This Week in Retail Marketing Innovation - October 23rd, 2017

This Week in Retail Marketing Innovation - October 23rd, 2017

Omnichannel prioritization starts with brand messaging

Radial recently released a survey of the top 500 retailers outlining priorities for omnichannel implementation.   54% said that the top priority was consistent brand experience across channels.  That means bringing more digital into the store, with more frequent updates, creating a further mandate for interactive retail displays that leverage the investment in digital marketing and content that helps tell your product story.  

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The battle between brick-and-mortar and digital natives rages on

APT also created a nice white paper with fun diagrams on how Brick and Mortar Retailers Fight Back against online only players.   It’s a well-produced piece focused on creating customer engagement in store, increasing the value of store sales associates while leveraging online purchase vehicles. Here’s a good take from Fung Global on how that battle plays out between Warby Parker and Luxottica, looking how Warby Parker focuses on marketing differentiation where as Luxottica focuses on product and traditional distribution and the traditional retail experience.  Speaking of, many are investing more deeply in their sales associates as a key experience differentiator and as a result , increasingly retailers are hiring based on sales skills rather than operations since they are the face of the company in-store.

Retailers are investing even more heavily in tech

Walmart launched a big VR contest at it’s v-commerce ball, but will it make it past store #8 and win the hearts of Bentonville? Most of the retail VR applications getting hold that we see are around store planning ahead of delivery, rather than consumer facing applications.  VR still has a long way to go for consumer adoption to be relevant as mass market technology.

Meanwhile, Walgreens sees the writing on the wall and opened up 300 tech jobs in Chicago to help their transformation into the future.  That's a big investment that should hit everything from supply chain to the in-store experience.

Is Kohl’s sleeping with the enemy?

Is Kohl’s partnership with Amazon to process their returns inviting the fox into the hen house or inviting more store traffic and potentially an acquisitive suitors on the heels of the Whole Foods acquisition?  You have to be careful not to be marginalized as a simple logistics center as Amazon is also investing on simple Pickup Locations similar to their Lockers that could replace those partnerships.

Target is expanding while competitors are closing doors

In general business news, store closures are up 203% year over year bringing the total number of stores to be closed to 6,121. Fung Global predicts how much longer the purge will continue based on sales density analyses

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Retail Store Openings.png

That said there is a spotlight on Target which is opening 32 new stores and 35 in 2018 while remodeling 1,000 stores by 2020.  Target is investing heavily in the holidays, including hiring 100,000 temporary workers, up from 70,000 the last four years.  Target is going heavy with gifts for the holiday season under $15 with free shipping.   Smart strategy as sending and wrapping gifts is a big friction for many of us.  Target is being very thoughtful about its investments, including it’s recent push into apparel for kids with disabilities.   That’s going to drive customer loyalty.

In other retail news

Amazon is investing into an athletic line, but will they be able to displace the engaged communities like Lululemon with their cult-like followings?   The low-end of the market is much more at risk, and we should see this strategy play out across verticals as Amazon cannibalizes the mass market.

Speaking of athletic wear, UnderArmour just launched a subscription service called ArmourBox

Meanwhile Nordstrom suspended its plans to go private. Department stores continue to struggle to reinvent themselves with short-term public market perception making it difficult for CEOs to make sacrifices for the long-term good.   

Did we miss something?  Email us at to tell us the news that you think mattered this week.