Social media creators are wreaking havoc in retail stores to rack up views
Retail stores everywhere are dealing with a new challenge – social media creators causing trouble in the name of views.
YouTubers and other social media influencers have been targeting Walmart, Home Depot, Target, and Ikea stores as well as fast food restaurants with a variety of pranks from knocking over merchandise displays to posing as managers and “firing” employees.
This video in particular provides an example of what some of these creators are doing for social media attention. It shows one YouTuber turning off the lights in WalMart and intentionally disturbing employees and customers in order to entertain his subscribers. The video has over 775 thousand views so far. You can click here to watch it.
For younger pranksters, there are often little to no consequences for causing these disturbances. Store managers do not seem to have many options for punishing these offenders and many retailers are not equipped to handle these situations. This can cause a serious nuisance for customers and employees.
Foot Traffic is the key incentive in Macy’s partnership with ThredUp, according to ThredUp co-founder
Amid recent announcements that Macy’s and J.C. Penney will be piloting sales of secondhand clothing, ThredUp co-founder and CTO Chris Homer offered some insight as to why Macy’s and similar stores are taking these steps.
“What’s their incentive? Foot traffic,” Homer said at the eTail East Conference in August. “Right now, the typical Macy's assortment — I don't know officially — but probably gets recycled monthly maybe, quarterly most likely. We are sending them product to refresh the ThredUp shop every week. So that's an incentive or a reason to bring customers back to actually shop.”
Macy’s announced that it will be partnering with ThredUp a few weeks ago and J.C. Penney made a similar announcement the next day. The retailers cited their partnerships as an attraction for customers who are seeking value. Meanwhile, Homer’s insight reflects that the value proposition is similar to the “treasure hunt atmosphere” offered by off-price retailers, according to RetailDive.
These off-price retailers have been cutting into department stores’ market share and traffic while some department stores’ off-price units, like Nordstrom Rack, are outperforming their flagship brands.
Emphasis on providing that “treasure hunt” experience through partnerships could help department store brands bring in more much-needed foot traffic. For retailers like J.C. Penney, who struggled in quarter one and saw little improvement in quarter two, similar store-in-store partnerships have provided a boost in the past, with J.C. Penney’s partnership with Sephora operating as a prime example.
Along with the opportunity to provide foot traffic, partnering with ThredUp could also help Macy’s and J.C. Penney cater to more sustainably-focused consumers who are interested in buying second-hand clothing. Representatives from Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and ThredUP have referenced this point in conferences and announcements.
Providing an AR customer experience has taken less time than expected for this bean bag chair retailer
Fatboy, an indoor and outdoor lifestyle product seller that is famous for its Fatboy Original bean bag chair, is piloting augmented reality (AR) technology to showcase some of its top products to customers.
Fatboy’s new AR experiences are an effort to allow consumers to see what lifestyle products will look like in their homes and the environments around them.
Fatboy initially planned on rolling out these customer experiences by 2021, but according to Fatboy’s e-commerce director, Tom de Vos, easy implementation of AR technology has accelerated the company’s plans.
This is largely thanks to the use of CGTrader ARsenal, a platform that is designed to provide companies with easy-to-use AR experiences for online shoppers.
“Unlike IKEA where it pays off to invest in a complete proprietary AR platform, for us it is not an option,” de Vos said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “This allows us to have as good as an IKEA app without needing to invest in an app — we just need to select five products that amass 60% of our product turnover, transform them via AR and have them live on our website.”
De Vos added that the process of setting up this experience was fairly simple. Fatboy just sent in some 2D pictures of the products they planned on displaying through AR and CGTrader ARsenal converted them into “plug and play” experiences for Fatboy’s website.
This technology could prove to be a benefit for Fatboy’s online and brick-and-mortar retail partners.
