Retail Reality: Thoughts from Listrak's Shopping Trip in NYC

by Kate Lowry, VP of Marketing. This is the second in our series regarding a recent shopping trip in New York City. Read the first one here.

On Listrak’s recent Manhattan Retail Reality Roadtrip, our group visited many stores located in Chelsea, Soho and along 5th Avenue. Even as an avid online shopper, I still love shopping in-store. It provides a totally different experience than online does and allows me to interact better with both the products and the brand. Many of the stores we visited provided an exceptional in-store experience; one of the things that resonated the most was how engaged and attentive the store associates were. The groups primary goal was to check out the latest technology, see how it was being used in brick and mortar locations and how it tied the customer back to the online experience, if at all.

Some brands, like Rebecca Minkoff, really offered an in-store experience that you wanted to savor, quite literally with the drink assortments they offered, but the welcome and engaging nature of the store associates was just as notable. The well-talked about magic mirrors in the store only added to the interaction with the brand and the store associate. The two worked seamlessly together. And as a loyal Rebecca Minkoff customer, I would make the trip to their Soho Flagship store just to test out the new mirror technology in the fitting rooms. They were well lit, working properly, integrated well with the sales associates and overall easy to use. It made the experience fun and unique as a customer. 


On a whim, our group decided to visit the L.L. Bean Pop-Up store on 5th Avenue and were pleasantly surprised by how welcoming the sales associates were and how warm and cozy the store was. They even had a hot chocolate bar upstairs with the most amazing peppermint cookies. And while the store experience was one of my favorite of the 20+ stores we visited, all of their iPads weren’t working and the computer hidden in the back corner was also not working. The technology divide between online and in-store was pretty apparent, but did it ruin my experience at the store? Not really.

Sprinkles Cupcakes, who served me the best salted caramel cupcake I’ve ever tasted, allowed me to order a cupcake via their “Cupcake ATM,” but didn’t ask for my email or phone. Personally, after how amazing that cupcake was, I would love to continue the experience with them, but they have no way to contact me. That was a disappointment. 

Other stores such as Samsung had a bar of phones set up where you could choose from designs and have it printed on a recyclable shopping bag. Pretty cool, right? But when I went to the phone to enter my info and pick my design, the girl behind the counter just told me to pick a design and she’ll make it – no need to use the phone. While, I appreciated the in-store interaction from the sales associate, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having the phones to showcase their technology?

After visiting Kate Spade, a store that had no technology present in-store for the customer to utilize, was all about the in-store customer experience. I worked with the Store Manager to pick out a pair of earrings and after requesting an e-receipt, my engagement with Kate Spade has risen quickly as they sent me an email asking me about my Kate Spade New York Shopping Experience as well as multiple promotional emails. 
 And lastly, I thought Warby Parker was the most fun. Why? Well, because who doesn’t like trying on glasses? From a pure-play startup to a brick and mortar, Warby Parker has created an atmosphere in their Soho store that invites you to try on different styles and even has a photo booth so you can take home your memory of the store. 

I think one of the most poignant takeaways for me was that online and in-store shopping each have their own benefits, but creating an experience that is memorable is by far the best thing a brand can do. The stores that nailed that experience were the ones that ironically had a nice crossover of online and in-store technology so that the conversation could be continued after you left the store with or without a purchase in hand. When adding technology in-store, make sure it makes sense and make sure it connects the dots for the customer in a way that is unique and memorable, but also works.

Where Leading Fashion Retailers are Driving Traffic Black Friday

By Donna Fulmer, Market Research Manager

Some early reports have indicated that while online shopping is soaring today, traffic at malls is a little lighter than retailers may like. I can attest that my husband - somewhat begrudgingly - got up early on his day off to drive our daughter to her retail job by 5:45 a.m. so she didn't have to fight the traffic and waste time looking for parking - only to find that traffic was light and the parking lot was only a quarter full.

Looking at today's inbox of emails from leading fashion retailers, it seems the light foot traffic may have been anticipated. It will be interesting to see if the efforts seen in these emails help to turn the day around for brick and mortar stores:

Granted, I had to scroll to the bottom of this Forever 21 email, but this is a pretty generous in-store only promotion -

What came earlier this morning from Forever 21, however, was a much stronger push - 

And while this J.Crew email does not promote an in-store only event, it's obvious they want to make it's very easy for me to find my nearest store -

Gap, too, is trying to drive traffic in-store, however, it's unfortunately again at the bottom of a long, scrolling email and  less obvious than the Forever 21 promotion - 

(It's worth noting that of course all of the other emails I have received from fashion omnichannel retailers have clearly communicated that Black Friday deals apply both on-line and in-store.) 

So what about pureplay retailers? Even online only merchants must know that the traditional website is not the only place their customer may want to shop today. Kudos to for this effort to capture shoppers wherever or however they may want to take part in Black Friday deals today: 

How are you driving shoppers to your brick and mortar stores today? 

Cross-Channel Holiday Promotions

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

It's that time of year again. Mailboxes are stuffed full of holiday catalogs and direct mail pieces. When I was a kid, I loved looking through the Christmas catalogs, circling all of the toys I wanted Santa to bring me. But now I rarely even open them before putting them in the trash. The good news is, I don't have to open them. Many retailers are offering customers additional opportunities to engage and shop right from the back of the catalogs.

Toms offers both a QR code and an incentive to shop online:

Bath and Body Works offers both online and in-store discount codes:

Athleta invites customers into their stores by offering fitness classes, free hemming and styling and BOPIS:

Cremieux invited customers in-store for a happy hour:

giggle advertised their website, stores and shopping apps:

And Chukar Cherries sent me an order form that included the names and addresses of the people I shipped gift baskets to last holiday season. Talk about convenient!

Customers don't shop in a single channel and it's up to the retailers to provide different shopping options and to make the transition seamless.

Speaking of options, I received these two emails recently and they really caught my attention.

Philosophy encourages customers to shop on TV during its QVC broadcast:

And giggle sent a Mobile Monday email offering a discount for customers shopping in its app:

As you can see, there isn't one right way to encourage customers to shop. All you  have to do is provide options and let your customers shop in the channel that is most convenient for them this holiday season.