Summary of “From Muji to Ikea: Why the best retailers think like UX designers”

According to a study by PwC and SAP, just half of retailers are meeting these expectations.
Whether they’re digital-first companies like Stitch Fix or long-standing brands like Ikea, winning retailers embrace human-centered design.
Consumers want in-person experiences-in fact, online retailers that open brick-and-mortar locations report a five- to eight-fold increase in sales.
In New York, Muji has experimented with retail concepts including a DIY essential oil bar and an embroidery service.
While tech plays a significant role in helping people shop on their terms, retail should also involve a human touch.
Because smart speakers bridge the online and offline worlds, they offer retailers a new way to interact with shoppers beyond the moment of making a purchase.
The voice space is quickly growing, and soon we’ll see many more retailers create apps that bring shopping into the home.
Retailers will need to understand how every touchpoint with their brand contributes to a holistic experience.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Welcome to Blaine, the town Amazon Prime built”

As the only US border town located in the shadow of a major Canadian city, Blaine’s economy is uniquely dependent on the relationship between the two countries.
Blaine’s handful of residents have grown accustomed to a regular stream of Canadians who come to town specifically to pick up their US packages.
For these Canadians, Blaine is simply a mailing address: the nearest, cheapest, and most convenient way to order packages from Amazon and other major US retailers.
As Amazon continues to step up its Canadian operations and a growing number of American retailers have made it easier to ship to Canada, Canadians are no longer as dependent on their US mailing addresses.
In 2017, Blaine collected nearly $1.7 million in sales tax, which is two to five times the amount collected by comparably sized towns not on the Canadian border.
In the past two years, Amazon’s Canadian arm has driven up growth in its Prime memberships, introduced same-day delivery in select cities, and vastly extended both the range and number of products available in its Canadian store.
What’s good news for Canadian shoppers could be bad news for Blaine.
If Amazon sets up its own lockers in Blaine – as Amazon.com has in more than 50 US cities and Amazon.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Selling by Smartphone Is About to Conquer Global E-Commerce”

The future of retail isn’t e-commerce or omni-channel or pop-up shops or geo-fenced flash sales.
As social media consumerism cultivates a growing crop of scrappy brands, these retail entrepreneurs are skipping the computer altogether, instead displaying and selling products exclusively via smartphone.
Back in August 2016, Facebook Inc.-owned Instagram began letting its users click through the phone app to a brand’s retail site.
Salesforce.com says 5 percent of digital retail traffic now flows through social channels.
Tictail made the shift toward handheld retailing after noticing that mobile purchases had jumped from being 40 percent of its transactions to 70 percent in the span of 18 months.
Over the past year, the shopping site has seen a three-fold increase in retailers who do business entirely by phone, according to Lynsey Thornton, vice president of user experience.
Ultimately, social shopping platforms are bulldozing yet another of retail’s barriers to entry.
With the rise of handheld retail, a virtually unlimited commercial space is opening up, one in which marketing, shipping and catalogs cost the wannabe retailer next to nothing; the only real overhead is the price of an iPhone.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Nordstrom’s New York Store Is Like Shopping Online-Only in Real Life”

Nordstrom’s executives believe that shoppers in New York are more fashion-forward than anywhere else in the world, so its hits visitors in the mouth with fashion: the first thing entrants to the store find is a colorful temporary display from avant-garde Japanese brand Comme des Garçons, designed to court savvy New York customers, along with the parade of international tourists leaking from Central Park, just two blocks away.
By sizing up the retailer and its new store, we can get an accurate portrait of what a successful department store looks like in 2018.
Nordstrom’s new store is situated near Columbus Circle, in a neighborhood of New York that isn’t necessarily known for its great shopping and might be a trek for some of its customers.
There are other ways Nordstrom will use digital means to get customers shopping IRL. There are the obvious and low-effort ones, like buy online and pick-up in store, an express return station where customers can put clothes in a bag and drop them in a bin, an option to ship items same-day from the store, and 24-hour pickup so customers can buy an item online and even if they turn up at 3 a.m. someone will meet them at the store with whatever fashion someone buys at ungodly hours.
“Whereas the store is the place for discovery. It’s a place where you stumble upon things, where you learn about new brands, new fashion trends, and you find things that you didn’t know you had to have.”
If Nordstrom ever wants to open abroad, this New York store is its chance to get off on the right foot with those future customers.
Nordstrom is hoping that, by bringing the things we love about online shopping to real life, it can win your business.
The web is omnipresent-but with its massive new store in New York, Nordstrom is hoping to be omnipresent, too.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The world’s hottest shopping city is becoming a ghost town”

