Retail Focus Online
Volume 7 - 2013
Now Open: Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
Home to more than 13,000 aquatic animals and 450 different species, Ripley's Aquarium is Canada's largest indoor aquarium. It opened this month in the heart of downtown Toronto, next to the CN Tower. Expected to draw over two million visitors a year, JGA designed the new attraction's Cargo Hold™ Gift Shop, the perfect shopping adventure to complete the Aquarium outing. The Gift Shop has a unique collection of marine-themed gifts and keepsakes from around the world as well as the work of local artisans. The Aquarium, a 135,000 square foot awe-inspiring attraction, has more than 1.5 million gallons of water depicting marine and freshwater habitats from around the world. For more, click here.
Soft Surroundings: Now at King of Prussia Mall

Dedicated to making you look and feel your best, Soft Surroundings just opened their lucky store number 13 in Pennsylvania. Their goal is to ensure that their customers maintain a unique sense of style without sacrificing comfort. Upon entering the store, the shopping retreat is framed with overscaled translucent curtains, providing a soft enclosure highlighting the company's bedding and bedroom furniture collection. A collection of found, repurposed and created fixturing inspired by wardrobe racks and residential furniture (including pieces from the founder's own collection) create a variety of scales. To see a grand opening video and more store views, click here.
Destination Maternity: Just Delivered New Locations!

Two new locations recently opened for Destination Maternity, the largest retailer of maternity apparel in the world, with a footprint of over 3,100 retail locations. The two newest stores are in Paramus NJ, across from the Paramus Park Mall. The second at the Town Center of Virginia Beach, also features the ultimate shopping experience for expecting and new moms. Among the new features are a relaxation area for family members, a juice bar, and a play area for children. Both stores take on a "Town Square" format with the fitting rooms and cashwrap relocated to the store center, evoking a communal vibe. For more, WWD subscribers read on here.
Dining by Design Fundraiser
a Success

DIFFA's DINING BY DESIGN was recently held as a fundraiser for the Michigan AIDS Coalition. With 28 table installations, the event began Thursday with a cocktail party, on Friday an art auction with 75+ art items were available for bid, and a gourmet feast was held Saturday, where patrons dined at the tables designed by the area's leading creative firms. JGA's installation, with partner Crypton, was a crowd favorite with an incredible array of blown glass by Pontiac's Epiphany Glass. Special thanks to our booth contributors including Sensitile Systems, Design Fabrications, W.E. Gingell Associates, Flooring Design, Inc., Trims Unlimited and Illuminating Concepts.
And the Winner Is:
Sensitile Systems

The winners of the IIDEX Canada Innovation Awards were recently announced by the Interior Designers of Canada. The JGA-designed Sensitile System's Booth glistened its way to both 2013 Gold and Silver Awards! Their exhibit demonstrates the unique light qualities the Sensitile product creates; as if walking through a bamboo forest where light refractions abound. The booth brings the product to life in an architectural setting, and whether surfacing the archway, countertops or focal walls, JGA used the Sensitile material to create a complex interplay of light, shadow, movement and color. For more, click here.

The New York Times: Ken Nisch on Augmented Reality for Automakers
Cacau Show (Brazil) Wins 2013 Emerging Market Retailer of the Year in Paris
VMSD Magazine: Ken Nisch on Accessories - Whose iPhone Cover are You Wearing?
Progressive Grocer (India): Ken Nisch Editorial on "Loving the Local"
Chicago Tribune: Patrick Dalessandro on Macy's "More than Cosmetic Change"
Handelsblatt (Germany): Ken Nisch on Tiffany's Branding and Iconic Blue Box

Omni-Channel Marketing is Altering the Retail Landscape, by Steven Keith Platt, Director & Research Fellow, Platt Retail Institute
The days of the traditional store-based retailer are over, as customers today follow many different paths to purchase. The result is that retailers must be prepared to meet the needs of their digitally savvy customers, no matter how the customer chooses to interact with them. Omni-channel Marketing (OCM) is proving to be the method by which retailers can ensure a seamless customer experience.

OCM refers to leveraging a singular customer view, which ensures personalized and relevant communications across all marketing channels to yield a consistent shopping experience. The objective is for all marketing channels to be integrated operationally and function together to reach and serve customers consistently, regardless of the preferred purchase channel. Contrast this with multi-channel marketing, which is the use of various marketing channels, including stores, websites, direct mail, catalogs, call centers, mobile platforms, and social networks to sell a product or service by targeting messages to isolated channels with differing demands for service.

The influences on customers today are numerous and varied, from the traditional brick-and-mortar store to online, television, print media, and the input of friends and family. In the past, a woman may have stepped out of a retail store dressing room to show an item of clothing to a friend or husband. Today, she is posting a photo on Instagram and Tweeting her friends for their opinions. While the comments roll in, she's checking for the same item at a lower price elsewhere.

Many believe, and we concur, that OCM is a retail game changer. Consider the importance of online shopping, for example. Forrester Research projects that online retail sales will increase from $231 billion in 2012 to $370 billion in 2017, for a compound annual growth rate from 2012 to 2017 of 9 percent (see Figure 1 below). Another survey, PriceGrabber's "2012 Shopping Outlook" (see chart at right) supports the view that retailers cannot ignore consistent communications with their customers regardless of the channel, with 45 percent of online shoppers indicating that they were using a combination of online, brick-and-mortar, and mobile shopping.

To gain additional insights on this topic, Platt Retail Institute (PRI) recently published its Research Article: "Corporate Attitudes and Adoption Trends of Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel Marketing." This research considers, among other things, multi-channel use and OCM adoption by retailers and other industries. Underlying factors that are driving these plans, as well as budgets allocated to implement these programs, were also considered.

Overall, PRI found that 43 percent of respondents are either currently evaluating an OCM strategy or plan to implement an OCM strategy within the next three years. These findings vary greatly by company size and the industry in which they operate. For example, 63 percent of firms with revenue over $500 million are either currently evaluating an OCM strategy or plan to implement an OCM strategy within the next three years.

The three most significant business challenges that are driving OCM adoption are: the concern that competitors may implement such a strategy first; the issue of falling behind in the technology that supports omni-channel commerce capabilities; and that the firm is not organized properly to serve the needs of omni-channel customers.

There are significant benefits for retailers who choose to adopt an OCM strategy. This includes increased revenue, but OCM is not just about driving revenue growth. Overall business performance benefits as well, for example, through improved efficiency in inventory management and operating more effectively as a result of improved processes and analytics.

For more information on OCM, download the full Research Article from the PRI website.

Steven Keith Platt is the Director and Research Fellow of the Platt Retail Institute, an international consulting and research firm that focuses on the use of technology to impact the customer experience. PRI works with its clients to develop marketing strategies that build brands by integrating various customer-facing technologies. Steven received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and Marketing from the Boston University School of Management. He also has a Law Degree and a LL.M. in Taxation from Boston University. For more information, visit his website at plattretailinstitute.org or email Steven here.

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