Forbes - Reinventing Retail: The Struggle Between The Store Of The Future And The Reality Of Now

Reinventing Retail: The Struggle Between The Store Of The Future And The Reality Of Now.png

This article was originally published by our CEO, Trevor Sumner, on Forbes.

Depending on who you talk to, the retail industry is either in a free fall or in the midst of a renaissance. The tale of two retails couldn’t be starker. On one hand, store closures are up four times already this year over last, more people are going online, and bankruptcies are piling up such as Payless, Rue21 and most recently, Toys ‘R Us. Department store sales are down 40% from 2000-2016. Sounds pessimistic.

On the other hand, 76 percent of retailers beat Q2 earnings, Tier A/B mall vacancies are at their lowest levels in 10 years, e-commerce only commands a 12% share and consumer confidence is rising. As further validation, digital natives like Amazon, Warby Parker and Bonobos are all investing in physical retail presences.

Both tales are true, and the result is a retail industry under rapid churning transformation with rising economic tides and increased competition from digital natives. The imperative for reimagining the future of retail has never been more pressing. As the CEO of a company that builds next-generation interactive retail displays, I witness the real struggles of brands and retailers that see the future but are hindered by the operations of today. Like a child learning to walk, retailers are remarkably clear on what they want to do, but stumble in the coordination of all the parts.

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Drug Store News: Coty and PERCH show off innovation at Manhattan's STORY



NEW YORK — Coty unveiled the 35th installation at constantly changing concept store STORY Thursday. The Beauty STORY installation explores beauty’s role as an outlet for self-expression by showcasing such Coty brands as CoverGirl, Sally Hansen, Rimmel and Clairol, and featuring experts that include Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird, customized facial shop Heyday and tech partner Perfect, maker of the YouCam Makeup app.

“We are excited to sponsor the first-ever beauty STORY and invite consumers to engage with all our brands in an interactive and dynamic environment,” Coty SVP North America, consumer beauty, Shannon Curtin told Drug Store News. “Innovation, technology and personalization are incredibly important in beauty today, and STORY’s unique installations provide opportunities for consumers to explore our products and consider beauty as a form of self-expression.”

The installation features various brand activations that encourage interaction and rewards it with complimentary products. Among the activations are the Coty + YouCam AR Makeup Mirror, which lets customers try out new looks in augmented reality, and the CoverGirl A1-Array 3D Photo Booth — an experience developed by Super A-OK. The Clairol brand activation will be brought to life through a Perch Interactive touch-capacitive retail display system, and Rimmel’s activation will feature a Vengo Labs digital vending machine, which will dispense a complimentary Rimmel product for guests who pose for a photo against the in-store backdrop. And Sally Hansen will feature a DIY nail studio for customers to try out new looks.

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PERCH featured as innovator in Goldman Sachs Store of the Future Report



21 AUG 2017 - For all the pain that e-commerce has inflicted on retailers, the brick-and-mortar store is far from dead, according to Goldman Sachs Research’s lead retail analyst Matt Fassler. Instead, he says, survivors of the latest round of retail disruption will succeed in part by narrowing their sights, focusing either on efficiently distributing goods or improving the in-store experience for customers. 

In the report is an analysis of PERCH: "PERCH ... leads with its aesthetic appeal, while providing its retail enterprise customers a full content curation, and analytics via the cloud."

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Denver Post Highlights PERCH as the Future of Retail "Smart Stores"

LAS VEGAS — Tomorrow’s retail stores want to take a page from their online rivals by embracing advanced technology — everything from helpful robots to interactive mirrors to shelves embedded with sensors.

The goal: Use these real-world store features to lure shoppers back from the internet, and maybe even nudge them to spend more in the process.

Amazon’s new experimental grocery store in Seattle, opening early this year, will let shoppers buy goods without needing to stop at a checkout line. Sensors track items as shoppers put them into baskets or return them to the shelf. The shopper’s Amazon account gets automatically charged.

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PERCH Wins Clio Award For Its Collaboration With Jo Malone


In this special collaboration with Jo Malone London, a first of its kind interactive fragrance display was created that attracts and engages consumers while bringing the identity of each scent to life and illustrating the key brand philosophy of Fragrance Combining.