If you want to see the future of storefront retailing, walk nine blocks along Broadway from 57th to 48th Street and count the stores.
The people invested in storefront retailing – real-estate developers, landlords and retail companies themselves – tell us not to worry.
Bricks-and-mortar retail is shrinking so swiftly and on such a wide scale, it’s going to require big changes in how we plan our new buildings and our cities – although nobody wants to admit it.
Does anyone doubt that it will rise further? Yet real-estate developers are adding to the surplus by putting millions of square feet of retail space into big new Manhattan mixed-use projects from the far West Side to Delancey Street.
Just about every individual new office tower, apartment building and hotel opens with “Prime” retail space in search of tenants.
New York’s vacancy crisis is due to the same factors that wiped out malls and chain stores across the United States: the rise of online shopping, private-equity takeovers that saddled retailers with too much debt, and shoppers’ changing tastes.
We can still avoid becoming a retail ghost town like many of the country’s malls.
To increase demand for our dark storefronts, the city must roll back zoning rules in some neighborhoods that require even more retail in new buildings whether there’s demand for them or not.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Last Great Clothing Store”

Though he has plenty of options at home in New York, he prefers Boyds, he said, because the treatment is attentive but also laid-back, owing to the personal approach.
It’s very possible that Boyds isn’t just one of a dying breed of old-fashioned retailers, however.
Last week, Boyds unveiled a new women’s ready-to-wear, handbag and shoe department that covers the entire first floor and mezzanine level.
Boyds has in fact sold women’s wear since 1993, but never with the focus, success or renown equal to its men’s wear, which accounts for 80 percent of its business.
In 2005 the store introduced a jeweler and a cafe run by the French chef George Perrier, of the famous Philadelphia restaurant Le Bec-Fin, to alter the entrenched perception of Boyds as an old boys’ club, a place where female shoppers weren’t understood or entirely welcomed.
Even today, many people are surprised to learn the store sells woman’s wear, which Kent Gushner, the president and chief executive of Boyds, finds maddening.
His grandfather, Alexander Gushner, a Russian-Jewish immigrant, started with a tiny cigar shop, branched into selling shirts and ties to office workers, then opened Boyds with his brother in 1938.
Kent’s father, Gerald Gushner, poured his life into making Boyds a success.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to bring a high street back from the dead”

According to the Centre for Retail Research, more than 11,000 major high street outlets have gone bust since 2008, affecting almost 140,000 employees.
What is certain is that the traditional high street of the last 50 years, founded on chain stores and well-known brands, is undergoing a brutal transformation.
Less than a mile away, a stroll down Bishopthorpe Road reveals many of the elements that are on everyone’s wishlist for a decent local high street: a handful of excellent cafes and restaurants, hardware shop, chemist, baker, two greengrocers, a brace of small supermarkets, pub, bike shop, deli and butcher.
The street was voted Britain’s best high street in 2015.
What is really fascinating about this success is that it is not a glamorous location, a street laden with tourist attractions or backed by upmarket housing; it is a socially mixed area and, at first glance, a very ordinary British shopping street.
“The measurements for success from engineers were about how many cars or people we could move through a space as quickly as possible. But there was very little conversation about how people actually use, enjoy and love streets, and how lingering should actually be a measurable definition of success for a great street.”
In the past people went to the high street for shopping and work, just like today, but they also went for entertainment and leisure.
Since then independent shops have moved in, accounting for 89% of retail growth, and making Ely high street a success story akin to York’s Bishopthorpe Road. Gehl’s influence is apparent in healthy cities all around the world.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Small Town Kept Walmart Out. Now It Faces Amazon.”

