Episode 114
June 28, 2019

Store Closings in Reverse

Ingrid Milman is back, and she has some really exciting news to share with our audience! Some retailers are actually opening more stores, and somehow Brian has never been to a Burlington. Plus- Way too many legacy brands are overusing terms like "data-driven, and both Glossier and Lively have figured out (in different ways) how to create communities around both their products and their customers! Listen Now!

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Ingrid Milman is back, and she has some really exciting news to share with our audience! Some retailers are opening more stores, and somehow, Brian has never been to a Burlington. Plus- So many legacy brands are overusing terms like "data-driven," and both Glossier and Lively have figured out (in different ways) how to create communities around both their products and their customers! Listen Now!

Show Notes:

Main Takeaways:

  • Ingrid Milman is guest hosting this week, and she's got some pretty big news to share: she's joining e.l.f cosmetics as their new Vice President of E-commerce and Customer Experience!
  • Isn't everyone pretty much exhausted of the buzzword bingo from legacy brands?
  • Glossier and Lively are both really fantastic at building a community around their customers.
  • In-store + online traffic can help retailers figure out where to put their stores, how to design their stores, and what to sell in their stores.

Back to Buzzword Bingo For Brands: Utilize Data With Care:

  • First thing's first: The entire team at Future Commerce would like to congratulate Ingrid on her new role as the Vice President of E-commerce and Customer Experience at e.l.f Cosmetics!
  • Ingrid says that the best part of e.l.f is that it's the perfect mix of value and prestige, and they are expanding their digital presence, especially as they move further into e-commerce.
  • Ingrid points out that 2-3 years ago legacy brands were consistently hyper-focused on the term data-driven, focused too much on gathering the information, and not enough time connecting the data points into actionable insights that would be framed around how to introduce the customer to the brand properly.
  • Brian points out two Future Commerce episodes that are reflective of this point: episode 96 with Chris Homer CTO of thredUP, and episode 103 with Rachel Swanson from Method + Mode, both of which are centered around the best uses for data.
  • thredUP is doing precisely what Ingrid is talking about by building cross-functional teams that take ownership of the data being collected and utilized.
  • And of course, Rachel Swanson (from Method + Mode) collected invaluable data for Future Commerce, giving our team real insight into what our listeners wanted from our show.

Community Building Around Customers: Lively and Glossier Win Gold:

Some Retailers Are Openings Stores: You'll Never Guess Who:

Simplicity Is a Great Way to Display Your Value Proposition to Customers:

  • Ingrid makes a great point that many newer D2C brands have figured out that simplicity is a great way to display their value proposition to their customers.
  • Harry's is an excellent example of this: "we have a razor, it's good, you should buy it," it's uncomplicated and makes the customer feel at ease with the brand's simplicity.
  • Mattress firm is awful at retailing, Walmart is much better at it.
  • Ingrid's recommendations for retailers: Make sure you're not over-retailing (competing with yourself) and make sure you're offering simplicity and solving an actual problem for a customer, and that you're able to inspire your customers.
  • Brian says you have to have a clear value proposition for the customer that makes them feel connected back to the brand.

In-Store Data Can Tell Retailers What Their Customers Want:

As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! Do you think legacy brands are doing a poor job keeping up with D2C brands on social media? What brands do you think are doing the actual work in connecting with their customers and keeping them engaged?

Let us know in the content section on Futurecommerce.fm, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin.

Have any questions or comments about the show? You can reach out to us at info@futurecommerce.fm or any of our social channels, and we love hearing from our listeners!

Want to reach out to Ingrid? Reach out on Instagram

Retail tech is moving fast, but Future Commerce is moving faster.

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Brian: [00:00:00.50] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Brian. And today I have a very special co-host with me back yet again. Ingrid Milman thanks for being on a show with us, Ingrid.

Ingrid: [00:00:16.10] Hey Brian! Happy to be here.

Brian: [00:00:18.53] Yeah we're happy to have you too, and we are without Phillip today. He is off keynoting a conference in the UK. So have fun in London, Phillip. Phillip and family.

Brian: [00:00:33.29] But what I would really like to kick the show off with today, Ingrid you have some really big news, and I am super excited to be announcing this on the show so I'll let you I'll let you announce it.

