This Week In Retail Marketing Innovation - October 7, 2019

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The evolution of “The Internet of Things” and it’s role in shaping retail

Twenty years after British technology pioneer Kevin Ashton coined the phrase, “The Internet of Things” (IoT), a business revolutions is taking place.

The mid-90s may have seen a boom in e-commerce that has carried through to today, but now businesses are unlocking new revenue streams, improving efficiency, and creating customer loyalty with IoT technology.

IoT is helping traditional brick-and-mortar stores compete in today’s online shopping world by providing customers with better experiences and limiting unnecessary expenses. 

A1 Retail recently explored the impact IoT is making and highlighted Perch’s role in providing engaging user experiences to customers and behavioral analytics for businesses.

You can learn more about IoT and Perch’s role in the revolution in this issue of the A1 Retail Magazine:

How to thrive in brick and mortar retail using an inventory free strategy

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Customers who visit inventory-free showrooms spend up to 60% more on average, shop more often, and buy more expensive items according to research from Idea Farm Ventures, The Wharton School, and Harvard Business School.

Those same customers are also less likely to return items, particularly more expensive items. In the words of the research team, shopping at a zero-inventory store “supercharges” customers.

This format provides a better experience for customers and also allows brands to learn more from customer feedback and interaction. Nordstrom, among other brands, is expanding its inventory-free concept in hopes of reaping similar rewards. It has recently opened up two new inventory-free locations in New York.

The aforementioned research group argues that inventory-free stores might be a better option for smaller brands that focus on e-commerce, largely because they are cheaper to run. 

There is some risk of losing sales when customers arrive at a store knowing they will not have the opportunity to leave the store with the products they want to purchase, but the inventory-free concept is continuing to grow and evolve.

McKinsey & Co. debuts brick-and-mortar store and learning lab

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McKinsey & Company has opened its first brick-and-mortar retail store in the Mall of America just outside of Minneapolis. 

The store, called Modern Retail Collective, will include products and displays from Elevé Cosmetics, Kendra Scott, ThirdLove and type:A Deodorant. Modern Retail Collective will serve as both a retail store and a learning lab that will provide brands with the opportunity to test new technology.

The store currently features some impressive IoT technology like interactive mobile hotspots which will provide single-tap access to product details, as well as smart mirrors with extended product catalogs, and data collection technology.

One interesting example is the “Color Bar” in the Kendra Scott area of the store where shoppers can pick up RIFD-activated stones to form a personalized bracelet and virtually see what it would look like on a screen.

“On that screen, the shopper can design the bracelet on their own versus waiting behind people in line,” Tiffany Burns from McKinley said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “You can design it yourself with unlimited combinations and metal types, colors and texture, and then have it shipped to you. It was a feature Kendra Scott already has in its stores but we basically took it and created the next generation of it.”

Modern Retail Collective hopes to provide its clients with opportunities to test out IoT technology like this that they can later scale up in their own stores.

Sounding Smart by The Retail Water Cooler

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