Sept / Oct 2015

Sept / Oct 2015



Back To What’s New This Fall


Fall is all about what’s hot and new. It has become the ultimate showcase. Designers unveil the latest looks. Technology spotlights updated must-have gadgets for school and retail. TV networks offer their new fall lineup. With all this newness, a sea of sameness starts to appear, especially when it comes to advertising. This leaves marketers constantly looking for unique ways to break through the clutter without overloading the intended target. At retail, this is even more evident. Digital has weaved its way into the mix, offering not just eye-catching messaging, but also content that’s of value to shoppers. No matter who does what to win at shelf, this season is sure to be an interesting race we can’t wait to watch and report on.

Dig in, discover.   @_The_Urbanist

Making Over At Home Beauty Treatments

The home-delivery category seems to know no boundaries. Now, style-minded consumers can add salon-quality color products to their delivery-service roster. California start-up company eSalon is capitalizing on the DIY generation’s desire to embrace their individuality by delivering complete, premium hair-color service right to their doors. The color products are of higher quality than off the shelf and come complete with all of the styling tools needed to ensure the finished product looks like it has been done by a pro.

To further help with the customer DIY coloring experience, eSalon has also crafted a color questionnaire to ensure customers are getting the proper coloring and care products for their unique hair type. Each kit runs around $19.95—a bit more expensive than drugstore brands, but a much more reasonable price point than salon services, which can easily run $100 or more per visit.

So far, growth for the company has been substantial. Since 2010, eSalon has shipped over two million hair-color kits and developed 118,630 hair color variations. All of this proves that the home-delivery market is an area that is still rich with opportunity for all sorts of brands.

Tweet, Post, Buy

For years, brands have sponsored social media posts in the hope of luring potential shoppers to seamlessly complete an online purchase in a few short clicks. Recently, social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even search engine Google have been looking to shorten the path by offering buy buttons. Along with a Like, pin, or retweet, shoppers who use buy buttons can save a few clicks and purchase products right on the spot. This new feature could mean big bucks for brands, because 34% of online shoppers actually complete purchases from mobile devices (according to the data from a 2015 Criteo report).

The buy button is broken down into two types: redirect buttons that take the shopper to the brand e-commerce site and native buttons that allow purchase directly on the social media platform.

While this can been seen as a golden opportunity with sales, businesses should be aware of the challenges—mainly if they have the capabilities to support instant purchases. As more and more buy buttons roll out, marketers will discover whether shortening the path to purchase is the right move for their brands—particularly with the social savvy Millennial target.



Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are, you’re familiar with brand innovations on display via Instagram. Besides adding the Purchase Now button, entire campaigns featuring user-generated content are being utilized on the platform.

The clothing giant Forever21 released its Thread Screen on Instagram to excite and reward social media followers. The screen is made of 200,000 parts, weighs two tons, and took a year and half to create. When users tag a photo with #f21threadscreen, 6,400 spools of thread spin to re-create a woven version of the hashtagged photo live. Forever 21 will also upload a unique video of the exact moment your image is created by the machine to YouTube so you can watch and share on your own schedule.

Sure, television commercials and billboards are exciting, but creating interactive advertisements in the social space doesn’t just deliver impressions and user-generated content, they’re memorable too.   

Moving Forward With Back-To-School

By now, you’ve seen Target’s back-to-school TV campaign. Online, Target has also added a School List Assist to its website, which provides a set list of school supplies—offered via in-store pickup or home delivery. The retailer researched schools nationwide to determine the most commonly needed items for each grade and created bundle packs to help parents save money and time. The retail giant is also looking to be more fashion-forward for school clothes by tapping into influencers like Maddie Ziegler of Dance moms, who will resonate with a (much) younger market.

Target is also ramping up its charity contributions during the back-to-school blitz. TV spots feature a remake of the Jackson 5’s “ABC” performed by teen social media influencer and pop singer Tori Kelly. The song can be downloaded through Target’s website and for every download, Target will donate $5 in school supplies to the Kids in Need Foundation.

Target is hoping that all these tactics will leave a lasting impression on shoppers and their kids.

Building Relations With NYers

Lowe’s is making a statement in New York with a store that’s a quarter the size of its regular outlets to mimic, and sympathize with, the layout restraints of most NYC apartments.

Lowe’s spent 18 months studying how New Yorkers live, rent, and renovate as well as the work of their contractors and plumbers. The culmination of the research was using omnichannel features within the physical store to save space while offering the same wide range of appliances and materials.

The store features multiple screens and interactive displays to help New Yorkers best understand how to customize their living spaces. Lowe’s sales assistants will also make use of mobile checkout devices throughout the store so shoppers can make their trips as efficient as possible.

Perhaps the most exciting store feature is the interactive outdoor windows with puppets reenacting household tricks and tips that have resulted in a successful Vine campaign “Fix in Six.” Again, this feature contributes to Lowe’s ability to stand out and be relevant in the NYC market.


For more urban trends & insights, check out next month’s issue.

Got questions? Email us at or tweet @_The_Urbanist