Ingrid: [00:00:47.09] Thank you. Yes. So I just took a new role. Very exciting new role at e.l.f. cosmetics. And I will be the vice president of e-commerce and customer experience. So really great because they are such a forward thinking brand. They are a basically the ruler of the value and prestige cosmetics in one. And I'm so glad to be a part of this really really talented team. They're based in Oakland, but I'll be running the New York office.

Ingrid: [00:01:22.25] So a little bit of bi coastal ness happening, and I think the way that they're looking at going into e-commerce more heavily with digital marketing and the concept of putting in the customer experience under the same umbrella with e-commerce and digital marketing is really important, and I think actually we'll end up talking about some of these topics on today's show. So yeah, exciting.

Brian: [00:01:50.24] Yeah. Congratulations are so exciting. I'm really interested to see what you know, how, you know what, what that, what you're bringing to e.l.f. and I think e.l.f. already has such a strong amazing brand and has done so much for cosmetics. So it'll be really cool to see your energy and creativity applied there. Just watch everything that comes out of that. Definitely super exciting.

Ingrid: [00:02:17.57] Same thank you.

Brian: [00:02:19.43] Yeah. So we've got some really interesting topics to cover today and I can't wait to get your opinions on some of this stuff. But let's let's go ahead and kick it off. I wanted to... you had a really interesting topic that you wanted to cover on the show today, and I thought it was super interesting as well. But that's basically, you know, the the direct to consumer mindset versus legacy brands and some observations you've had over the past years of having been involved in and seeing this unfold and being a part of this unfolding, so I'll let you kind of kick it off from here.

Ingrid: [00:02:56.87] Sure yeah. I mean you you actually you set me off on this path because we're talking about all of these the retail apocalypse and what's happening and what these new brands are doing and how retailers are responding not just to like Amazon coming in but in general a shift in consumer thinking and that sort of set me on this world. My my tirade that I do sometimes between thinking about what direct consumer brands and ultimately that mindset is doing and how legacy brands are, some brands are trying to keep up and and actually doing a great job of it. And some brands haven't really been able to catch the wave.

Ingrid: [00:03:35.42] So one of the things that I've observed is this buzzword which backed our original podcast. The buzzword a few years ago was data driven analytics. Right. And brands that are still a buzzword, totally, but it was like, you know, two three years ago the they started getting a lot of press around being data driven, data driven. All these legacy brands decided they needed to be data driven, and what they did was invest in gathering just tons and tons of data, and so much so that you just got to a point where you were like data fatigue.

Ingrid: [00:04:15.11] It was like I literally know every single data point about every single thing, and what I think is sort of... yeah and what I think is... right? It's like, so much data.

Ingrid: [00:04:28.58] There's not anything more than I could possibly know. And now I'm here. So now what. Right? Whereas, I think where brands may have missed the opportunity is not just understanding, like, every single data point that's possible, but it's more about what your customer is using to make a decision, like, what is that sweet spot. How many times do they need to be exposed to your brand? How... What other brands are they considering? Like, these all just seem very very basic, but it wasn't created as the framework to understand what your customer... how your customer is being introduced to your brand... how your customer thinks about your brand.

Ingrid: [00:05:14.01] And so I think that's the piece that some legacy brands who are sitting on all these like mountains of data should start to carve through.

Ingrid: [00:05:23.13] Like start to really get data scientists or data analysts to understand how to create these patterns and learn about the decision making rather than just collecting data.

Brian: [00:05:34.66] I love that, and there's there's two episodes that we've done that I think you're just taking me straight back to. And one of them was actually the recorded at the same time as our first episode together... the one with Chris Homer, and I would definitely refer all of our listeners to go check that episode, as well, actually both those episodes out. They were both recorded at Etail East or West back in February. And Chris' team at Thread Up... I think that they're doing a really good job of doing exactly what you're talking about, which is you know aligning around what actually matters to the customer, and the way that they've done that is they've actually setup cross-functional teams that are that are like more small, they're smaller and they're more focused and they have a lot of ownership around their particular points, and so it gives it gives Thread Up, I think, a leg up you know in that they've they've built out structure to address data points that actually matter and brought together everyone around that data not just specific... specific sort of data people. Yeah, so smart. Yeah yeah. So I would definitely refer everyone back that episode. And then the other episode that I thought was was a good one to refer back to is our episode with Method + Mode.

