This Week In Retail Marketing Innovation - July 8, 2019

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Luxury Brands Investing in Streamlining the In-Store Experience with Physical+Digital

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Luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Bulgari are among the top-ranked brands that are expanding their presence on WeChat, the Chinese messaging app that has more than 1 billion users and supports various marketing activities. 

But WeChat offers more than just messaging – the app also functions as a mobile commerce hub that allows transactions, loyalty programs, and other features to their billion users. Luxury brands understand the power of WeChat, and have upped their marketing efforts to gain the most market share amongst Gen Z.

Other luxury brands have gained popularity on WeChat by offering popular streetwear and sneakers to Gen Z. They have also recruited famous brand ambassadors Kris Wu, Hu Ge, and Yang Yang to promote their products and stay competitive

Unlike a traditional online marketplace, WeChat brands primarily use brand ambassadors and store pages to sell their products. Otherwise, customers can scan QR codes at brick-and-mortar stores to reach their company pages, or learn about them via online ads.

Louis Vuitton gained popularity among Gen Z WeChat users by selling limited-edition streetwear products at its virtual pop-up shop within the app. Their brand ambassador, former boy band member Kris Wu, generated enormous buzz online, making the campaign even more successful.

Bulgari also recruited Wu as a brand ambassador, but focused its efforts on letting users customize products, check inventory, make store reservations, and pick up online orders in stores, according to Retail Dive. The enhanced elements of convenience resonated well with Gen Z.

A similar in-store WeChat integration is being used in a Perch deployment with MAC, where, once a product has been selected, the customer then has the opportunity to purchase through WeChat.

The number of luxury fashion brands that have at least one WeChat store jumped 70% this year, in efforts to join the bandwagon and use the app to gain popularity among the youngest generation.

Perfect Corp. Brings the Sold-Out Global Beauty Tech Forum to NYC to Discuss the Future of AI & AR Tech in the Beauty Industry

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Perfect Corp., in partnership with talent agency 24 Seven, brought the Global Beauty Tech Forum to NYC on Tuesday, June 18th. The event was filled with retail, beauty, technology, and media brand representatives, including Perch, eager to learn about the impact of AI and AR on the beauty industry.

CEO of Perfect Corp. Alice Chang made a keynote speech about how AI technology is shaping the customer journey. With the technologies, customers are now able to virtually “try on” different beauty products and create a personalized buying experience.

Estée Lauder Global Brand President, Stéphane de La Faverie, spoke on the brand’s adaptation to advanced AI and AR technologies. “Our goal at Estée Lauder has always been to create and deliver high-touch experiences to everyone who interacts with the brand,” explained de La Faverie. “Now this experience has been enabled by high tech AI and AR to create a more engaging, more personalized journey for our customers. While we have always focused on innovating our products and services, with partners like Perfect Corp., we can now also innovate and elevate the consumer experience.”

Several other brands such as COTY, Neutrogena, and Benefit Cosmetics presented their plans for the future with beauty AI and AR. Associate Director, Global Digital Marketing at Benefit Cosmetics, Emily Dybwad, pointed out their new Brow Try-On feature: “At Benefit Cosmetics, we strive to use Brow Try-On in two distinct ways, building the most realistic & personalized brow experience out there, so new customers can understand the transformative power of their brows and to meet our customers where they are, on mobile web.”

Media brands also shared how they plan to incorporate AI and AR into their marketing efforts. Meredith Corp. Director of Innovation shared, “With Web AR, we’re able to deliver augmented reality experiences in traditional banner ads and via smart codes without the need for an app. This step is a testament to how technology can continue to enhance ROI for our clients.”

Perch was featured in a discussion on the subject with other beauty industry panelists Ulta Beauty and SAP. Perch spoke to how they are transforming the in-store experience by merging physical products with digital product displays. 

SAP’s Industry Executive Advisor gave his support to incorporating AR and AI within the retail industry. “The Experience Economy is the next wave of disruption for beauty brands and retailers. Companies are disproportionately rewarded when they deliver great experiences and absolutely punished when they do not.”

Nordstrom and Rent the Runway Partner Up to Offer In-Store Pickup

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Nordstrom and Rent the Runway have partnered up to offer in-store order pickup and return for Rent the Runway products, in addition to other services at four Los Angeles Nordstrom locations. 

In addition to pick-ups and returns, Rent the Runway customers will also have access to try-ons, tailoring, styling, gift-wrapping, and “a variety of beauty services” within the Nordstrom locations, according to an email from the e-commerce brand

Nordstrom and Rent the Runway cater to similar audiences, and combining the e-commerce and brick-and-mortar brands seemed natural. The partnership is not only sensical, but is mutually beneficial, where Rent the Runway can expand their services that are normally unavailable online, and Nordstrom can bring in new customers to try their additional styling services.

Los Angeles is Rent the Runway’s fourth largest market. The brand has gained immense popularity in the region, with a “particularly high density of subscribers living or working close to the Nordstrom Local locations," Rent the Runway said.

Rent the Runway currently has a partnership with coworking firm WeWork with drop-offs at 15 WeWork locations in six cities. Nordstrom is also piloting new brand partnership ideas, including a pick-up and drop-off service in partnership with fulfillment platform Narvar and has teased an upcoming deal with home-based service company Hello Alfred.


Sounding Smart by The Retail Water Cooler

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