Blog

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It has become clear over the last few years, that customers prefer businesses, that offer a combination of digital commerce and retail. They want to benefit from the best of both worlds: to be able to shop whenever and wherever they want and to get professional customer consulting as they like. Therefore, it is completely unnecessary for the retail to be afraid of the digital commerce. Both business concepts have far more in common than they think. This means, that successful future commerce will always include several strategies, concepts and channels.

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MonteNapoleone VIP Lounge. Photo courtesy of Associazione MonteNapoleone
MonteNapoleone VIP Lounge. Photo courtesy of Associazione MonteNapoleone

Care to go truffle hunting in Alba? Interested in spinning around Lake Como in a Ferrari? (My answers: yes and yes please!). Perhaps an hour-long session on perfecting your posture, taught by a former Italian model, is more your thing. Then again, maybe you’d enjoy relaxing in a VIP Lounge, nestled in a stately villa on the famous shopping street Via Montenapoleone. For luxury retailers’ top clients, all kinds of shopping magic awaits in this VIP Lounge, which I was given a tour of as part of my consumer research during a recent business trip to Milan. For instance, a personal shopper can bring a client every red dress in their size from every store in the area, if that’s what their heart desires. Welcome to the ultimate in luxury retail, Italian style.

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If Apple, Uber and Amazon have one thing in common, it’s the way they have succeeded in changing customer consumption by blurring the distinction between products and services. Not only do these tech giants merge technology and usability to create cutting-edge features, but also they set the standard for user-focused design.

However, UX should not be reduced to a catalogue of best practices for retailers to boost their conversion rate. Rather, UX defines itself as the key point on which customer engagement will be based.

The end of “mass consumption”: when brands have to engage with their customers.

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I love Retail! But does Retail love me?

Retail is not an easy business, especially today with all the changes in behaviors, technology and demand/offer. It has to be agile but also in a constant self reinvention. It needs to generate pleasure and envy not only because it’s its job but also because it has become a sort of leisure asset mixed with a media attitude. This complexity makes Retail a new paradigm in our society that is mainly controlled by customers in opposition to its old model. Retail is no longer a static thing, it’s now a kind of entity that lives through frontiers, channels, time and places. It must be incarnated in all this elements, with two things in common: the spirit and experience it generates.

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In this male-dominated world, women are carving out a place for themselves in the retail sector. Paris Retail Week is throwing the spotlight on five influential women in retail who will be giving talks during the event. These visionary women reveal their perception of tomorrow’s retail world between agility, artificial intelligence, omnichannel, big data and data security.

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Despite the digitalisation of retail, the physical stores space remains important. If we take a leap forward in time, I believe this will remain so, though the role of the store as such might change. Maybe even more than it ever had before. In today’s retail landscape, there seem to be two huge challenges for retailers: a digitalising world, and an economic crisis that has changed the mindset of the consumer. Retailers will have to adapt to this digital disruption and to the ‘new consumer’ in order to stay attractive to them. So, what role can we attribute to the store in this changing world? If we look at all the places we can buy stuff today, it no longer remains solely to physical store spaces and online stores. You can buy stuff on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc. Communication channels have become buying channels. The opposite, though, is also true: buying channels are becoming communication channels. This is also what the latest concept of communicating with the consumer, called omni-channel, entails (as a next step following on single channel, multi-channel and cross-channel). Omni-channel starts with the consumer, his/her behaviour and need for information. The biggest challenge of omni-channel is probably getting the right information or product, on the right time, via the right channel (or multiple channels) to a specific consumer.

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As the birthplace of retail trends, Paris is a leading capital city for international chains and brands. New York meanwhile presents itself as the world’s retail lab.

Why do French retailers choose New York to test their projects? Why is French Expertise such a big hit across the Atlantic? Do these two cities, both symbols of retail, really complement each other?