When customers pick up one of the six featured fragrances, beautiful floral illustrations designed by British fine artist Michael Angove emanate from where the bottle was resting, highlighting the top note of each fragrance. Additionally, the animation suggests a combiner fragrance. The result is an educational, engaging, in-store experience that consumers love.

While the display is designed to be a self-serve retail display, it also acts as a visual aid for the in-store staff.

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Forbes: Rachel Shachtman, CEO of STORY calls out PERCH as best of breed in interactive retail display


Our team of experts conducts regular in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders to provide insights about the evolution of the marketing discipline. Rachel Shechtman is the founder and CEO of STORY. Rachel has created a highly successful retail concept that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like an art gallery, and sells things like a store. She treats her store as “the ultimate touch point” that delivers an all-consuming experience that is as much about the narrative and community as it is about the end product being sold. Every three to eight weeks, STORY completely reinvents itself -- from the design to scents to the merchandise – with the goal of bringing to light a new theme, trend or issue.

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Dallas News Features PERCH as the Future of High Tech Retail

NEW YORK— Imagine a fitting room with a “smart” mirror that suggests jeans to go with the red shirt you brought in. It snaps a video so you can compare the image side-by-side with other colorful shirts you try on. It might even show you how the shirt will fit without you having to undress.

A handful of primarily upscale retailers, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, are testing versions of this high-tech fitting room. And experts say the masses will be able to try these innovations at more stores in the next few years as the technology gets cheaper.

This trend is a way stores aim to catch up to online rivals like that are able to gather information on which items shoppers browse and use that to recommend other products. The new technology that enables physical stores to collect much of the same data as online retailers raises privacy questions, but executives say customers are offered a choice and the data is protected.


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Retail Dive Calls Out PERCH for Outstanding Retail Technology at NRF

With only 6.6% of retail sales conducted online in the third quarter of 2014, retailers know that it's critical to offer a seamless, stress-free experience for customers shopping in-store. But that doesn't mean it has to be boring. 

Retail Dive was at the National Retail Federation's Big Show for 2015 in New York, where retailers and vendors turned out in full force to learn about and show off the future of retail. We saw many intriguing technologies hoping to remedy problems retailers might face, but the best came with a little bit of style. 

Here are four technological innovations that could help retailers upend the old in-store model into something new and exciting. 

Interactive displays

Research shows that shoppers are significantly more likely to buy a product if they pick it up during the shopping experience. Once a product is selected and removed from an in-store display, Perch's interactive technology lights up and changes graphics, featuring on-demand product information.

Partnering with Kate Spade, Story, Baublebar, and more, the company claims that its products have increased both dwell times and sell-through rates for stores using them. The company also provides product interaction analytics for customers visiting the store.

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Entrepreneur - Meet the Hottest Startups Melding Fashion and Tech

I believe that with the rise of technology, every industry will continue to be disrupted in new and exciting ways. It was with this in mind that AlleyNYC partnered and hosted the inaugural session of the New York Fashion Tech Lab (NYFTL). The NYFTL is powered by The Partnership Fund for New York City and Springboard Enterprises.

The program allows the biggest players in the fashion industry to engage with young companies building a wide array of fashion technologies. They recently had their demo day. For those of you who do not know what a demo day is, it's a live event that gives presenters an allotted amount of time to pitch their idea or company in front of a live audience, mostly investors. Here is a look into some of those companies. I hope this inspires you to build something awesome.

Perch: Perch Interactive Inc. is intent on revolutionizing the retail industry. They plan on doing this by introducing a series of game-changing interactive, in-store digital displays where the product is the interface.

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PERCH on CBS This Morning

At fashion lab, tech startups are pointed toward success



Some of America's leading names in fashion aren't just thinking about what's in season, they also have an eye toward the future, CBS News correspondent Vinita Nair reports.

New York City is arguably the fashion capital of the world, and the brains behind a new mentorship program would like to see it become the fashion tech capital of the world, as well, fostering a new generation of retail-focused startups.