Brian: [00:07:07.33] And that was with Rachel Swanson, and Rachel talked about data lakes and like how to deal with them. And Rachel's actually... So she did a market research that that we that we worked with her on, or with Method + Mode on, around Future Commerce, and you know what what we needed to do to improve as a podcast and you know just data about our our listeners and what was important to them. And I think that her skill set, which is sort of I think what you're getting at, is is absolutely essential, is interpreting that data, understanding what data points mean what, and then and then finding out what actually matters. And so having someone sort of sit in the voice of the customer chair you know is absolutely essential to success. In being data driven... You can say your data driven if you collect a ton of data, but then if you if you you know if you just have these giant lakes of data with this insane amounts of data points that are just all sitting out there with no meaningful relevance to anything that you're doing, that's just a complete misunderstanding of what being data driven actually means. That's my view.

Ingrid: [00:08:28.91] Couldn't agree more.

Brian: [00:08:31.87] Yeah. I think, you know you... You were you were saying earlier in the pre-show, like how, how some brands are doing a good job, as well. You know beyond Thread Up. Maybe... What are some of those brands that you feel like you're doing a good job with us?

Ingrid: [00:08:50.18] Yeah I mean, I was I was sort of thinking about them in terms of the other buzzword of like building social media. Right? And so you need the data and you need to understand where your customer is and how they're thinking of you and then, OK, so now you have that, which is no small feat, but congratulations you've gotten there right? And then figuring out how do we build our marketing structures to accommodate this and to and to really sort of build on it? And a lot of times you'll see these direct consumer brands, these newer brands, coming out and they're really strong on social media, and the legacy brands will sort of sit up and take notice and they'll say, "Wow this brand has so many followers," and "Oh wow they get so many likes on all of their messages. Let's build every single one of our initiatives around building followers, and then tracking how many people like this one image that we post." And I think on the surface it makes it make sense to try and do it that way. But I think what they're missing here is really the connection that social media affords, not just like this tracking of a horse race of followers and legs, right?

Ingrid: [00:10:05.75] And so figuring out how to build your teams around establishing a connection between your brand and your consumers is the main focus of, ultimately, marketing, but certainly with social media being the biggest tool that marketers have ever had access to. So one of the best examples I've ever seen of this is Glossier. They have a Slack channel, and it's about a hundred users, and they basically...they're just super users, people who absolutely love the brand who've been there from the very beginning, and they announce new products there first, they ask...they're constantly engaging with those customers and just having a one to one conversation, but then they're also allowing the customers to interact with each other and build this community together. And that's something that you can't track with like followers or likes, right? Remember it's a closed group, it's not public, but they're really creating this cemented relationship with each other as a group and as a connection to the brand, and I just think that's such a great example of how a really really smart direct consumer brand uses social media.

Brian: [00:11:25.73] Yeah I love that. Like using Slack or like Discord or you know another one of these tools to to build a connection to your customers and also like sort of have them you know be an actual community, more than just the customer, but a community. We interviewed Michelle Cordeiro Grant, from Lively at Shoptalk, and she talked a lot about this as well. Lively actually, they you know, they even reached out to some of their followers and went and met with them in person, and like you know, flew them out and had like kind of a customer summit of sorts or you know get getting getting feedback from the customers and building a community, and then... Maybe I'm, maybe I'm exaggerating what that was. I need to go back and listen again. But effectively they had some in-person interaction with their customers. And so I think you're absolutely right. Like getting getting feedback from from users and customers that are, are very engaged and helping foster community through social media and using those data points... It's almost like the argument between like regarding reviews. Like, I've got a friend over... or a co-worker, Tony Ciarelli, who I think we've mentioned on the show before, and he always talks about how he hates reading just straight up reviews online.

Brian: [00:13:04.61] He much prefers to go finds sets of experts or people who are really in the know and hear their opinions about products before making a purchase. I feel like that sort of applies here as well like... His view is that you know, online reviews... It's very difficult to just take an aggregate or or like you know to trust someone that has very different values than you do. And he would prefer an expert opinion than sort of the opinion of the masses. And so you know I think that there's like you know two different sets of data that you've got you've got sort of your more general generic data that's sort of like just you know a compilation of your users but then like Glossier, you've got a much more specific set of data that... You know you need to balance those two points. I think that that's... Definitely agree. But I think foster both of them. Pretty interesting.

