, qui ne renonce pas pour autant à vendre des collections de marque . Vous connaissez un autre endroit où il est possible à la fois de prendre un cours de sport et d’acheter un sac Chanel ? »

Encore embryonnaire, l’expérience illustre à merveille les efforts déployés par toutes les grandes chaînes de distribution aux Etats-Unis pour tenter de freiner la baisse du trafic, une malédiction qui n’épargne pas plus les grands magasins prestigieux que les supermarchés. Nordstrom, le rival de Saks, propose depuis peu des massages, des séances d’acupuncture et autres soins dans ses emplacements, tandis que Macy’s a noué un partenariat avec une chaîne d’instituts de beauté. Et, côté grande distribution, des expériences similaires sont conduites : les épiceries Fry’s Food ont testé une offre de cours de cuisine, Whole Foods a ouvert un spa à Boston qui propose des massages des pieds, tandis que la chaîne ShopRite a carrément mis en place un studio qui propose des cours de yoga et de zumba.

Rentabiliser l’espace des grands magasins
A la baisse du trafic liée aux changements des modes de consommation des Américains et à la concurrence du commerce en ligne s’ajoute en outre une autre difficulté : l’excès d’espace disponible dans les grands magasins et la distribution en général. Selon une récente étude de Cowen, la surface des espaces commerciaux par habitant demeure six fois plus élevée aux Etats-Unis qu’en France, malgré les incessantes restructurations. Comme les centres commerciaux, les grands magasins sont sous pression pour rentabiliser l’espace, en particulier dans les grandes villes. Le fonds Land & Buildings Investment, qui a pris une participation au capital de la maison mère de Saks, Hudson’s Bay, milite ainsi pour une vente de la chaîne de grands magasins ou, à défaut, pour que les bâtiments soient transformés en appartements de luxe.

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(Author : Deena M. Amato-McCoy)
A discount giant is helping more shoppers skip the checkout line. Walmart is expanding the deployment of its Scan & Go mobile app, which is being tested in approximately 12 stores across Northwest Arkansas, Florida, Texas and Georgia. 

Walmart deploying tech that lets in-store shoppers check out — on their own

The chain is now rolling out the app for use in at least 10 additional locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Nashville markets. The stores will offer the solution by the end of the month, said Walmart spokesman Justin Rushing in an interview with Chain Store Age.

“A lot goes into the market selection, including both the commerce and customer density that make up each area,” he told Chain Store Age. “These are diverse markets to test new ideas. Our initial findings will determine how we will expand the program further.”

The free app allows members to scan merchandise bar codes as they move throughout store aisles and add merchandise to their shopping carts. The app also keeps a running total and itemized list of merchandise and prices, and lets shoppers checkout directly through their smartphone. In addition to internal metrics, Walmart will also rely on customer feedback to learn from the test.

“This is not the complete solution, it is only a part of multichannel process in the front end that will ultimately help customers shop the way they want to,” Rushing said.

“By listening to customers, we will be able to find what they want in terms of speed and convenience, and in the end provide a faster shopping experience,” he added. “By testing different things, we can determine the future of Scan & Go. Knowing this is our entry into Scan & Go, we want to make sure we get it just right before moving on across the chain.”

Walmart has also redesigned the participating stores’ front ends to be an “express bullpen area” where shoppers can show their order barcode to an associate before leaving. Once scanned, they are approved to pay for goods through the app.

“They also use this area to bag groceries, and complete confirmations of fresh groceries,” Rushing said.

For example, throughout their shopping trip, customers can weigh their fresh merchandise on scales located across the store. They type in the variety of produce into the app, along with its weight. The app serves up a price that is confirmed at the checkout bullpen.

While Rushing didn’t share further expansion plans, he did say the company is committed to the technology. “We do not yet have any plans to expand beyond where we are going this month,” he said. “For now, we are focused on getting the new technology more saturated in these two markets, and then will drive the experience so our customers can tell us what working best.”

Scan & Go is an example of how Walmart is testing new solutions to streamline its customer experiences. The program comes on the heels of Sam’s Club’s chainwide rollout of the technology last fall. Upon launch-ing the technology, 10% of total sales were filtering through the Scan & Go program, and there was a 10% spending increase among app shoppers compared to those who don’t use it.

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(Auteur : Marianne Wilson)
Timberland has opened a new concept store that will be completely transformed with a new theme and products every six weeks.

Timberland unveils new experiential store format

Called Timberland Tree Lab and located at King of Prussia mall, King of Prussia, Pa., the new store emphasizes storytelling and features curated product collections in a gallery-style setting. Sleek, angular design elements combine with minimalist product displays for a fresh and modern brand presentation. Fun displays, including an oversized, Timberland-style periodic table, casually reinforce the science of comfort behind the new technologies that go into the product on display.