“The next step is offering this to other retailers,” de Vos said to Retail TouchPoints. “In the U.S., we are selling to Macy’s, and in Europe, we have some very big omnichannel clients. In the long term, we are looking to assist physical stores as well that are struggling right now with keeping our products, which are oversized, in stock. The AR solution allows them, in combination with a drop shipping solution, to basically have an endless aisle assortment of Fatboy products in-store.”
According to Retail TouchPoints, this AR rollout stems from ease of use for retailers and a large designer community. In all likelihood, providing retail customers with AR experiences will continue to become easier and more popular in the near future.
Sounding Smart by The Retail Water Cooler
Le Tote will acquire Lord & Taylor for $100 million, paid in the form of $75 million (US) in cash and a secured promissory note of $25 million payable in two years. Le Tote will get the Lord & Taylor brand and intellectual property, assume operations of 38 stores and acquire all digital channels and associated inventory. HBC will retain its real estate, get an equity stake in Le Tote, and hold two seats on its board as well as "certain rights as a minority shareholder.”
Discount stores Dollar General, Family Dollar and Five Below opened 683 new stores in the second quarter and generated $13.1 billion in sales. Dollar General’s sales grew 8.4% year over year (YoY) at $7 billion. Dollar Tree, who merged with Family Dollar in 2014, saw a 3.9% YoY sales increase at $5.7 billion. Meanwhile, Five Below saw a 20% YoY sales increase at $417.4 million.
AI Platform Stylitics announced that it raised $15 million in Series B funding to bring its total funds raised to $21 million. This new capital will help the company grow its sales and marketing operations and help it create "new types of shoppable, content-driven e-commerce and in-store experiences for brands, retailers, and publishers."
Thriftbooks has proven to be more than just an Amazon seller. The secondhand bookseller has seen double digit sales growth each year since its founding as a stand-alone site in 2007 and has been "consistently profitable every year," according to CEO Mike Ward. Ward attributes this largely to the value proposition offered by the company. “Our value proposition is really amazing — customers can get a book delivered to their door for $4," Ward said. The company is now focusing on growth as a retailer in its own right.
Liberty Tax is set to buy Sears Hometown’s Outlet Stores unit following a $132.9 million cash deal. Liberty claims to have agreements with lenders for $105 million in debt financing which will help them fund the purchase. This follows a deal in which Sears agreed to buy hometown this summer.
Costco’s opening day in China led to a chaotic scene as door-busting customers overwhelmed the retail store. Police had to be called in to restore order and the store had to close early on its first day.
Target is insisting that suppliers absorb all costs related to recent tariff increases on Chinese products. According to a letter from Target’s EVP and chief merchandising officer, Mark Tritton, “Target will not accept any new cost increases related to tariffs on goods imported from China. Our expectation is that you will develop the appropriate contingency plans so that we don’t have to pass price increases along to our guests.”
American consumers spent more in July on recreational goods and vehicles as well as energy while inflation remained low. This allowed the Federal Reserve to have room to cut interest rates in September. In July, consumer spending rose 0.6% while income rose just 0.1%. PCE indexes rose 0.2%.
Apple announced that it will be expanding its product repair program to provide independent repair shops with the tools required to fix iPhones. Some type of certification will be required before Apple provides the tools and Apple will require broken parts to be sent back to Apple, but this is a step in the right direction for consumers who are looking for the “right to repair.”
Skechers will now utilize Aptos Store for point-of-sale and sales audits through use of the solution provider’s microservices-based SaaS platform Aptos ONE. This will provide Skechers with a single view of customers, products and orders to enable a seamless experience across channels.
The Vitamin Shoppe will improve the accuracy of its demand forecasts by adopting an integrated supply chain strategy through a partnership with RELEX Solutions. This will help improve visibility of the company’s inventory according to Vitamin Shoppe’s VP and GM of merchandising options.
Target will launch a health-conscious, private label grocery brand called Good & Gather on September 15. The retailer forecasts that the new brand will generate billions of dollars in revenue.