Ingrid: [00:14:07.76] It's just that it's it's just the connection I feel like with with brands and social media that needs to be focused on. It's not about the followers and the likes that you're getting on your post it's it's really just about building trust. And there's so much more at stake and so much more opportunity, I would say, to connect with their customers.

Ingrid: [00:14:31.76] But then why say that it's at stake is because it's you know you can screw it up really quickly and really easily, but you can also make something really special.

Brian: [00:14:40.70] I agree. That's a really good point. Nice. I think that I think that you're you've actually called out something really important here, as well, in that you can really screw this up because if you if you put too much emphasis on a specific data point or you or you start in connecting with your customers in a really false way it's going to really, it's going to really turn them off to you. And and that's easy to do. I think you know consumers today they have so many options and they are also a lot more in tune with authentic connection I think than than customers of the past simply because we do have a lot more data about the companies that we're buying from, and there's a lot more, you know, visibility and you know, thoughtful purchasing that's happening as a result of that data, and you know, shopping on the Internet, and so if you if you approach this in a way that I think, you know, makes your customers feel like they're being used or is not an authentic, like you know, we actually care what you think sort of way, then I think you're right could really turn off maybe even some of your best customers or advocates.

Ingrid: [00:16:10.63] Yeah yeah for sure people are really sensitive to those things.

Brian: [00:16:14.03] Yeah I think it's been a trend of a topic on the show, and we'll continue to talk about what it looks like to properly interact with your data as you build connection with your customers. But another topic that I wanted to get into was... Let's talk about store openings and closings because there's been some more data that's come out recently a lot of lot of interesting data points coming around this. And we've talked about it a little bit this year already, but there was one story that kind of perked my ears up a little bit, and that was I thought that was pretty interesting, and it just made me jump into more data around this all over again. But Burlington is opening 50 new stores. Which was like interesting to me. I've never owned anything from Burlington I have been inside a Burlington store before. Have you ever been inside a Burlington before?

Ingrid: [00:17:14.03] I have. I I love a deal. So many times when I like I need a new pair of yoga pants.

Ingrid: [00:17:24.89] I'll sometimes go there, and just check it out.

Brian: [00:17:27.23] Yeah totally.

Brian: [00:17:30.06] And I think a lot of people love deals which is probably why Burlington is opening stores, but it just kind of made me think like Burlington probably made some really smart financial decisions and hasn't over expanded their retail footprint. And that has allowed them to, you know, find opportunities to open stores, and I can't even think about where the nearest Burlington is to me, which is probably a good sign for them. Totally. You know, they clearly have an over retailed. Yeah or they haven't over opened. But we talk a ton about stores closing, and we talk a little bit about why they're closing, but I'd started to kind of have a new theory about this a little bit. And my new theory, and there's an interesting article...this is actually from back in March...it's from CBN sites, and we'll link it up in the show notes... that actually shows a list of 68 bankruptcies in retail since 2015. And just and kind of gives a little bit of commentary on why each one of these companies went belly up. And then I was thinking well, a lot of the store closings that we've been experiencing are actually just a result of people filing bankruptcy. Right? And so it's not that in-store is having issues. It's that there's a whole set of retailers there that are out there that are just not cutting it in any way.

Brian: [00:19:04.07] It's not it's not about like in-store shopping being an issue. It's about retailers making really bad financial decisions or branding decisions. And so I started going through these one by one and I was like, Yeah that makes sense. Yeah that makes sense. Yeah that makes sense. I don't care about this brands. I don't like there's no reason for this brand to exist or I'm not surprised that they went bankrupt. And so when you start going through it you're like oh this is just a bunch of irrelevant companies. Like if you're looking at things like Mattress Firm and Brookstone, and you know, jewelry companies, which there are some million of those, and you know, companies that have made some really bad financial decisions.  Well there's a there's a few of them there but Things Remembered. I haven't shopped at Things Remembered for like 12 years. There's just really no surprise that these brands are going belly up. And so it doesn't it's just such a I don't know if it's over branding, or... Phillip and I talked about this in the most or maybe two episodes ago, but like there's just a bunch of brands that never actually updated their brand. Ever.

Ingrid: [00:20:22.94] And that's exactly 100 percent the point is that they didn't update their brands because they just got fat and happy. They didn't have anyone competing with them.

