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Neiman Marcus blends retail and tech at Hudson Yards megastore

Department store Neiman Marcus is claiming a stake of the $25bn Hudson Yards development opening in lower Manhattan in NYC this week with a megastore that merges traditional and omnichannel retail.

The space, which takes up five out of seven floors of the retail complex, is the retailer’s latest play at engaging with a new luxury consumer that is not only seeking products, but experiences and education alongside.

On the lower floor, for example, the retailer is hosting a kitchen for live demonstrations, while Neiman Marcus Live is a space on the middle floor that can hold up to 100 people for events like talks and Q&As with fashion designers and industry pioneers. The store also features a bar, named Stanley, which overlooks the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Vessel structure, a larger-than-life center piece for the Hudson Yards complex.

Technology is being blended into the space in order to give the luxury customer a one-to-one, tailored interaction with sales staff.

The Current Global’s CTO, Scott Emmons, who is the former head of the Neiman Marcus iLab, and was responsible for the technology execution in the new store before his departure, said: “We applied creative approaches and partnerships so that the consumer-facing technology was both useful to the shopper, and fit naturally into a very luxurious retail environment.”

A smart fitting room at Neiman Marcus

This includes a smart fitting room where customers can ‘check in’ upon entering, which will then act as a communication tool between shopper and sales associate. The customer can request new items, different sizing and even signal they are ready to check out through a personal screen, which is then communicated to the associate’s mobile POS system.

The fitting room experience was designed to easily be updated with new capabilities in the future, such as self-checkout or recommendation technologies, as well as enhance the ever-important role of the associate.

“Technology in this instance, is being used to not only deliver an optimal customer experience but act as a digital exoskeleton to supercharge the capabilities of the sales associates,” Emmons added.

It’s for this reason he believes this store is an example of what retail needs to look like in the future. “New York is one of the toughest places in the world to be a retailer and stand out from very capable competitors. Technology is not the only answer but when combined with the visual aspects, the right merchandise, experiential aspects and so forth, it can put you over the top.”

“This is how we think about things at the Current Global – removing technology from its vacuum and into the wider context of creative innovation in order to meet pressing consumer demands. At the end of the day, traditional retail must be weaved together with modern tech to enable customers to be seen and treated like individuals, and not market segments. Technology for the sake of it will never respond to basic human needs of having emotional connections when purchasing luxury.

“At a time when so many department stores are failing, what Neiman Marcus has pulled off is an inspiring example of what luxury retail should be. It’s a combination of great experience, great staffing, great environment and the right tech.”

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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ICYMI: Apparel manufacturing coming home, shopping by voice, French brands focus on startups

Is apparel manufacturing coming home?
Is apparel manufacturing coming home?