While in the Tree Lab, shoppers can also sample a local craft beer (from Tröegs Independent Brewing) or enjoy a bottle of water that may one day be recycled into Timberland linings or shoelaces. The store associates, sporting custom Tree Lab hoodies, are on hand to connect visitors with everything from the latest style trends to local city events.  Tree Lab’s opening theme is called Streetology, and is described as “where style for city streets meets hidden technology that’s been tested and proven for long days (and nights) in the city.”  It showcases Timberland’s new men’s FlyRoam collection.

In late September, Tree Lab will be ramped with an installation called SHEvolution. The entire store will be dedicated to women, with a curated selection of boots and shoes. A holiday-themed installation will open in early November.

The Tree Lab is more than just a place to shop — everything a consumer experiences from the moment they enter has been designed to enhance their visit, expand their horizons, and leave them with a great memory to go along with that beautiful new pair of shoes,” said Kate Kibler, VP of Timberland’s direct to consumer business in North America.

Tree Lab is one of several initiatives Timberland plans to introduce this fall. The brand also plans to open a series of “flex retail” stores across the country, starting with a Mall of America location debuting on Sept. 1. In addition, Timberland plans to open a specialty store in mid-August at the Stanford Shopping Center, Stanford, California, and one in the heart of Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 1.

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(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.

(Auteur : Patrie Bernard)
Aujourd’hui, toutes les institutions financières parlent d’assistants intelligents, capables de satisfaire instantanément les attentes de leurs clients. Hélas, rares sont celles qui ont transformé les discours en acte. Wells Fargo est l’une d’elles et même si les capacités de son « chatbot » sont encore limitées, il lui offre un espace d’apprentissage essentiel.

Wells Fargo teste un assistant intelligent

En avril dernier, la banque américaine a en effet lancé une expérimentation auprès de 5 000 clients et collaborateurs, leur proposant d’interagir avec leurs finances personnelles par l’intermédiaire d’un agent virtuel installé dans Facebook Messenger. Reposant entièrement sur une interface conversationnelle (par échange de messages textuels), celui-ci est en mesure de répondre à des questions diverses sur leurs comptes courants et de carte, ainsi que la localisation des agences et des distributeurs.

Derrière la simplicité apparente – qui n’interdit pas quelques raffinements, tels que, par exemple, une recherche des agences accessibles aux handicapés ou une analyse du total des dépenses de restaurant sur un mois –, le qualificatif d’« intelligent » est tout de même justifié par la faculté du système à apprendre les habitudes de son utilisateur (telles que ses tics de langage) et à prendre en compte le contexte des échanges. Et l’assistant connaît ses limites et passe la main à un humain, si nécessaire.

Naturellement, Wells Fargo a d’autres ambitions pour son « chatbot », qu’elle perçoit même comme une possible révolution de l’expérience client, en permettant au consommateur d’accéder plus facilement et plus rapidement aux services bancaires. En perspective, il deviendrait le moyen idéal de délivrer les informations « dans l’instant », contribuant à une prise de décision éclairée, en toutes circonstances.

Mais, avant d’en arriver là, il reste à valider un certain nombre d’hypothèses. La première d’entre elles est, évidemment, de confirmer la faisabilité « technique » du projet et, surtout, la fiabilité de l’automate. Outre l’importance de la qualité de la reconnaissance du langage naturel (gage essentiel d’un dialogue sans frustration), il ne peut être question de déployer à grande échelle un outil qui fournirait des informations erronées ! Il est vrai que cette phase de qualification peut être réalisée en interne, sans sortir de la banque.

En revanche, ce qui requiert impérativement de mettre la solution entre les mains de vrais clients est la vérification d’un deuxième postulat : l’appétence des consommateurs pour un assistant intelligent. Après tout, ce n’est pas parce que Facebook à 2 milliards d’utilisateurs et qu’une majorité de jeunes est adepte de Messenger que le succès est assuré. Rien ne vaut donc un test en conditions réelles pour évaluer s’ils s’approprient un « chatbot » bancaire dans leur messagerie favorite et comment ils l’utilisent.

Pour les entreprises qui se targuent de concepts de « design thinking », de « lean startup », de méthodes agiles…, une telle approche devrait être un automatisme. Comment se fait-il alors que la plupart des projets du même genre restent confinés en laboratoire ? À trop laisser fermenter les idées dans un espace clos, le besoin du client risque d’être perdu de vue… surtout s’il n’est pas même avéré en premier lieu.

