As legacy retailers struggle with what to do with their large store footprint, there's a growing industry of retail-as-a-service companies that are pitching them on software and services that they say will help them make better use of in-store space.
REI is extending Opt Outside. The retailer is again closing its stores and websites this Black Friday so employees can, ostensibly, go outside. This year, it’s also starting an Opt to Act program, joining a nationwide clean-up effort to collect trash, clean up their neighborhoods and tackle waste. (The company is also rethinking its own business model to use fewer plastic bags and be close to zero waste by 2020.)
Starbucks is opening a store only for online orders. It's a way for customers to not have to deal with a long line coffee drinks. It's also a growing trend for retailers, who are looking for cheaper ways to try new services and location concepts.
Big-box retailers are starting to make bigger pushes into health care to target older shoppers. This week, Best Buy announced that it hired its first chief medical officer and announced at an investor meeting its plans to ramp up services like remote monitoring of seniors. Last month, Walmart began piloting a new standalone health care clinic in Georgia that offers primary care and mental health services.
Starbucks just announced a new store concept that allows customers to order their drinks online and more quickly and easily pick them up. It's not the only retailer seeking out new ways to reinvigorate physical spaces.
As shopping moves online and staple retailers increasingly close their doors, developers have been working to revive the draw of the mall. An audacious attempt to reinvigorate the American mall is taking shape in the dreary swamplands of East Rutherford, just outside New York City.
Brick-and-mortar remains an important sales channel for any mall-based retailer, but especially those whose most frequent customers are teenagers. According to a study last year from the International Council of Shopping Centers, 95% of Gen Z shoppers visited a mall between February and April 2018, compared to 75% of millennial and 58% of Gen X shoppers.
Target just announced that its opened around 100 small format stores. These curated shops -- generally in metropolitan locations -- have helped the big box retailer expand and provide more localized offerings. But past retailers have made the same scaled-back attempt and failed.
As big-box retailers like Target, Walmart and Kohl's are grappling with how to defend their business against Amazon's endless aisles, they are finding that in order to gain sales traction in certain categories, offering a curated, sometimes smaller assortment is key.
In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Nike and Foot Locker announced today that they'll let customers at Foot Locker's newest store, located in the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan, use the Nike app in-store. It's indicative of the way that wholesale relationships are evolving.
Children's apparel brand Rockets of Awesome is opening its first pop-up store in New York City on August 8. As a company that caters to both children and parents, it's looking at its store as a way to figure out how they want to shop together.
As grocers look to generate more sales through in-store pickup and delivery they're facing challenges similar to other big box retailers, who have found that stores only double so well as fulfillment centers. Chains like ShopRite and Kroger are looking to build more automated warehouses that can fulfill delivery orders more quickly and more cost efficiently.
Retailers continue to partner with startups to explore implementing Amazon Go-like checkout solutions, but efforts are still in the early stages, particularly as the growth of Amazon Go hasn't quickened as retailers previously feared.
Like other digitally native brands, ThirdLove is opening its retail store to get in front of customers they weren’t reaching online through marketing efforts, or because they didn’t want to shop a brand for the first time online. By opening a store now, ThirdLove is catching up to other direct-to-consumer brands that have already tested temporary retail stores and are opening permanent ones.
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