Jared Schiffman, the founder of Perch technology, was creating interactive installations for museums. Then he realized his technology could be used to sell products. His company adds interactive displays to retail items; when you pick up an item, you can click through an interface to see available colors, sizes and reviews.

"Everything you see on the table is actually created by this technology that lives above the table. We project down onto the table, and that's how we create the imagery..." Schiffman said. "If you're holding a product, actually you're a lot more likely to buy it."

Perch is one of eight companies hand-picked for the New York Fashion Tech Lab, a 12-week program in which tech startups are paired with retail giants such as Macy's, Kate Spade, J.Crew and Ralph Lauren. With half of all new businesses failing after five years, the non-profit lab is designed to help the startups beat the odds.

The Partnership Fund for New York City and Springboard Enterprises run the program.

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PERCH Featured in Forbes

What Does The Future Of Retail Look Like?
Four Young Companies Provide A Glimpse



There aren’t enough interactive screens in your life, so the people of PERCH are here to help. The company sells a projector that produces a customized digital display for shoppers to play with as they browse products in store. In addition to conventional touch-screen interactions, like swiping and scrolling, the technology senses when customers touch or pick up objects placed on the surface.

In the video below, for example, shoppers looking for nail polish get a delightful ping when they touch each bottle, along with information about the shade.

Founded by CEO Jared Schiffman, a veteran of MIT's Media Lab, in 2012, the company counts Kate Spade, Kiehl's, Cole Haan and Quirky as customers, leasing the tech for $500 per month. (They previously sold it for $7500.) PERCH can simultaneously update thousands of units across different stores at the same time and brands can group multiple units together for more complex presentations.

With $60K per month in sales, the New York-based company is currently raising a $1.2 million seed round.


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WWD: PERCH & Kate Spade Join Forces

Kate Spade Launches Perch Technology in Stores

Perch, an interactive display system, seamlessly integrates rich media content into the in-store shopping experience.


KATE SPADE’S ROOST: In an effort to make its stores more interactive, Kate Spade has launched Perch technology in its stores. Perch, an interactive display system, seamlessly integrates rich media content into the in-store shopping experience. “Our stores are great expressions of the brand,” said chief marketing officer Mary Beech, “but we were looking for an opportunity to bring content to life.”

In the Kate Spade store in the Flatiron District, Perch is suspended from the ceiling above a merchandising table near the front door, although in some stores, the unit may project on to a wall. It projects animated images onto the surface below. An optical sensor inside the Perch unit detects when a product is picked up or a customer touches the table. The display responds in real time.

Using its hashtag, #travelcolorfully, as a starting point, Kate Spade introduced a live feed of Instagram photos of customers in exotic locations. Other areas on the table are devoted to style tips and ad campaign videos. There’s also a “create the outfit” panel with looks spinning and the sounds of a slot machine. If a consumer picks up a shoe or handbag displayed on the table, the reward is a game or other content.

“We’ve seen a higher sell-through for products on the table,” Beech said.

The experience will be available next month in select Kate Spade stores in Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Orlando, Fla.; Bellevue, Wash., and two units in London.

Beech said the technology is “very cost effective,” adding that the system will be installed in stores at least through 2014. “We’re constantly thinking about what’s next for our customer and online,” she said.

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Crain's features PERCH as one of the top fashion and retail technology innovators


Eight startups have been identified as future power players in New York City’s burgeoning fashion tech industry.

As Crain’s reported last month, a competitive mentorship program called the New York Fashion Tech Lab was launched in late March aimed at making the city a global leader in fashion technology. Backed by venture-catalyst Springboard Enterprises and the Partnership Fund for New York City, NYFT Lab will give eight small fashion technology startups the chance to be mentored by sponsors like ANN INC., The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., J.Crew, Kate Spade & Co., Macy’s, and Ralph Lauren Corp.

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PERCH Wins DIGI Award for Best Interactive Digital Signage Product for Retail


PERCH is honored to receive the award for best interactive digital signage product.

As described on AV Network’s blog, “the winners do not just indicate superior technology but offer a roadmap of how digital signage and DOOH best practices are playing out in the market, with real world solutions and products.”

PERCH remains dedicated to providing innovative technologies that unite digital content with physical products to engage consumers, analyze their behavior and drive sales.