Remember when brands’ e-commerce and traditional retail departments duked it out for perceived revenue share? That’s old hat — today’s consumers opt for on-call shopping options ranging from mobile commerce to old-school bricks-and-mortar.Walker Sands, a public relations and digital agency for business-to-business technology companies, released its annual “Future of Retail 2017” report that cast a deep look into technology’s affect on consumer behavior and emerging buying preferences. The study polled 1,622 U.S. consumers to understand current shopping habits, preferences and views on emerging retail technology.Non-traditional shopping methods — buying on mobile, desktop or voice-controlled devices — are becoming status quo. “Nearly half of consumers [46 percent] now prefer to shop via a non-traditional channel, such as mobile, desktop or voice-controlled device, compared to 54 percent who still prefer the traditional in-store experience,” the report said.The retail landscape has become a leveled playing field. Consumers opt to shop regularly online — 61 percent of consumers said they show online at least once a month — but more than half the shoppers visit a brick-and-mortar weekly, the report shared.“The study findings show that physical stores could be making a comeback, especially among younger consumers who crave more authentic and engaging experiences,” the report said. “And as the lines start blurring between the online and physical shopping experiences, consumers are starting to get the best of both worlds.”Throwing technology into a store isn’t a fix-all. “Consumers pointed to unique experiences, including food and beverage offerings [30 percent], a more personalized shopping experience [18 percent] and entertainment [17 percent]” as main factors that motivate them to shop in-store. Cultivating a highly personalized, authentic and efficient — yet without rushing — atmosphere will draw Generation Z shoppers, especially.Newer technology like smart dressing rooms and virtual reality have yet to become mainstream expectations among shoppers of all ages. “By integrating technology with better experiences, like Amazon has done with its Go store, retailers can truly blend the best of both worlds,” the report said.And though they’re hesitant to embrace the aforementioned in-store features, consumers are much more willing to deploy voice-activation functionality — convenience is king.“Nearly one in five consumers [19 percent] have made a purchase through Amazon Echo or another voice-controlled device in the past year, and one in three consumers [33 percent] plan to make a purchase in the next year,” the report said. With the rise of Amazon Echo and the soon-to-market Apple HomePod, retailers and brands will encounter a new hurdle: curating a fresh perspective on shopper experiences that lacks a familiar user interface.This will require the alignment between once siloed internal departments — and bolster the continued cross-pollination between channels and platforms linked by authenticity and consistency of enhanced customer service.More from WWD:Millennial Confessional: What Makes Them Tick, Spend, ScrollOnline Retailers Lead Bricks-And-Mortar in Influencer MarketingIs Amazon the New Google?
"'Dynasty' is all about gowns, the diamonds and the scandal, so it's a bit like the fashion industry. When we come to Cannes it's all about the red carpet dresses too, so it all fit really well," said designer @philippplein78 on the theme of his high-glamour resort 2019 show at his mansion in Cannes. #wwdfashion #cannes (📷: @zefashioninsider)
"I think Spike is such a brilliant director because he holds up a mirror to society and reflects these issues, yet he doesn't shove it down your throat, he doesn't tell you what to think," says @lauraharrier on her latest film @Blackkklansman. Harrier was at the Cannes Film Festival – for the very first time – with @officialspikelee. #wwdeye #cannes (📷: @zefashioninsider)
“I would think to myself, Are you happy? Yes, I’m wildly happy. I go to this studio every day and, in my inside voices, I’m giggling; I’m singing. Yes, it’s a lot of work, it’s a [huge] volume of material. It wouldn’t be for everybody. But I was very happy,” said soap opera star @therealsusanlucci of checking in throughout the years with her career trajectory. Lucci spoke to WWD about her decades-long career, love for pilates, motherhood and her QVC activewear line. Read Bridget Foley’s full piece on Lucci on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: @celestesloman)
@balmain has taken a stand at the #cannes Film Festival, dressing 16 actresses at a press call for the project “Noire N’est Pas Mon Metier,” or “Black Is Not My Profession.” The multimedia project includes a book, photo exhibit and documentary, which aims to expose discrimination in the French and American entertainment industries. “The moment I was asked to participate, I knew it was right for me, and for this brand, to form a part of this moment,” Balmain creative director @olivier_rousteing told WWD. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
"I always feel curious and I feel like there's more to learn. But I think being relevant, feeling relevant, I personally always feel that there's just so much more to know. And maybe that's the key.” — @themarcjacobs #wwdsummits #wwdbeauty (📷: @patrickmacleodphoto )
“The most amazing thing about her is that, regardless of all the things that have happened to her, her spirit is so undaunted by all of it. She is the most cheerful person you will ever meet. She doesn’t see problems, she only sees solutions,” said @ajanaomi_king of activist Ifrah Ahmed, who she plays in a new film “A Girl from Mogadishu.” WWD caught up with King at Cannes — Head to WWD.com to read more about her new role, personal style and how she uses social media for causes like Time’s Up and Black Lives Matter #wwdeye
WWD asked a number designers to share their thoughts on what Meghan Markle’s wedding gown will look like this Saturday. Here, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli sketches his look. #wwdfashion #royalwedding #meghanmarkle