From January the 10th until the 14th , the NRF Big Show, the yearly Retail exposition in New York brought nothing less than 33,000 participants together. Loyal to its major brands by means of monitoring their innovativeness, the HUB Institute was attending this year, to identify the latest trends and new practices to follow. This "learning expedition" will benefit from a complete analysis during the HUBDay Future of Retail on the 5th of January at the MEDEF conference, as well as from a HUB Report, complete synthesis available to the members of our Digital Transformation Passport.
In the meantime, here are 5 brands that caught our attention with their disruptive approaches in the world of distribution:
1. BIRCHBOX OR WHEN ONLINE GOES "BRICK AND MORTAR"
The US beauty box leader, which bought JolieBox in France, has also just launched its store in Soho. The discovery and community spirited site (1 million "product reviews" on the site) doesn’t intend to stop at the Internet, despite its 800,000 subscribers in 6 countries. Organized by product category (MAKE UP, skincare, nail polish...) and not by brands, the shop offers the possibility to build a custom box by choosing among 5 products renewed every month.
“Try bar’s” enable you to test products and interactive displays help you to discover the best suited products for your skin, your body type,… And for the indecisive ones, iPads even display feedbacks and advices of from the site’s members. Make-up class sessions are also available. And for you gentlemen, there even is a man corner ( to match the Man Box which is a huge success). After the web, Birchbox aims to reinvent the whole shopping experience in store with maximum interactivity, surprises, and feedbacks around its creed: Try, Learn, and Buy.
Last Christmas, the brand also opened a popup store in France for 2 weeks:
2. GAME STOP THE FUTURE STORE FOR GAMERS
GameStop is a major player in the gaming distribution with its $9 Billion income (10% through digital), 6,600 stores and 40,000 employees in 15 countries (including Micromania in France).
GameStop is determined to face its competitors from Internet, unlike players like Blockbuster that went bankrupt because they were unable to reinvent themselves.
The brand has launched an ambitious plan of digital transformation with the closure of 120 outlets dedicated to video games and the opening of 250 shops dedicated to mobile and tablets. GameStop offers its young customers without a Visa card the possibility to buy new levels, options, ... in cash and upload them on a memory card directly in store.
The key point of the program is based on CRM. Power Up, their loyalty program gathers nothing less than 40 Million members and has allowed the brand to triple their sales and increased their profits by 5 since its launch.
This CRM program is also based on a passion driven sales force (like the former best buy sells assistants), which is able to provide ultra qualified advice to gamers. This relation is essential for a business that generates 27% of its revenue through selling second-hand Games (400,000 games per week are repackaged following this model).
The GameStop Technology Institute allow the brand to experiment with numerous innovations in store (loyalty card via mobile app, promotion via geofencing and iBeacon, sharing of the CRM profiles of the people in shop with the sales assistants to increase the relevance of their advices).
Customers can also play a video game's trailer they just received on their phone on one of the stores screens (Microsoft Azure based solution). The battle against the dematerialization of the video games sale is still far from being won, but Game Stop seems to have strongly decided to face change rather than to suffer from it.
3. REBECCA MINKOFF AND THE CONNECTED FITTING CABIN, NEW YORK
Fashion designer for the "downtown romantics,” Rebecca Minkoff strikes at the NRF lounge with her Soho connected flagship (at 96 Greene Street). Designed with Ebay, the shop has a giant interactive screen at its entrance but also a futuristic fitting room. Automatic detection of clothes in the fitting room thanks to a RFID tag, additional information display, variable lightening, calling of a personal stylist ... the technology is definately not just a gimmick thanks to its simplicity and polished integration into the customer assistance:
4. STORY TURNS ITS SHOP WINDOWS INTO MEDIA
Real retail-UFO, the STORY shop; located in the Meatpacking District, not far from the High Line in NYC; reminds us that the shop windows remains its first media. The store's philosophy is based on three principles: Point of view of a magazine, Changes like a Gallery, Sells things like a store.
This means that every 4 to 8 weeks the space is completely reinvented from the ceiling to the floor even the windows like last week for instance:
After H & M’s fast fashion, Rachel Shechtman seems to have invented the fast retail with Story and created a media that constantly resurrects the interest of shoppers.
5. ARGO (UK) AND THE BIG OMINICANAL STORE WITHOUT SECTION ?
The notorious British department store chain (31,000 employees for £ 3.9 Bn. of sales) known for its 2 large annual catalogues, has launched an ambitious £ 300M digital transformation plan. A radical shift with the introduction of new, smaller spaces only dedicated (already 50 outlets since 2013 to 740 brand) to call and collect.
At the forefront of the multichannel revolution these outlets only offer the possibility to reserve or to order:
- on-site, digital catalogues on iPads (over 33,000 products) and free WIFI
- By phone (2500 operators and 14M calls per year)
- Or mobile (dedicated application for 16% of sales with the integration of NFC), SMS or online with 430M visits / year for 39% of business turnover
and to pick up your purchases on the same day or the day after, that in less than 60 seconds. The goal being to provide the best of online’s choice and the best of in-store’s service.
The company did a great job on the logistic side, enabling it to save-up by paying less for storage space outside of the shopping streets. It also accompanied its customers by offering mini Internet training for 20 € and by communicating on the transformation of its sales points with a £ 10M campaign:
And the company continues to experiment and to constantly innovate, as with this Christmas 2014 promotional mobile App. This Tinder like app assisted customers who were looking for gift ideas.
Voilà donc en 5 exemples un tout petit aperçu des nombreuses innovations et du dynamisme des concepts retail que nous avons pu repérer à New York lors du salon américain du retail, le NRF Big Show.
Si vous souhaitez en savoir plus sur nos Learning Expeditions, assister à notre conférence HUBDay Futur du Retail ou devenir membre du Digital Transformation Passport (pour accéder à nos 9 conférences annuels, nos 8 HUB Klubs et nos 8 HUB Reports), contactez le HUB Institute.