Being a resident of San Francisco, one advantage of is the amount of shopping within walking distance. This year several retailers timed their store openings and remodel to coincide with the holiday season shopping, which is expected to grow 4.1 percent over last holiday season, according to National Retail Federation.
These retailers understand they are competing against “showrooming” with E-commerce only retailers and consumer uncertainties over the economy. Many have developed unique shopping experiences to attract customers and here are some that stood out for me this holiday season before I head over to New York for the NRF 2013 Convention in January.
Uniqlo is a Japanese based international fashion retailer which opened its San Francisco store this October with great fanfare, including enlisting Japanese YouTube feline star Maru to promote their San Francisco store opening.
Some of the things that stood out for me at the store are:
- Incorporation of visual technologies from digital signs and “virtual mirror” to make the store experience similar to online web sites.
- Environmental displays such as dynamic colored staircase and motorized mannequins to reinforce the dynamic image of the brand experience.
The modern photo booth where people can take and print photos, but also have the option to have the picture Emailed and opt in for future communications. I thought that was a good way to collect customer information and also to drive their new E-Commerce web site which went live this year.
One approach for retailers to combat showrooming” is to offer unique items that are not found by other online retailers. Both Neiman Marcus has a long tradition with the Christmas book while Target’s had recent success with its collaboration collaboration with Missoni.
For this Christmas, Neiman Marcus and Target collaborated for a line of exclusive items from 24 designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs and Diane von Furstenberg.
The items are sold in both retailers (Photos about are taken at Neiman Marcus and Target Store) and the collaboration is planned to last until the new year.
Looking ahead, I see brand collaborations and limited release merchandising to be the norm for many fashion retailers looking to differentiate from competition.
The recently remodeled Metreon shopping mall created an entertainment venue anchored by the new Target store.
Just in time for the holidays, the Metreon mall features a number of restaurants and a movie theater to compliment the Target anchor store. Some of the more interesting features include:
- Guest Wi Fi in the food court area to check Email and browse the internet while dining.
- Long row of self service kiosk for movie tickets that integrated to Fandango for fast ticket purchase
- Integrated loyalty program for the restaurants to support traffic in the restaurants and food court which helps generate traffic to the retail tenants.
New York Times article earlier this year “Retailers Idea: think smaller in Urban Push” outlined strategies from retailers such as Target to expand from the suburb to urban area.
Features of this store that make this fit well to the neighborhood include:
- Guest Wi Fi to help shoppers stay connected while shopping. A logical step next step would be integration to my Target iPhone app
- Digital sign as you enter the store for dynamic promotions
- The layout is very similar to the suburb Target so there is no re-learning of the layout. Items are familiar though merchandise mix including grocery is adjusted to fit into the size and demographics. There are more options for smaller packaging and travel sizes. As the store gathers more information from the shopping patterns, I expect more adjustments in merchandising to fit the neighborhood.
I hope everyone have a great holiday season in 2012 and I look forward to seeing you all in New York at the National Retail Federation Convention in Cisco’s booth #252. Please come by and experience Cisco’s retail technology solutions that will power tomorrow’s shopping experiences.
If you have other shopping experiences to note, please add them to the comments.