As April brings in spring weather to most of the country, retailers this month focused on company earnings, a focus on sustainability timed to Earth Day and continued advancements in experiential and technology innovations. KWI client Il Makiage made headlines with the launch of a quiz that uses machine learning AI to find the perfect foundation to match skin tones. The quiz is a great example of using the brand’s technology roots to better serve their customers in an innovative and unique manner.
Other noteworthy stories from April are below:
1. Retailers like Levi’s and Lululemon reported in their earnings that they will be expanding their retail footprint. In Levi Strauss’ first earnings post their IPO in March, the brand said they plan to open 100 new stores this year with a focus on omni-channel retail. Lululemon is also planning on growing their store square footage by focusing on a few different areas, rather than one prototype as done in the past. The athleisure brand will be adding a temporary, pop-up store; a 3,000-square-foot store; a roughly 5,500-square-foot store; and then a massive 25,000-square-foot version in Chicago, as well as new stores in China. Lastly Canada Goose will be opening new experiential stores that feature a cold room for customers to test out Canada Goose products in the environments they are intended for.
2. Two interesting stories about the environmental impact of fashion and beauty industries came out around Earth Day mid month. CBSNews reported that apparel and footwear industries together account for more than 8 percent of global climate impact, greater than all international airline flights and maritime shipping trips combined. To combat fast fashion, customers are more open to shopping resale and consignment and seeking out sustainable supply chain practices. The Guardian did a deep dive into the use of plastic in the cosmetics industry and how brands like Garnier and Lush are addressing the issue.
3. News from Amazon as they report three new programs. One is a partnership with Kohl’s where customers can bring Amazon goods to be returned at a Kohl’s location. The program is currently available in 100 stores but will be rolled out to all stores this summer. The company also announced it will drop off packages in customer garages via Key delivery for garages that use myQ technology. In Amazon’s last earnings call, the company also discuss 1-day delivery for Prime members from 2-day options.
4. In more store of the future news, Walmart unveiled Intelligent Retail Lab in a 50,000 square foot store in Levittown, Long Island. The store uses AI to insure in-stock position and freshness of such perishable items like produce and meat.