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(Auteur : Marie-Claude Delannoy)
Pour sa deuxième implantation à  Washington, DC, Aesop s’est installé  dans le quartier historique de Georgetown – une ville portuaire qui a prospéré en raison d’un commerce dynamique et du commerce du tabac grâce à un emplacement privilégié sur la rivière Potomac.

AESOP GEORGETOWN, un concept authentique

Créé en collaboration avec Tacklebox sous la direction de Jeremy Barbour, le design s’inspire du patrimoine local, associant un langage visuel distinctif avec des matériaux authentiques, pour ancrer le magasin dans l’histoire du quartier. En référence aux greniers de tabac communs à la région, l’espace de 85 m2 carrés se distingue par l’utilisation de tasseaux de pin méridionaux de 100 ans – un matériau simple traditionnellement utilisé pour accrocher et sécher les feuilles de tabac. Coupés et assemblés, 30 000 bois servent à revêtir le mur de fond et l’angle de la boutique, dans un arrondi dynamique.

AESOP GEORGETOWN, un concept authentique1

Ce revêtement est ponctué d’un alignement de vitrines en acier noir , dans lesquelles s’affichent les produits. Un grand lavabo, encastré dans un meuble en pin recyclé, rappelle l’histoire d’une région peuplée de nombreux plans d’eau et d’une source naturelle toute proche, qui a influencé l’industrie locale.

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(Auteur : Yoni Van Looveren)
L’intérieur du flagshipstore de Calvin Klein à New York a été rénové.  Ce qui frappe en premier lieu, c’est la couleur jaune fluorescente qui est omniprésente.

Un nouveau design fluorescent pour le flagshipstore Calvin Klein

Un revirement pour la marque
Calvin Klein est situé dans la Madison Avenue à Manhattan depuis 1995, mais ce weekend, le magasin a déballé un tout nouveau design élaboré par le directeur artistique Raf Simons en collaboration avec l’artiste Sterling Ruby.  Ce qui frappe dans ce nouveau design, ce sont tous les murs et tous les plafonds qui ont été peints en un jaune très particulier, ce qui rend le magasin presque fluorescent.  Même les échafaudages qui font office d’étagères pour vêtements sont entièrement jaunes.  D’autre part, certains éléments présents dans l’intérieur sont des pièces créées par Sterling Ruby.

L’aménagement intérieur est un réel revirement par rapport à l’aménagement précédent qui était plutôt clinique, et c’est exactement l’objectif recherché : le flagshipstore doit montrer que Calvin Klein entre dans une nouvelle ère.  « Je prends le flagshipstore Calvin Klein du minimum au maximum : mon design doit être considéré comme étant une référence pour célébrer le futur de la marque.  Je voulais que le magasin rayonne de l’intérieur, pour démontrer une nouvelle facette de Calvin Klein », affirme Sterling Ruby.

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(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 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.

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(Author : Dan O’Shea)
Amazon has launched another new product discovery feature, this one called Amazon Spark, a content feature on its Amazon mobile app that takes cues from social media by allowing users to shop items they see in photos and read about in posts generated by others, according to TechCrunch.

Amazon launches Spark, a shoppable social content feed

Amazon has just started rolling out Spark to U.S. users of its mobile app after testing it in beta form for the last few months. The feature is not available for use outside of the retailer’s mobile app, TechCrunch reports. First-time users of the feature are asked to register with their names and provide a list of at least five interests to follow. Amazon Spark then develops an image-intensive, customized feed of related products, photos and ideas.

It sure looks like Amazon is taking a page here from Pinterest’s social shopping inclinations, as well as Instagram’s shoppable photos. And in every “smile” on an Amazon Spark post, we’ll be reminded of a Facebook “like.”

However, it also has become clear in recent years that there is an authenticity vibe to user-generated content that more shoppers these days seem to be trusting. Amazon’s Interesting Finds feature, announced last year, started to take its product discovery solutions in new directions — and also put Amazon on a course toward increasing Pinterest comparisons.

That’s part of the reason why this launch doesn’t come as a total surprise. Even as Amazon has set the tone and pace for product discovery innovations, it still doesn’t have a site or format that reflects the idea of a social network or a social media-style content feed. Product discovery and product curation take many forms, and Spark is a natural extension of Amazon’s general efforts to simply help customers find products they want to buy.

It will be interesting to see how far Amazon wants to go in committing to the social network concept. The TechCrunch story suggests the e-commerce giant will allow users posting content on Spark to link to product reviews they previously have written for Amazon. Could Amazon further encroach on the turf of Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook as those sites have been edging into its own territory? One of the things we have learned from Amazon is that it’s relentless about about fighting and winning retail battles regardless of the venue. Amazon is making a massive push to beat traditional retailers at their own game, so why not social networks, too?

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