TENANT UPDATE

Celebrity to debut her first standalone store

BY Marianne Wilson

Sarah Jessica Parker will be among the retail tenants at a new luxury retail center.

The actress-cum-designer will open her first freestanding store on Dec. 8, at MGM National Harbor, a new resort and upscale retail center just outside of Washington, D.C. The store, called SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, will feature the brand’s collection of shoes, handbags, accessories, and its new LBD (little black dress line) line. (The SJP brand launched in 2014 in upscale department stores.)A second store is expected to open, in Las Vegas, followed by one in New York City, The New York Post reported, but no dates were given.

"Opening a standalone store has long been a dream we have been working towards and we feel truly privileged to be doing so with the expertise, guidance and support of our brilliant partners at MGM Resorts," said Parker. "It's been very exciting to have been involved in all steps of the process, from on-site construction visits to the actual layout and design of our boutique.”

Price points in the store will range from $30 to $695 for accessories and handbags, with shoes starting at $240 and the dress collection at $395.

"When curating our retail collection, we first and foremost wanted to align ourselves with a luxury brand that represents style, elegance and, most of all, fun,” said Bill Boasberg, general manager of MGM National Harbor, which is owned by Resorts International and located in National Harbor, Maryland. “We know this boutique will appeal to a wide variety of women and we're looking forward to inviting them in to discover their new favorite shoe, handbag or little black dress."

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Settling the New Frontier: How Retailers can Pave the Path to Purchase

BY CSA STAFF

Incorporating digital components into the physical store is the next frontier for retailers. You see, customers’ expectations have grown while their attention spans have shrunk. Some reports have even found that goldfish (yes, you read that right, goldfish) have a longer attention span than humans.

To pique shoppers’ interest and lead them into the store, innovative retailers have begun to test the waters with new digital technologies, from beacons to RFID to digital signage and more. Look no further than Adidas Golf and the company’s use “Lift and Learn” technology in its Canadian locations. Shoppers can easily compare and instantly access additional product details at the point of decision without solely relying on busy sales associates.

But where should you begin, and which technologies are essential as you get started?

Here are three tips for successfully settling in:

Build a strategic war chest

When looking at which digital technologies will strengthen your in-store experience, one essential piece that serves as the cornerstone of interactive and engaging encounters is digital signage.

More than just a variation of paper signage, digital signage can easily be woven into brick-and-mortar store design, and grab and hold consumers’ attention more effectively. In fact, video analytics have proven that digital signage has the power to drive an 89% increase in views and 52% increase in attention time over paper signage.

Always leave a lasting customer impact

Seventy-four percent of US-based retailers today believe that developing a more engaging in-store customer experience is going to be critical. To do this, you should look to create a layered digital ecosystem that takes advantage of multiple form factors and technologies, and weave them together to create a seamless and engaging customer experience.

One company that has done this well is Madam Tussauds. The company’s Times Square location in New York City recently wanted to find a new way to entice people in from the sidewalk. Working with key trusted partners, Madame Tussauds installed a larger-than-life 13×12 foot LED screen in the lobby that spotlights current exhibits and stuns passersby. The installation has improved traffic, brand awareness, and ultimately, increased foot traffic into the museum.

But, remember, don’t implement digital elements into your stores just for the sake of doing digital. The goal of creating a positive, immersive and engaging customer experience must be paramount and ever present in your mind as you bring your stores to life, blending the online and offline experiences.

Bring it all to life

As shoppers’ expectations have increased, they have come to anticipate that retailers will approach them with personalized, 1:1 messages that reflect their history and relationship with the brand, as well as the items they’re interested in at that moment.

To leverage real-time behaviors and customer preferences to optimize messages, you can employ beacons, mobile apps, or RFID technology. All of these options provide a proven way to measure where a shopper is, how much time she is spending on an item, determine her past purchase history, understand what size she’s looking for, identify related items for upsell opportunities, and more. It all depends on the approach you want to take.

No matter which path you choose, digital signage provides the opportunity to bring the online experience to life and deliver meaningful in-store experiences that won’t be forgotten any time soon. Whether you’re looking to build an interactive style advisor that helps sales associates make more on-trend outfit recommendations or rollout RFID sensor-enabled holders to take shopper engagement with products to the next level, or experiment with beacon technology and mobile apps to bring the online experience into the store, digital signage ties it all together and helps to deliver a seamless path to purchase.


Dina Townsend is VP of Retail for Scala, a leader in intelligent digital communications solutions.

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FINANCE

Cyber Monday brings in record haul

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Cyber Monday has made history — again.

With shoppers spending $3.45 billion online on Cyber Monday, Nov. 28, a 12.1% jump year-over-year, sales not only surpassed predictions, but made this the largest Cyber Monday shopping event to date, according to Adobe Digital Insights, which aggregated data from 23 billion visits to retail websites.

Mobile spending on Cyber Monday started off strong early in the day, then slowed in the evening hours. However, it still generated $1.07 billion, a 34% YoY increase. Interestingly, this was $130 million less than Black Friday.

Specifically, mobile accounted for 47% of visits to retail web sites (38% through smartphones, and 9% via tablets: 9%) and 31% of sales (22% from smartphones, and 9% through tablets). The slight decrease is indicative that consumers were shopping from their desktops and laptops in the late evening, according to Adobe.

Conversions were well above holiday averages, with smart phones at 2.8%, tablets at 5.1% and desktops at 6.3% (compared to holiday averages of 1.3, 2.9 and 3.2%, respectively). The average order value (AOV) on iOS smartphones ($141) was slightly higher compared to Android smartphones ($128), Adobe said.

The holiday shopping season so far (November 1-28, 2016) has driven a total of $39.97 billion in online revenue, a 7.6% increase YoY. Given the strong performance of online shopping sales over Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday, Adobe affirms its projection that the holiday shopping season will drive $91.6 billion in online sales.

“Cyber Monday was one for the history books this year, bringing in $3.45 billion and making it the biggest online shopping day ever,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst, Adobe Digital Insights.

“Consumers converted carts into purchases at record high levels before the season, and likely the year's lowest price deals ended,” she added. “It’s an incredible milestone, but it’s also incredible that Black Friday inched so close to Cyber Monday this year, generating only $110 million less in online sales. We’ll be watching this closely next year as Black Friday could be the one to top the records.”

The top-selling electronics on Cyber Monday were the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox, Samsung 4K TVs, Apple iPhone and Amazon Fire. Lego sets, Nerf, Shopkins, Barbie and Pie Face Game were the top-selling toys. Shoppers found their kids’ most coveted Christmas wishes via search ads (38.5% of sales) and direct sales (25.3% of sales) —both of which drove the majority of sales on Cyber Monday. Shopper Helper sites like CNET and RetailMeNot drove 16% of sales and email drove 18.1% of sales, Adobe said.

As expected, many shoppers were attracted by retailers’ sales. The highest price drops were seen for televisions (which had an average discount of 21.4%), tablets (21.1%), toys (14.6 %), pet care (11.8 %) and computers (11.1%). Also, from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, the percent of purchased products that featured the same price across multiple retailers increased to 32% this year from 26% in 2015. This illustrates that online retailers are matching each other's prices, and consumers are taking advantage of it, the firm said.

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