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Is apparel manufacturing coming home? [McKinsey]
  • Voice command: is it the future of online shopping? [FashionUnited]
  • French retail and fashion groups deepen focus on startups [WWD]
  • Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger are sending a clear signal that Amazon is the future of fashion, and it’s terrible news for department stores [Business Insider]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Magic Leap is real and it’s a janky marvel [TechCrunch]
  • Fast Retailing signs deal to fully automate warehousing [WWD]
  • ‘Building the digital factory’: 3D printing comes to Shopify [Digiday]
  • Chinese investment into computer vision technology and AR surges as US funding dries up [TechCrunch]
  • Amy Winehouse is going on tour as a hologram [Hypebeast]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Dove gets certified cruelty-free [FashionNetwork]
  • Why fashion’s anti-fur movement is winning [BoF]
  • The Maiyet Collective’s concept store: reshaping ethical lux [Stylus]
  • You buy a purse at Walmart. There’s a note inside from a “Chinese prisoner.” Now what? [Vox]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon Fashion to launch London pop-up [Drapers]
  • Brandless is launching a pop-up shop in NYC [TechCrunch]
  • Supreme envy: The drop model gets used for burgers, tacos, toothbrushes [Digiday]
  • Jenna Lyons is back, and she’s returning with a brand-new multi-platform venture [Vogue]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Three Nasty Gal ads banned by watchdog [FashionNetwork]
  • ASOS unveils campaign and collection for new Gen-Z label Collusion* [TheIndustry]
  • Adidas launches new membership program [HighSnobiety]
  • Why brands are launching secret apps for superfans [BoF]
  • Snapchat becomes the mobile HBO with 12 daily scripted Original shows [TechCrunch]
  • Superdry unveils disabled mannequin shop window for Invictus Games [TheIndustry]
PRODUCT
  • Alexander Wang is launching a new Uniqlo collaboration that’s all about underwear [Vogue]
BUSINESS
  • Judge removes Deciem founder from CEO role [BoF]
  • Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy [WSJ]
  • Superdry issues profits warning [Drapers]
  • Coast falls into administration and is bought by Karen Millen [TheIndustry]
  • Walmart acquires online lingerie retailer Bare Necessities [Reuters]
  • Lyst launches French version after LVMH investment [FashionNetwork]
CULTURE
  • The most diverse fashion season ever on the runway, but not the front row [NY Times]
  • Met Costume Institute embraces ‘Camp’ for 2019 blockbuster show [NY Times]
  • ‘Gender Bending Fashion’ to be focus of new show at Museum of Fine Arts in Boston next March [WWD]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business data digital snippets e-commerce product social media technology

What you missed: Store of the future, Edward Enninful to Vogue, Walmart acquiring Bonobos

Edward Enninful is joining British Vogue as editor in chief - what you missed store of future
Edward Enninful is joining British Vogue as editor in chief

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news.


TOP STORIES
  • A fantastical new world of high-tech, high-concept stores is here [Quartz]
  • Enabling the ‘offline cookie’ – why Farfetch’s store of the future is all about data [Forbes]
  • 6 fashion insiders on the British Vogue EIC news [Man Repeller]
  • Walmart is in advanced talks to acquire online men’s retailer Bonobos [Recode]
  • A new generation of even faster fashion is leaving H&M and Zara in the dust [Quartz]

BUSINESS
  • With Brexit now triggered, UK’s modern luxury CEOs discuss the early impact [LeanLuxe]
  • Burberry licenses fragrances and cosmetics business to Coty [Reuters]
  • Ralph Lauren closing Fifth Avenue Polo store, cutting staff [WWD]
  • Jenna Lyons out at J.Crew after 26 years [NY Post]
  • Luxury-goods companies are belatedly trying to go digital [The Economist]
  • Prada’s turnaround plan: fewer stores, more e-commerce [Glossy]
  • ‘See now, buy now’ is a publicity stunt, not real process innovation [BoF]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Snapchat vs. Instagram: Which Stories format is winning? [AdAge]
  • Snap-to-shop ads hope to drive retail sales [MediaPost]

MARKETING
  • Dear brands, quit trying to be my best friend [Racked]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The whole ‘malls are dying’ thing is getting old, say mall CEOs [Bloomberg]
  • Macy’s CEO on the future of department stores [The Robin Report]
  • Alibaba’s new retail integrates e-commerce, stores, & logistics: is this the next gen of retail? [Forbes]
  • ModCloth, True & Co. point the way to e-commerce’s future [SF Chronicle]
  • How Mon Purse makes $2 million worth of customisable handbags a month [Glossy]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Artificial intelligence in retail: A smashing tool of omnichannel [Medium]
  • Adidas is kicking off the era of 3D-printed sneaker production with the Futurecraft 4D [Quartz]
  • What RFID technology means for retail [Glossy]
  • London to stage world’s first “smart street” [The Industry]
  • Why drone delivery still has a long way to go before it takes off [Retail Dive]
  • Inside Stitch Fix’s experiment to design clothing with an algorithm [Glossy]