He’s been successful in Greenfield, his hometown and the site of his first battle with Walmart, and in dozens of other towns across the country-victories he documents on his website Sprawl-Busters, an “International Clearinghouse on Big Box Anti-Sprawl Information.” Partly because of Norman’s efforts to keep out such stores, Greenfield still has a Main Street with dozens of businesses, including a bookstore, a record store, and Wilson’s, one of the last independently owned department stores in the country.
Many customers who kept shopping in Greenfield’s downtown because Walmart was too far away are now turning to Amazon and other websites that offer free and fast shipping for basic needs, sapping business away from local stores that had survived for so long.
Home Furnishing Co., a 100-year-old store in downtown Greenfield, closed last year, and then Magical Child, a toy store on the brink of closing, partnered with a local bookstore, World Eye Bookshop, to remain open, consolidating into one storefront.
His Greenfield location produces only a small part of his revenues-if he makes $50 in a day in his store, it’s a good day, he said.
He drove me by both sites when I was in town, and both are still tree-filled fields, rather than the big stores developers had envisioned.
Lisa Cocco, the owner of Opus, a Main Street boutique selling small gifts like jewelry, pottery, and wind chimes that has been around for 28 years, said that when she thought Walmart was coming to Greenfield, she opened a second store in another town because she didn’t think her original location could withstand the retailer’s presence.
Small businesses in other towns that successfully kept big-box stores out are also having trouble.
In Randolph a Vermont town that recently fought off a proposal to build a shopping mall and a hotel on the outskirts of town, Belmain’s, a variety store that has been in business since 1934, announced in October that it would close.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Malls and the future of American retail”

Piano isn’t the only capital-A architect working on the American mall.
SHoP Architects has three mall projects underway in New York right now: Empire Outlets, on Staten Island, the Market Line, part of the Essex Crossing megadevelopment, and Pier 17, where ground-floor retail and food by David Chang and Jean-Georges mingle with public waterfront.
The mall of the future is architecturally ambitious, includes plants and water features, judiciously sprinkled with local retailers and food options, and surrounded not by a donut of surface parking lot but with housing, hotels, even educational facilities.
“In the new projects we are doing, it is hard to see where the city stops and the shopping center starts,” says Matt Billerbeck, senior vice president at CallisonRTKL, an international design and planning firm that has worked on the Ala Moana Shopping Center, Tysons Corner Center, the King of Prussia, and many more high-performing malls.
Although born of the suburbs, the mall today is being reabsorbed by the city, internalizing parking and orienting itself to transit, even future transit like autonomous vehicles.
All the mockery of the idea of Apple Stores as “Town squares” multiplies tenfold-though malls, at least, must incorporate public bathrooms.
The new urban malls must be responsible about the semi-public part of the equation.
At City Point in downtown Brooklyn-the closest mall to my house-I’ve found a retail experience that promises improvement but offers less than the city surrounding it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When Malls Saved the Suburbs From Despair”

A lot of the stores are located in shopping malls.
The reasons are many, including economic downturn, the rise of internet commerce, the decline of the suburbs-even just the opening of newer malls, which cannibalize older ones.
Good riddance to these cathedrals to capitalism, many think, as they pore over apocalyptic photos of abandoned malls in ruins.
The malls would be for shopping, yes, but also offer food, relaxation, and green space.
The American suburbs lack the density of daily encounters that characterizes the modernist cities of Europe, and the mall provided a space where people could amble in thick proximity.
For one part, malls put products in places where they otherwise might not have been accessible.
Malls are prisons for commerce, but at least the commerce stays inside them.
The wooziness of disorientation and recycled air is a design feature of malls and casinos alike; it keeps people around, but it also presses them out.

The orginal article.