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    Store Trends: July 2016 (by nrf)


    Beyonce may have been on to something when she sang, “if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it” — at least as it relates to what some might consider the ultimate betrayal: Finding out that your significant other watched an episode of “House of Cards” without you.

    Now there’s a way to jettison that brand of unfaithfulness. Series Commitment Rings from Cornetto — yes, Cornetto the ice cream brand — are a pair of near field communication bands that are linked to a video streaming service account for six months. The rings are designed to avert Netflix partners from watching, unless the other is sitting alongside them.

    Netflix partners begin by downloading the Series Commitment app and selecting the series they want to watch. When the rings are close to each other, the app detects them and automatically unlocks those series. If either person tries to watch the show without their partner, the series will be blocked, preventing them from watching ahead.

    For today’s hippest couples, Netflix can be the glue that holds relationships together — or a source of irreconcilable conflict.


    Visa has introduced a payment ring. The first of its kind, the ring is backed by a Visa account and will be given to all 45 Team Visa Olympic athletes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    The ring uses a built-in NFC-enabled antenna that enables contactless payment capabilities. Unlike many other payment wearables, the ring does not require use of a battery or recharging.

    Obviously rings have a pretty meaningful significance to Olympic athletes, but what about the rest of us?

    Visa recently demonstrated an advanced prototype of the payment ring in New York City. Intended for use on a more widespread basis, this payment ring uses token technology and replaces sensitive payment information with a unique digital identifier in order to process payments without exposing any account details.

    Now it’s just a question of how quickly Visa can bring the technology to the masses … and whether retailers already fighting high credit card swipe fees and new chip cards that lack a PIN will accept this latest card industry expansion.


    There’s that word again: “phygital.” It keeps popping up, and this time it’s being used to describe the new True Religion store that recently opened in London.

    The bi-level store, described by CEO John Ermatinger as “small, intimate and bright” — embodies “phygital” retail. The bricks-and-mortar space is blended with a series of digital advancements with the intent of providing each shopper with a more personalized experience.

    The 2,500-square-foot store features men’s apparel on the ground floor and women’s and children’s one level below. A “denim bar” is designed to showcase product, spark conversation and prompt conversions, and five digital screens on the ground floor run True Religion advertising campaigns. Dubbed the “Digital Runway,” the screens never fade to black. They are intended to catch people’s eye and create the feeling that there’s always something happening in the store.

    Also in play here is Apple Watch technology, which can be used to up- and cross-sell, tapping into customers’ purchase histories and giving associates the opportunity to offer informed purchase recommendations and access products from other stores around the globe.

    The Carnaby Street store is also home to NBA star and True Religion ambassador Russell Westbrook’s 15-piece exclusive clothing line.


    There’s rarely a dearth of news coming from Apple, but the company has been grabbing headlines on an almost daily basis for the past several months.

    At Apple’s recent Worldwide Developers Conference, it was announced that Apple Pay will be coming to Safari on the new Mac OS, allowing Mac owners to use Apple Pay while shopping on the web.

    Why does that matter? “It’s going to drive more interest in Apple Pay,” says Matt Schulz,’s senior industry analyst. “However, it’s also a great thing for consumers because it will help make online shopping much safer. … Banks, retailers and consumers desperately want a way to make online shopping safer, and integrating Apple Pay’s fingerprint sensor technology is an important step.”

    A few weeks earlier, SAP and Apple announced a partnership to revolutionize the mobile work experience for enterprise customers of all sizes by combining powerful native apps for iPhone and iPad with the capabilities of the SAP HANA platform. The joint effort will also deliver a new iOS software development kit and training academy so that developers, partners and customers can easily build native iOS apps tailored to their business needs.

    Lori Mitchell-Keller, global general manager of SAP’s consumer industries organization, believes the ability to extend enterprise solutions to devices will drive innovation. “SAP is really good at building strong, secure enterprise software and Apple is the leader at building devices that have intuitive user interfaces,” she says. “Bringing that expertise together could produce some magic.”

