Luxury Brands Investing in Streamlining the In-Store Experience with Physical+Digital
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
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
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.
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Amazon Prime day is coming up on July 15 and 16, and Target wants a piece of the pie, offering a “no membership required” sales event that overlaps with Amazon’s 48-hour event. Target is also offering same-day shipping through its Shipt subsidiary, drive-up and in-store pickup, and free shipping on orders more than $35 or with its store card.
R_Evolution, a new interactive direct-to-consumer pop-up shop owned by CS Hudson and International Retail Management and Consulting Group (IRG), will be opening in Long Island from mid-summer through the end of 2019. Hudson and IRG claim that the pop-up will provide “truly unique” and “immersive” retail experience.
Over 500 Wayfair employees scheduled a walkout near the Boston headquarters after the company sold approximately 1,600 mattresses and 100 bunk beds intended for camps along the southern border. Employees were outraged when the company bypassed a worker’s request to forgo business with contractors helping the U.S. government-run migrant border camps, according to several social media reports.
Nike reporting a successful fourth quarter, with full year revenue growth of 7% to $39.1 billion, according to a press release. They attribute their success to their focus in the women’s category. Their women empowerment campaigns have caused the category to outshine the brand’s wholesale sales, and executives see potential in the digital market for this sector as well.
Simon properties invites fans of “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” AR game to their 200+ shopping centers for additional rewards in the game. According to a press release, Apple, Google, and Samsung players can now discover sponsored inns and fortresses within the Simon properties that provide an advantage over non-sponsored locations.
Walmart will now accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for online grocery orders at all pickup locations, according to a spokesperson. Online pickup is currently available at 2,500 stores throughout the US, and will expand to 3,100 by the end of 2019, with SNAP accepted at all locations.
Lowe’s is investing $500 million annually between now and 2021 to amp up their involvement in the tech portion of their business. They plan to build a global technology center in Charlotte, NC, and hire 2,000 tech associates to operate the 357,000-square-foot center, according to a company blog post.
VSP Global, a leading vision insurance company, opened the first of three Eyeconic brick-and-mortar locations within the Chicago market. The store will function as an extension of the company’s e-commerce site, with physical frames and access to VSP network eye doctors.
Amazon packages can now be picked up at a staffed Amazon Hub station inside more than 100 Rite Aid stores. The new program is called “Counter”, and while it’s new to the US, it is already successful in the UK and Italy. According to a press release, Counter will appear in more than 1,500 Rite Aid stores by the end of 2019.