Ingrid: [00:20:35.24] They didn't have the internet where that made it really easy to just get something engraved really quickly, and then they stopped thinking about innovating their products, too, they just would either keep the same products that they've had for a million years, or they would introduce one billion new products every season that just made it impossible for customers to understand what the brand is supposed to stand for, who they're trying to attract. A lot of the new direct consumer brands that I think have done really well have figured out that simplicity is a really great way to make it really clear what your value proposition is to your customer. So for example, like Harry's razors.

Ingrid: [00:21:25.81] Right? It was like, you go into any CVS or Walgreens and you see like just an entire aisle of razors. Razors for, I don't even know, a million different reasons.

Ingrid: [00:21:39.38] Harry's was like, "We have a razor. It's good. You should buy it." And it was like "Yeah." And then the same thing with Casper. You think about Mattress Firm right? There's literally... There was one time...

Ingrid: [00:21:53.63] I'll never forget... I was driving going to visit a brand that I really like in a headquarters.

Ingrid: [00:22:01.46] I was in Chicago, but like a suburb just north of Chicago... Skokie, Illinois. Shout out to Skokie...

Ingrid: [00:22:09.38] And there was a Mattress Firm across the street from another Mattress Firm. And then if you drive four streets down. I think you... I think you know where I'm getting at right? There was another Mattress Firm.

Ingrid: [00:22:29.28] Someone had some terrible decisions, and it's just out here in the open 20 minutes from like one of the biggest cities in the world...

Ingrid: [00:22:38.49] Chicago... and there are like four Mattress Firms within one mile.

Ingrid: [00:22:44.32] And then... it was just crazy.

[00:22:48.61] And a similar thing with like, you know you'll see... I think Wal-Mart has also announced that they're closing some stores but they realize they're not just closing stores. You know obviously Wal-Mart's doing great. They're closing stores because they're competing with themselves. And so people aren't not going to Wal-Mart, they're just not going to like that Wal-Mart. They're going to the other Wal-Mart. So it's like why do we need to invest in this recent real estate and all of the overhead that it takes to have a retail store. So I think there's like a lot of factors but my two that I always go back to is, you know, making sure that you're not over retailed. Making sure that there's not a Mattress Firm across the street for a Mattress Firm across the street for a Mattress Firm. And then also making sure that you're offering simplicity and solving an actual problem for a customer or inspiring them or you know giving them something new and exciting but that's also understandable and relatable.

Brian: [00:23:45.04] I think that's so good. Such good advice. And you know especially in such a branded world right now with so many different brands that have so many different ways of getting customers that you might already have, you have to have a clear value prop like that. Yeah. And we've talked about peak branding before, and I talked to Robin Lewis about peak branding and you know there's and there's just it's so easy to introduce a brand now. It's it's just you have to have a clear voice. You have to have a clear vision and you know you've got to be able to connect with your customers. Totally. Another thing that I was thinking about about all these closed store, store closings, and you you nailed something for Wal-Mart you know having data that that helped them understand that they're Wal-Mart's we're actually competing with each other. And I think back to when I lived in Springfield, Missouri and there were like eleven Wal-Mart's serving Springfield, Missouri. This is not an exaggeration. And actually they were all very well, very well shopped. Springfield Missouri loves Wal-Mart. It's only, like you know, an hour north of the headquarters so that's a it's a but it's like a it's like the bedroom community for Wal-Mart. But the thing I was thinking about look at like... Some news just came out about Bath and Body Works. And there was a bunch of news about them closing stores and their closing 24 stores.

Brian: [00:25:28.46] But guess what. They're actually opening 46 new stores. And so it's really like this shift in where stores are being placed and actually taking action on probably what is new and better data from stores as we get better at tracking data within retail stores. There's there's new data points that are helping us make decisions to be able to understand whether or not that store is being affective. Yes. And they're also remodeling several other stores. I forget exactly how many that was. I think it was like one hundred and something, hundred seventy stores roughly, that they were remodeling. And so being able to take this new data that we have and apply that to where store should exist, what they should look like, how they should feel.... We're seeing this with Outdoor Voices right now. They're completely readjusting their stores based off of, you know, their online and offline data that they have. And there's a great story in Adweek about this that will go on the show notes, as well, but it's just you know I think that that new level of of data, data in stores and then combining that with data online, and you know, I mean we've talk about data lakes, but you know this is helping us make that are better decisions about where stores should exist, how they should look, and what should be in them.

