RETAIL HEATS UP
Summer and the city never mix too well. With the unbearable heat and no beach or pool immediately in sight, urbanites are forced to seek refuge in air-conditioned stores. Increased foot traffic offers a welcome addition to these stores. But keeping shoppers from heading to other cooler venues can pose a problem. Which is why retailers are further embracing the digital world to keep the shopping experience seamless with virtual dressing rooms and mobile checkout. Stores are also trying to set themselves apart through experiential offerings by adding amenities that shoppers would seek elsewhere for like coffee or snacks. With countless stores and the heat on the rise, the Urbanist will have a very productive season.
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Cars Meets Commerce
Other than getting grateful passengers from A to B for less, Uber is now looking to drive business sales with the addition of Corner Store on the app. The new service is rolling out in the Washington, D.C. area right now. For that specific region, the app features an area labeled Corner Store where people can access to order all types of everyday items for purchase — diapers, toothpaste, and allergy medicine to name a few. Simply select the items you want. Pay for them via credit card. And your order will be delivered to you for free courtesy of an Uber driver. By creating this option, Uber ups its value and becomes yet another entry in the growing same-day delivery market that includes eBay, Google, and Amazon.
Instagram Now In Vouge
Now a picture could be worth a purchase for Vogue Magazine. LiketoKnow:IT, a division of RewardStyle, has created a new stream of revenue for the iconic magazine through Instagram. When followers of its page ‘like’ a photo, they will be instantly sent a link of the featured product link to purchase. Vogue featured an article explaining this new picture-to-purchase service. Further proof of how print is trying to bridge the gap between digital while offering the ability to integrate commerce in a more engaging fashion for the reader.
Innovation In Eating Out
OpenTable is looking to shave even more time off the N.Y. minute. For over a decade it has been the premiere restaurant reservation site for U.S. cities. Now OpenTable is offering New Yorkers a bonus feature, the ability to pay their check with the app. Just add a credit card to your account and the restaurant will simply bill you via the app. All done in real time. Restaurants that are participating currently are Smith & Wollensky, Quality Meats, and City Crab. Since it’s all mobile, it saves time for the diner by eliminating the whole “check, please” flagging-down-the-waiter moment. For restaurants, it creates a quicker turnover rate for tables, less hassle for the waiters, and makes implementing dining promotions and discounts as seamless as possible. Food and beverage brands can also benefit from this OpenTable pay feature by offering discounts off meal bills as a way to incentivize trial of their products.
Mannequin Made Technology
VMBeacon is looking to make in-store dummies a bit smarter. By outfitting them with transmitters that work via Bluetooth and its proprietary app, shoppers can use their smartphones to get access to content about the fashions displayed and the ability to make a purchase. Right now this technology is making its appearance in the U.K. at Hawes & Curtis in London. The benefits for retailers are not only do they offer an extra option for commerce even after hours, but stores can get all types of vital analytics from their window displays. Right now the only downside is the compliance barrier. Shoppers are required to first download the companion app. However, offering the lure of extra content and more shopper rewards might make that extra i-step worth it for shoppers.
For more urban trends & insights, check out next month’s issue.
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