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business Editor's pick Events Retail technology

Everything you need to know from World Retail Congress

Retail’s ability to disrupt and update its strategies alongside a broader call for more sustainable practices were among the key topics at this year’s World Retail Congress in Amsterdam.

“High velocity retail” and “the future of retail” were the themes for the conference in 2019, with technological advancement standing out as a priority for retailers. “If you’re slow at picking up these nuances, these trends and things that are happening all around us all the time, you’re going to be a loser,” said Lord Stuart Rose, former chairman of British department store Marks and Spencer, now chair of online grocer Ocado.

There was also a conversation around slowing down, however, which tied into consumer expectations of purpose-driven brands. “I think the brands and retailers who will win will be the ones who can tap into meaning,” said philosopher Robert Rowland Smith.

Here’s everything else you need to know…

TOP STORIES
  • High velocity retail: Why the World Retail Congress 2019 was a breath of fresh air [Forbes]
  • Slower retail: Has the industry hit its speed limit? [FashionUnited]
  • Lord Rose: Death of the high street is “overblown” [Retail Gazette]
  • Amazon revealed as the world’s most valuable retail brand, but it shouldn’t rest on its laurels [Warc]
INNOVATION
  • Levi’s to allow shoppers to customize their own ‘greener’ jeans [FashionUnited]
  • Retail chiefs dismiss AI job threat, promise more training [Reuters]
  • Google launches tool to help retailers boost customer experience [Retail Week]
  • Walmart International CEO on data privacy, the failed Asda merger and leveling the playing field for women [FashionUnited]
RETAIL UPDATES
  • Zalando to expand delivery from stores to bag missed sales [Reuters]
  • Yoox Net-a-Porter to become one of the first to launch shoppable Instagram account [ChargedRetail]
  • JD.com exec Ling on the future of ‘boundless retail’ [Retail Week]
BUSINESS MODELS
  • Retailers should collaborate to survive: “You can’t do it alone” [CyclingIndustry]
  • Retailers say business model needs to change for them to remain relevant [Enterprise Times]
  • Millennials are driving growth in emerging subscription retail services [FootwearNews]
  • Superdry chairman urges boardrooms to hire young people amid online shift [Retail Gazette]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. 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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data product Retail technology

Chanel’s new Paris flagship will test augmented retail concept

Chanel
Chanel

Chanel’s newly-opened flagship in Paris will serve as a testing ground for the label’s digital initiatives, aiming to create an increasingly omnichannel retail experience. 

This is part of an innovation partnership with Farfetch announced earlier this year, which will see the luxury brand develop new clienteling tools both online and in-store. Called Augmented Retail, the vision will use data and other digital capabilities to create a personalized shopping experience, according to Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves.

Speaking on the partnership in February, he said: “It is truly an honour to be partnering with Chanel to accelerate the development of technology-driven initiatives which will ensure they remain at the forefront of retail excellence and elevate the already unparalleled level of luxury experience for its clients that Chanel is renowned for.”

Among the digital features set to be rolled out over the next six months is the launch of a dedicated Chanel app, which will focus on giving its most loyal shoppers more access to the brand, as well as a more tailored shopping experience.

Beyond tech enhancements, the five-storey space has a heavy focus on its VIP customers, with the two top floors dedicated to exclusive experiences, such as enjoying private meals and even taking a shower. 

Luxury brands and retailers are increasingly dedicating shopfloor space to providing its most engaged customers with experiences that go beyond shopping. Earlier this year, online retailer Matchesfashion.com opened its first physical space at a townhouse in London, featuring floors with the sole purpose of hosting events such as book signings, podcast recordings, exhibitions and exercise classes.

How are you thinking about retail 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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Editor's pick technology

Future of retail: artificial intelligence and virtual reality have big roles to play

Frontier(less) Retail, the new report from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence in collaboration with WWD
Frontier(less) Retail, the new report from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence in collaboration with WWD

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality, emerging technologies are rewriting the retail playbook at a rapid pace, suggests J. Walter Thompson Intelligence in a new report called Frontier(less) Retail.

Launched in collaboration with WWD, the report explores the idea that brands and retailers are increasingly putting innovation at the core of their strategies. This relates to everything from digital integration through to the more future-looking technologies helping to shift their businesses forward.

Rebecca Minkoff has boosted sales with smart mirrors in dressing rooms, it notes, while Kate Spade has had a hit with Everpurse, a smartphone-charging handbag. It also attributes the success of Under Armour in part to its positioning as a tech-forward brand, and references Topshop’s new incubator program, Top Pitch, as a clever bid to achieve the same at a time when its young consumer base is more likely to spend on smartphones than splurge on streetwear.

Head over to Forbes for the full story exploring the role that artificial intelligence and virtual reality have to play in a data-driven more experiential retail landscape.

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e-commerce Editor's pick technology

Harvey Nichols launches virtual version of new store

HarveyNichols2

To celebrate the opening of its new ‘store of the future’ in Birmingham (UK) last week, Harvey Nichols has launched a virtual version of the space online.

Partnering with virtual retail company Avenue Imperial, the project enables anyone to take a tour of the store themselves at home.

The interactive experience allows users to explore the actual shop through high-resolution panoramic photography and software adapted from 3D mapping.

Nicholas Rossi, founder and CEO of Avenue Imperial, said: “Our collaboration with Harvey Nichols is another demonstration of the power of virtual reality in bringing the physical shopping experience to life online.”

The new Harvey Nichols Birmingham store features a state-of-the-art 360 mirror, digital way finders, and high impact digital screens. Click here to check it out online.