The last month of Q1 2019 brought news focused on retail innovations as it relates to technology and customer service. KWI client NARS Cosmetics announced it will be rolling out virtual try-ons via a partnership with Perfect Corp. where clients can use the virtual reality technology via iPads. In addition, two DTC retail brands have been named unicorns with Glossier raising $100m and Rent the Runway announced a $125m investment, making both brands worth more than $1 billion. And KWI client Quay Australia made headlines for launching a sunglass line with Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.
When you think of a salesperson with a mobile device, you probably think of Apple. They were one of the first major brands to invest in the mobile point of sale experience using the iPod touch in 2009. Apple’s success has paved the way for a tremendous growth in mobile POS systems. An RIS News study found that half of department stores had already implemented a mobile POS plan or planned to do so within 12 months. For the past five years, we have been working with our clients to implement in-store mobile POS systems. We’ve seen the positive impact for these clients and the incredible benefits to anyone’s retail business.
It’s been another busy month in the world of retail as many blue-chip brands reported earnings and many retailers made their way to ShopTalk in Vegas. We saw headlines about stores shutting physical locations including JCPenney, Victoria’s Secret, Payless, and Gymboree to name a few. But not all was doom and gloom. Gap announced it would spin off Old Navy into a separate company and that it would acquire children’s retailer Janie and Jack. And Allbirds announced it was expanding to China, opening its first physical stores in the country.
Twenty-nineteen started off with a bang in the retail world as brands dug out from the holiday craze to refocus on the year’s new goals and initiatives. The NRF Big Show dominated the headlines as did reports of a successful holiday season, with Mastercard SpendingPulse reporting U.S. retail sales up 5.1 percent, the strongest performance in six years. Here’s a look at some of the stories that caught our eye in January.
It’s called the Big Show for good reason - 38,000 attendees, 700 exhibitors and more than 200 content sessions. This year’s NRF annual conference brought together retailers, celebrities, tech players and startups and KWI was proud to be part of the conference, going on more than 20 years. Our booth was buzzing all day as we had the opportunity to demo our technology and preview what’s ahead. (We also got a lot of compliments on our branded chocolate bars from our client Dylan’s Candy Bar!).
Experiential retail is hot right now and it's not just fashion and beauty brands leading the way. A plethora of companies are announcing pop-up stores to capitalize on a full-sensory experience. There are the tech companies (Facebook at Macy's, Google pop-up), the lifestyle brands like Goop, e-commerce companies like Casper, even communities like HeyMama are getting in the retail game.