This Week In Retail Marketing Innovation - June 24, 2019

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Perch announces partnership with Vodafone to enhance in-store IoT services

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This week, Perch announced a partnership with Vodafone Business to amp up their in-store physical and digital retail displays by incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) services.

Perch’s current technology tracks customers’ interactions with physical products and presents them with correlated digital messaging, giving them more information on the product they have in-hand.

Now in the digital age, where nearly three-quarters of customers are expecting their online and in-store experiences to be identical, Perch presents the opportunity for retailers to merge the online and in-store experience.

However, with limited infrastructure and unreliable WiFi in most shopping centers, Perch joined forces with Vodafone, to ensure a hassle-free set-up and connectivity of both the physical and digital aspects of their displays.

Trevor Sumner, CEO of Perch, commented on the partnership: “We want to create the best in-store customer experience so we needed a dependable partner who could help us connect displays for our customers around the world. We’re revolutionizing the way people shop and experience products in-store and we need to integrate our technology with the best possible solutions. Vodafone Business IoT helps us make sure our customers can deliver that perfect message at the perfect time in their stores while also gaining incredible marketing insights into customer behavior.”

With reliable IoT, retailers can now utilize Perch’s interactive displays to help drive businesses and provide a unique shopping experience for their customers. Perch’s goal is to deliver the right message at the right time to customers, and now they can do so more successfully with a reliable internet server that gives their team real-time anonymized data on the customer journey.

“Through Vodafone’s collaboration with Perch, consumers can have a better and more personalized experience when they shop,” said Ludovico Fassati, head of IoT, Vodafone Americas. “Vodafone is pleased to collaborate with Perch combining interactive displays with our global IoT network to revolutionize the shopping experience.”

Sounding Smart by The Retail Water Cooler

American Eagle and DSW Thrive in Q1

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Cold weather, poor marketing strategy, and increase in manufacturing tariffs around the world have caused a drastic slow-down of income for specialty retailers Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Michaels, and others. Even with e-commerce growth, several retailers are facing the sting of a lack of growth in Q1.

Abercrombie & Fitch, for example, is suffering from multiple store closures, and are now planning to close 40 additional stores this year, including some of their most trafficked stores in New York, Fukuoka, Japan and Milan.

Gap, Inc. is going through a similar decline with a 2% first quarter net sales decline and an uncharacteristic 1% comp decrease at Old Navy. Old Navy is currently keeping the conglomerate afloat, which makes its separation plans from Gap a big concern for executives.

On the other hand, some brands were able to weather the storm.

American Eagle Outfitters has tapped the lingerie market with it’s successful brand Aerie, where comps rose 14% in Q1. The product mix—denim by American Eagle and lingerie by Aerie—continues to resonate with several age groups.

Despite a slight setback in gross margin due to delivery costs and product markdowns, the retailer is planning to continue opening brick-and-mortar locations slowly but surely. The company refuses to settle for anything less than a high-quality location for both stores.

Designer Brands, Inc. (DSW) also performed well, despite the cold weather leaving sandals and other summer shoes unsold. Comps rose 3% year over year, driving a net sales rise of 23.4% to $878.5 million.

DSW’s success can be attributed to a close monitoring of inventory and costs, “and, more broadly, better utilization of its fleet,” according to William Blair analyst Dylan Carden. "Combined with an industry-leading 27 million loyalty member program, and 500-plus retail locations some 20 minutes from 70% of the U.S. population, we believe DSW is in an altogether enviable position amid a consolidating footwear industry.”

Through the ups and downs, cold weather and all, specialty retailers have to work on designing intentional customer engagement programs.

Wayfair has plans for four new popup shops in preparation for its first brick-and-mortar store

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Wayfair is opening up its first full-service store in Massachusetts this fall, and to build momentum for the grand opening, four new pop-ups will make their way into malls throughout the country.

The pop-ups, called the Wayfair Decor & Inspiration Shops, are set to launch August 1st and remain open for three months at the following retail locations:

  • Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL

  • Streets at Southpoint in Durham, NC

  • King of Prussia in King of Prussia, PA

  • Tysons Corner Center in Fairfax, VA

The pop-up shops will include the more than 250 budget-friendly and eclectic decor items, with a signature feel of Wayfair’s online marketplace. According to their Director of Brand Marketing Courtney Lawrie, merchandise will include living room wall art, throw pillows and candles, seasonal kitchen items, and more.

During the 2018 holiday season, Wayfair launched two successful pop-up shops in Natick, MA, where the permanent store will be located, and in Paramus, NJ. The brand also operates an outlet store connected to its warehouse in Florence, KY.

The additional pop-ups in 2019 should generate the additional buzz that Wayfair is looking for, where items will be swapped out frequently to provide a fresh experience for each and every customer.

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