Ingrid: [00:26:58.73] Yeah yeah. I love this. I think there's a there's a tool that I've been using with Google, and it's basically their teams understand what all... Because obviously there's Google Gmail and Maps and everything. So Google has a pretty good understanding of where people are physically at, not just on their web browsing behavior, but through their devices, and so they've actually been able to start creating maps for how...we would look at it as click share on an e-commerce, but it's basically like share of footsteps, right? So you know there's always, like, the retailer trackers where you can track how many people walk in and out of a mall or in and out of your store, but it's, the way that Google looks at it is, share of footsteps of qualified customers, right? So customers that have been to your web site, customers that have been to your competitor's web site... So it's starting to be able to understand, "OK,

Ingrid: [00:28:01.55] there's a lot of footsteps here, but that's because there's a Cheesecake Factory next door, and everyone's just waiting for an hour or whatever, and so there may be going in and out and that's probably not necessarily qualified footsteps." But they're able to actually give you a ranking within the index of their store tracking data to tell you, you are getting, you know, you are below index for this particular store within this shopping district with your target customer. Which is just super helpful, and I think probably a lot of what that...

Ingrid: [00:28:37.70] Yeah that's probably the because the brands that have figured out how to use data to actually tell a

Ingrid: [00:28:46.62] well rounded and colorful story about their customers is a perfect example of how you how to use data. And otherwise you're just sitting on pounds of this is how many footsteps and this is how many people came into the mall.

Ingrid: [00:29:02.57] You know it's like... Right. That's how you qualify the data and connect it to making decisions and so brands like, you know, it looks like Bath and Body Works, is taking this data and actioning on it. Yeah totally. It is really cool to see.

Brian: [00:29:15.92] I so agree. Yeah. I bet you like, I saw the story about Lululemon's new flagship they're about to open in Chicago. I don't know if you saw this. This is pretty interesting. They have a they're opening a 20,000 foot flagship in Chicago in July and it's going to have multiple yoga studios, meditation space, a juice bar, and areas for community gatherings. So like getting back to that whole community building topic. But it's interesting. Obsessed with this. Right. Exactly. Good. I bet you they're using some of that in store data things like foot traffic and footsteps, and and you know these new data points dwell time. How. Why do people dwell in stores? How long do they do on stores when they're interacting with different things and/or at different spots? How does that dwell time affect their purchasing patterns?

Brian: [00:30:17.63] Putting in a juice bar and a yoga studio clearly is going to increase time in store. Does that mean that people are going to be purchasing more stuff? I think the data is probably pointing to yes. And it's interesting, you know, just in line with the whole store opening and store closing things. The CEO Calvin McDonald was asked if this was a, you know, sort of a bellwether as to whether or not there's going to be less of a focus on mall locations.

Brian: [00:30:50.36] And his answer was, "Well it's definitely a test." And so I think that because we can track that data now, you can run a tests like this and it's going to have a meaningful impact on on you know your entire brick and mortar footprint strategy. Yeah.

Brian: [00:31:08.93] So good. It's really smart and it's it's checks all the boxes in terms of like creating relevancy with their customer, showing that you're there for them in you know their whole life style decision making process with the juices, and OK you're well you're in a Lululemon you're obviously somewhat interested in yoga. And so why not throw a yoga studio in there and and also I think helps to cement who you are in that community, too, it's like maybe be someone who's never bought a pair of Lululemon pants and thinks it's maybe too expensive for them or whatever takes a class and realizes that, oh wow these people are really serious about yoga and they're not just like after my my money they probably know they might have this great product. And so I do think it's not a great leap to to invest in having like a bigger experiential moment within your store because I do think that it's sort of like shows your customers that you're standing behind what what you are.

Brian: [00:32:10.43] Yeah totally. That's awesome. What are some stores that you like to, you know, when you go to a city, like what do you like to go check out?

Ingrid: [00:32:21.48] Yeah. So it's funny I do. I do travel quite a bit within the United States, and you know a new city is always interesting. New thing to try and tackle, right?

Ingrid: [00:32:33.16] And so I have a little trick that I do which is I'll go on Google Maps and I'll look for the what I call it the new anchor stores.