    Some other key pieces of news:

    Apple will soon launch an app called Home that will allow users to connect and control all of their HomeKit-enabled smart home devices for handheld iPads and iPhones.
    A USA Technologies study related to point-of-sale advertising promoting the use of Apple Pay found that when consumers use their iPhone enabled with Apple Pay, they’re likely to spend more: Once prompted by the ad, there was a 26 percent increase in overall transactions and 22 percent bump in total revenue.


    Barnes & Noble is blushing about its newest concept, The Glossary. Using a clever play on words, the bookstore is getting into the beauty game with a concept that brings a Sephora-like experience to on-campus Barnes & Noble College bookstores.

    The store-within-a store setup provides students with an assortment of established brands such as Smashbox, Bliss and Philosophy along with more mainstream collections like CoverGirl, Burt’s Bees and Maybelline. The format encourages experimentation, inviting students to explore, sample and purchase a wide variety of skincare and beauty products.

    The Glossary’s origin is rooted in student focus group discussions that uncovered a gap in access to beauty products on campus; student input influenced everything from the range of items available to the decision to utilize self-service browsing.

    The concept was tested at Emory University and Southern Methodist University bookstores and has since expanded to Tulane University and the College of William and Mary. In August, The Glossary will open on the campus of the University of California at Riverside.

    6/ DON’T BOX ME IN

    When is a box not just a box? When it’s a smartphone holder, a geometric planter or even a three-dimensional llama.

    Last month Zappos began shipping a number of shoes in a limited-edition white box that encourages recipients to reuse, refashion or repurpose the container in new, inventive ways. These specially designed boxes are created with a collection of templates printed on the inside.

    Part of a campaign dubbed “I’m Not A Box,” the message prompts shoppers to think outside the box. An accompanying television commercial features a woman’s voice narrating the message that Zappos wants to help customers spend time on what is important. It is not just a box, Zappos is not just an online retailer “and you’re not just a customer. You’re our best customer.”

    Zappos is making a play to dispel the image of the faceless online retailer in favor of a missive it hopes will ring true for shoppers drawn to a reuse/repurpose initiative. When one considers the amount of cardboard that the average person now deals with as a result of the uptick in online shopping, the idea of suggesting that a box can have a second life instead of filling up a landfill could be a powerful one.


    Glass Door is out with its annual Employees’ Choice Award for the Highest Rated CEOs. The winners were determined based on employee feedback shared on Glassdoor over the past year.

    The top three among companies with more than 1,000 employees are Bain and Company’s Bob Bechek, Ultimate Software’s Scott Scherr and McKinsey and Company’s Dominic Barton.

    A handful of retail and restaurant CEOs placed in the top 50, including Lynsi Snyder of In-N-Out Burger (No. 17), Charles C. Butt of H-E-B (No. 19), Chet Cadieux III of QuikTrip (No. 26) and Craig Jelinek of Costco (No. 46).


    In case you were not convinced, vegan is officially a white hot trend. Food options abound, and vegan apparel and cosmetics are quickly becoming mainstays, too.

    Categories of products that were once almost exclusively higher-priced options are now available for the masses. Éclair Naturals, a vegan beauty collection, recently made its debut at 4,000 Rite Aid drugstores nationwide. The collection, comprised of 55 products in 14 categories, includes handcrafted bar soaps, shampoos, lotions and deodorants. Most items are priced less than $10 and all are certified by Leaping Bunny, made in the United States and free from sulfates, GMOs, soy and gluten.

    “Being vegan and cruelty-free is part of our inherent brand promise,” says Éclair Naturals’ co-founder and CEO John Matisse.

    The beauty industry has seen an influx of vegan beauty additions including Too Faced, Kat Von D, Josie Maran and Hard Candy. Not surprisingly, Gwyneth Paltrow’s edible line for organic company Juice Beauty is vegan, too. And last month Credo Beauty opened a second store on Prince Street in New York; the first is in San Francisco. The store is exclusively focused on natural beauty products and features a selection of brands that use only safe, sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients.

    Original article by NRF can be found here:

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