DIAMONDS AREN'T SO FOREVER
The real way to woman's heart? Rented diamonds. Better yet, an unlimited subscription to rent as much fine jewelry as desired.
Sharing is caring, and Flont is taking advantage of the lending model introduced by Rent the Runway. The e-comm retailer specializing in high-end jewelry rentals offers a three tier shopping experience. Consumers have the option to become a member for $299 monthly (three month minimum), for an unlimited selection of up to $5,000. Alternatively, four day rentals are offered for non-members and lastly, shoppers can purchase directly from the site.
Flont's infancy in the luxury industry has had little affect on its customers. "So far, 10 percent of our members have ended up purchasing something that they borrowed." says Cormac Kinney, Flont Founder and CEO. The site currently stocks over 40 designers, ranging from Cartier to exclusive designers like Noor Fares, and a vintage collection to die for.
For jewelers, the direct-to-consumer model is a potential solution for customer acquisition and retention. The sharing economy is growing--consumers can't deny the 'fake it 'till you make it' appeal.
AMAZON INTRODUCES ADS
Amazon is the e-retail unicorn we never knew to exist. What started as a simple online marketplace has mutated into a multi-faceted megabrand, and it's kind of scary. Just when you thought the company was taking over with its cloud services, it's latest pursuit— advertising— has investors foaming at the mouth.
As the online retailer becomes more valued for its consumer impact and digital shelf space, Jeff Bezos latest blow to competitors could potentially uproot the entire advertising industry. Amazon's resources are unmatched: the site attracts 180 million US visitors a month by using its extensive data collection on customer preference to provide a seamless online shopping experience. The brand offers real-time insight to how a marketing campaign is performing on the platform. In comparison to traditional methods that typically take weeks to see ROI, Amazon's ads will offer instant results.
An advertising introduction could possibly place Amazon as the first company with a trillion dollar market value, making it even more of a unicorn than we thought.
RETAIL TRANSFORMING TECHNOLOGIES
To offset the downhill spiral of brick-and-mortar's future, an implementation of new technology developments can help avoid a repeat of 2017. In the past year, shutterings were up 200 percent from 2016 (more than 6,985).
Improving in-store value propositions and customer experience can be done by driving initiatives with artificial intelligence. AI has the ability to minimize forecasting errors by up to 50 percent, resulting in inventory reductions. “Retailers can leverage data to provide more seamless and personal experiences for customers, which increases conversion, repeat purchase and loyalty,” says Karen McCormick, chief investment officer at VC firm Beringea.
Additionally, adopting technology that creates an in-store alternative will give retailers competitive edge. Augmented reality allows the testing of physical products without having to go to store locations, bringing incentive to consumers to try on clothes virtually anywhere. Combined with facial recognition and the usage of QR codes, these tech features can create the ultimate customer shopping experience.
Which tools will your brand use?
WALMART MAKES CUTS
While Walmart plans to raise its hourly wages to $11, that couldn't circumvent the cutting of 1,000 corporate positions or the closing of 63 Sam's Club stores. The retailer wants to explore its structure and redfine operations, most likely in light Amazon's recent power moves.
The company talks of its goals to invest in store-level employees, but with store closings and e-comm acquisitions, those efforts aren't promising. Walmart's traditional brick-and-mortar model is taking a backseat to its digital investments like Bonobos, Modcloth, and Jet.com. Hopes for increasing product variation offered through Walmart.com and Jet.com take precedent, as the retailers shifts the limelight to boosting e-commerce sales.
For now, in-store jobs remain sound, and mid-level positions focusing on buy online/pickup in store will increase.
THIS WEEK'S BRIGHT SPOT
For decades, wool has been percieved as thick and downright itchy. Aside from warm winter coats, we usually only talk about the fabric when reffering to the rough blanket dedicated for colds and snow days.
Nonetheless, lets have a big hoorah for wool farmers and manufacteres, as the textile price has soared to a new high. Sneaker retailers are cracking down on sustainability efforts and swapping synthetic fibers for natural ones. New uses for wool has led to athletic clothing and sneakers, and the creations of products like the Adidas AG’s marquee Ultra Boost. Increased 'green' efforts will appeal most to Gen Y, who places higher importance on responsile sourcing than other demogrpahics.
Maybe now your grandma can pursue her dream of selling knitted scarves fulltime.