Ingrid: [00:32:42.45] So if there's a Warby Parker or a Blue Bottle Coffee or an Outdoor Voices or hey you know probably an Apple store too. Like those are all signifiers that those are places that I'm going to probably want to hang out in, right? They'll probably be a good mix of like younger people with new ideas or or interesting tastes or things like that. And so I look at that as the new anchor stores. Whereas before and you'd have like a mall and the anchor store would be a Macy's or a Nordstrom and that's what would would catch you there.

Brian: [00:33:19.23] Yeah yeah yeah. That's partly why Nordstrom is investing in things like guide shops now where it's like they're putting them in next to more interesting brands. They're getting out of malls they're getting into smaller spaces. That's a really good point.

Brian: [00:33:32.55] Like you're starting to see these these these anchor brands sort of attract different different type of purchasers and you know the next in new and couple episodes ago we talked about "woke commerce". Yeah. And so I think that's really interesting. We're seeing a lot of migration away from malls in general being that anchor malls are no longer the anchor. It's about specific brands and where they're at and what we know. Yeah that's a really really good point. I love that point. Yeah I think that there are definitely like a set of brands that you know that I would consider in that range as well. And so yeah like like here in Seattle. Like for me, you know that I like. I love Filson. I think Filson's really cool. And that would be a you know kind of a an anchor brand for me here just with the sort of Seattle aesthetic. But you know there's lots of those those new brands that are becoming the sort of choice for people that go spend time, and it Filson has that, like, if you go to their flagship in Seattle, they also have space for people to spend time and you know have an experience together, build community, and actually they're to the point where they're doing manufacturing in that store. Like their whole bottom floor is actual manufacturing, which I think is super cool.

Ingrid: [00:35:04.32] Yeah. Oh man. So that that's actually really similar back to the Lululemon and how they're doing cool stuff is they have a lab.

Ingrid: [00:35:14.37] So you can actually there's there's one of them on Bond Street in New York, which is when you're visiting New York you have to just walk around. It's such a weird and cool street. It's just north of Soho it's like three blocks north and it's this old cobblestone, still cobblestone street. But they've decided to make it really luxury and sort of like this cool combination of old New York sort of Soho vibe with lofts but then also really new and futuristic feeling.

Ingrid: [00:35:47.31] And it's not a place that you would expect to see a Lululemon, like proper retail store, but they actually put their Lululemon lab in on that block, and it's a concept store. And like you were saying there is in the back they actually create clothes, and they have a new drop every single week for people to come in and you can see what they're experimenting with. You can give them feedback on it. You can buy those garments right then and there. And I think the last time I was in there, the woman said that only like five to 10 percent of what they actually make there makes it to you know any larger retail footprint for Lululemon, but it's definitely the place that you can drop in and see the innovation for yourself, which I think is really another really cool way to interact with the brand and to show that they're being thoughtful about what they're offering and not just like you know hatching up a billion different products every single day and and just throwing a million things at the wall and seeing what it tastes like. Tastes like, haha. Feels like. And so yeah. So I do think it's another way of staying relevant.

Brian: [00:37:05.88] Yeah I love that. Oh my gosh. Next time I'm in New York I'm gonna head down there. You said Bond Street? I'm headed there.

Brian: [00:37:13.08] Bond Street. Yes. That's amazing. I love that kind of experience and it's actually I feel like there's such a stark contrast to Hudson Yards something which is something we haven't really talked about on the show at all yet, but I might have to save that for another day because I think we are running out of time here and fast. So I wanted to say thank you so much for coming on the show again. Ingrid it's always such a pleasure to have you on here, your insight, and talk with you about really cool stuff that's happening in retail right now. And we're looking forward to having you again on soon. And just love your sort of regular contributor voice that you brought to the show. It's been it's great.

Ingrid: [00:37:58.11] Yeah. I love it. It's super fun talking to you guys.

Brian: [00:38:00.93] Thanks and to you, our listeners, we always want to hear your feedback and build a connection with you, so please, anywhere you can find us, whether that be on futurecommerce.fm or on LinkedIn or on Twitter or Instagram or any other places that you can find us. We'd love to hear your feedback about today's show and joining the conversation about what's driving store closings and openings and how to deal with data and have a good data strategy and build connections with your customers. So don't hesitate to drop us a line and provide us with some feedback about what you're thinking about the show. With that, retail tech moves fast but future commerce is moving faster. Thanks so much for listening.

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