In today’s constantly changing retail industry, it looks like the secret to keeping things fresh is blending the best of online and offline worlds.

Take for example Showfields, a company that promises to curate a fresh retail experience for customers and a different retail model for brands.

Showifeld brings digitally native brands to life with customized flagship spaces in its four-floor store in NYC, and creates a place for customers to engage with their favorite brands. The company’s strategy seems to be working, as it announced this week it raised $9M.

Check out our weekly recap to learn more about Showfield’s strategy, along with some more of this week’s top retail stories:

Walmart pilots Garnier’s virtual hair-coloring tech in stores

Walmart is launching a pilot with Garnier’s Virtual Shade Selector, a 3D-based tool that helps shoppers  choose and “try on” hair color products.

Garnier originally launched Shade Selector as an online feature that could be accessed on retailers’ websites via computer or mobile, but its latest version is shelf-based and can be used in-store. The technology behind the tool was developed by L’Oréal’s Modiface.

Shoppers can use the shelf-based display screens to learn about hair color product options and take a one-minute diagnostic test and then virtually try on a range of Garnier shades.

Virtual try-on applications have become a trendy technology in the retail industry, though most of them have been mobile app-based or web-based, such as L’Oreal’s new artificial intelligence-based skin diagnostic tool.

Now, virtual try-on seems to be moving in-store, as retailers are using more AR and  VR technologies to transform the in-store experience.

Image Source: Garnier

Showfields raises $9M, leading a more flexible approach to brick-and-mortar retail

Showfields, the company that provides flexible retail space to brands, raised $9 million in seed funding.

Showfield’s flagship store, a 14,000 square feet space in the trending NoHo neighborhood, is reinventing retail as we know it.

It’s simple: each brand gets a dedicated space at the store. The spaces can be designed according to different goals, from driving sales to growing consumer awareness. Whatever it is, Showfields promises to curate a fresh retail experience for all customers.

Showfields is already home to a variety of DTC brands from the wellness, home and fashion spaces- from mattress company Boll & Branch, to toothbrush company Quip.

In an interview earlier this year, Israeli co-founders Amir Zwickel and Tal Zvi Nathanel said they “want to create the most interesting store in the world, a space filled with wonder that connects a curious and creative community to the brands and experiences reshaping our world.”

Looks to us like they are definitely on to something.

Image Source: Showfields

Payless ShoeSource to shutter all of its remaining US stores

The discount shoe retailer is shuttering all of its 2,100 remaining stores in the US and Puerto Rico, joining a list of iconic retailers like Toys R Us and Bon-Ton that have shut down this year.

At a time when costumers are shifting their shopping online or to discount stores like T.J. Maxx, low-price outlets like Payless were the first to get hurt. Heavy debt loads didn’t make it any easier for Payless, that was left with almost no funds to invest in innovating its businesses.

And it’s not that it didn’t try: earlier this year, Payless made a questionable move to get some buzz, by creating a fake boutique for influencers named Palessi, a faux-luxury store that carried Payless shoes.

The hoax got some attention, but it wasn’t enough. In today’s ultra-competitive retail sphere, Payless just didn’t make the cut.

Image Source: payless

Amazon challenges Ikea with the launch of two brands of own furniture

Amazon challenges Ikea with the launch of two new proprietary brands, adding to the e-commerce giant’s existing home furnishings: Movian, which offers a flexible and practical collection of pieces, inspired by Scandinavian design, and Alkove, a high-end brand for customers seeking chic, high-quality materials.

Amazon points customers to their new destination for home inspiration on Amazon UK, offering both Amazon own brand furniture (products commissioned by Amazon) and Amazon exclusive brand furniture (products made by established manufacturers but only available on Amazon).

Amazon’s move of setting up a new destination microsite dedicated to furniture is sending a strong message to furniture retailers like Ikea.

Similarly to other fields, It looks like Amazon is looking to heavily promote its new business, and expand in the furniture category as well.

Image Source: Amazon

Final Thoughts

Today, more than ever before, flexibility remains the key principle for retailers looking to stay relevant. And what’s the best way of staying flexible?

You guessed it right. Technology.

Garnier’s Shade Selector, for instance, is an example of how in-store technology can make the shopping process faster, easier and more satisfying.

From the brick and mortar angle, Showfields allows customers to touch products in-store, while exploring other items or making purchases via touchscreens. By creating a genre-defying experience that combines retail, art exhibitions and community, and focusing on DTC brands, Showfields represents a new, flexible model of brick-and-mortar retail.

As the retail industry is changing, retailers must show flexibility to cater to the changing market demands, and incorporate next-gen tech to create new, exciting shopping experiences.

 

 

 

 

Inbal Perlman

Inbal is the community and hub manager of the Re:Tech hub, a co-workingspace for retail and e-commerce startups based in the heart of Tel Aviv. The Hub offers its members industry focused events, access to global partners and various opportunities in the global and local retail tech ecosystem.

If you are in retail and would like to learn what new technologies can help push your business forward, get in touch.