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?
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion