The Retail TouchPoints Blog

Sep 30

Instagram Leads On The Social Media Runway At #NYFW

New York Fashion Week is well behind us, and although we had fun keeping tabs on the latest trends and styles, now is the even funner part: Tracking social media behaviors! 

You see, last year we saw an interesting shift. While Fashion Week used to be an uber exclusive event, it is now more open and inviting, thanks to Instagram. 

During this installment of New York Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2015, more than 115,000 images were shared by nearly 45,000 unique users on Instagram. 

Want to get a closer look at other user behaviors on Instagram? Check out the below infographic, courtesy of Curalate

Sep 29

Responsive Is NOT A Mobile Strategy

By Chris Andrasick, Tacit Knowledge, a Newgistics Company

 

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is being heralded as a cure-all for online retailers to build a single site that addresses the myriad different devices their customers are using. As mobile continues its march to being the dominant method by which consumers interact with brands RWD is supposed to help improve the experience and conversion rates, but it falls far short.

Retailers already think RWD is “the answer” and as a result focus on issues with load times and ongoing expenses, which are important, but overlook the fundamental challenges of mobile commerce.

In reality, RWD just solves the issue of fitting an existing experience into a smaller screen and does nothing to optimize performance — and that’s just part of the story. The biggest issue concerns the origin of the Internet and e-Commerce, and how we got to where we are today. The principal medium for e-Commerce experiences for the past 15 years has been the desktop computer which, when you think about it, is nothing more than a networked typewriter. Admittedly that’s a bit of a simplification, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s forced us to adopt drill-down browsing experiences designed to navigate product taxonomies grouped into categories and multistep, keyboard-intensive checkout flows.

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Sep 26

3 Ways Apple Pay Will Change Retail Forever…Eventually

By Rob Garf, Demandware

While the introduction of Apple Pay, as part of the newest iPhone launch, was lauded as technical nirvana by some, retail veterans know the industry has been testing Near Field Communication (NFC) and other advanced payment methods for more than a decade. Sure, Apple will benefit from recent retailer investments in NFC-equipped payment terminals from Hypercom, Ingenico and Verifone, but adoption of these terminals has been slow. In fact, NFC-enabled point-of-sale (POS) systems are in only a fraction of the nearly 9 million tills within the US.

So what does this mean? The iPhone’s mobile payment capabilities will change retail as we know it…eventually. 

The tech titan has an incredible ability to transform industries — just look what they did with the music industry — but this capability is more about driving retail forward over time rather than turning it on its side overnight. 

Here’s how I think they’ll do it.

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Sep 24

Was Urban Outfitters’ Apology For Kent State Sweatshirt Enough?


Urban Outfitters is in the headlines again for a fashion faux pas. The retailer targeting young consumers has come under fire for selling a faded, vintage style Kent University sweatshirt. But amidst the bleach splotches and holes was a splotch of red dye, leading consumers to believe the style call was meant to be reminiscent of the Kent State University massacre.

After the image of the sweatshirt went viral and consumers shared their outrage, Urban Outfitters issued an apology. But was it enough? The RTP staff weighs in: 

Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief: Once could be considered an honest mistake, but this company has become notorious for selling inappropriate items. And because negative publicity tends to help the brand, I hesitate to continue the conversation…

Alicia Fiorletta, Senior Editor: Urban Outfitters has developed quite a reputation over the past few years and it seems, like American Apparel, it isn’t just a series of honest mistakes. Rather, the folks at Urban Outfitters seem to think all press is good press. While that used to work, I’m not sure it will hold true this time. Given recent violent events (specifically, several shootings nationwide), the public is increasing awareness on violence and gun control. And with the history of the Kent State massacre, I think the connection is too strong for consumers to bear.  

Kim Zimmermann, Managing Editor: Some mistakes are a result of stupidity and/or laziness, and some are intentional. This seems to fall into the “intentional” category. On the other hand, DiGiorno using #WhyIStayed — a hashtag for victims of domestic violence to tell their stories — to promote pizza seems to fall into the stupid/lazy category and the company seems truly contrite when the error was pointed out. 

Rob Fee, Managing Editor: I don’t think Urban Outfitters offered much of an apology at all. Saying, “we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively,” is simply another way of saying it’s not sorry for what it did, it’s sorry for how the public reacted. Whether or not it was an unintentional discoloration, there was a complete absence of quality control. Given its its history of gaffes, I find it hard to believe this was unintentional, but I suppose I should expect no less from a retailer who once offered a T-shirt with an Obama/black color option. This should blow over for Urban Outfitters though. It has offended us before with minimal effect to its bottom line. It will, in all likelihood, offend us again.

Glenn Taylor, Associate Editor: I’ll be honest, the shirt did bring the brand to the front of my mind when I otherwise would have never thought about it, so I guess the company has that going for them. The apology has all the sincerity of a Roger Goodell press conference, and I think this a case of trying too hard to position the company as an “alternative” brand (see American Apparel). It was a tasteless attempt at humor, and combining this with the prior litany of controversies shows that the corporate culture really hasn’t progressed. I think less people will be inclined to purchase UO clothing and if the company stays on that track without some change, it will continue to see declining sales numbers.

Brian Anderson, Associate Editor: When it comes to the apology, there was nothing Urban Outfitters could say or do to aleave the situation. However, they managed to rub salt in the wounds by making the excuse that it was “discoloration from the original shade of the shirt.” Ultimately, you can make the argument that any publicity is good publicity, but that seems to be the case only for smaller brands — according to research highlighted in thisNew York Times article. Since Urban Outfitters has had several marketing ploys lead to consumer outcry, this will impact them much more negatively than past incidents. 

What do you think about this incident? Will the Urban Outfitters brand recover? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! 

Sep 23

Best Buy, Crate & Barrel And Pandora Execs To Present At Mobile Payments Conference


Payment is a necessary part of the retail experience. Over the past year, the overall importance of payment has come to the forefront, due to new technologies such as bitcoin and Apple Pay, and the onslaught of data breaches retailers across categories have faced. 

Best Buy, Crate & Barrel and Pandora are among the retail organizations that will be represented at the 2014 Mobile Payments Conference, which be held October 6-8, 2014, in Chicago. The complete agenda and speaker lineup is now available. 

Now in its seventh year, the Mobile Payments Conference will touch on a variety of hot topics, including: 

“Retail adoption of mobile payment strategies is shifting the paradigm of global commerce,” said Marla Ellerman, Executive Director of the Mobile Payments Conference. “The fall 2014 Conference is all about mobilizing retail, and will offer attendees unprecedented access to the industry leaders who will educate attendees about the latest mobile payments and mobile wallet solutions, services, standards and implementation strategies.”