Sephora's innovation in e-commerce, in-store technology and virtual marketing have helped the beauty retailer meld in-store and online retail experiences and stay competitive in the digital age. "People want to experience things both ways -- the conversation is less about splitting the channels and more about leveraging the trend," said Sephora marketing executive Deborah Yeh.
US retail sales rose a higher-than-expected 0.8% in November from the previous month, as holiday shoppers got off to a strong start, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday. Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 2.1%, and spending was up across the board, from furniture and home improvement retailers to clothing and sporting goods stores.
About 11% of American households now have smart speakers, per a comScore report, and the adoption of this technology is driving the adoption of other smart home products. Owners of smart speakers are more than six times more likely than nonowners to own smart lighting and more than three times more likely to use a smart hub, based on Statista figures.
Amazon has enabled a way for Alexa users to control their Twitch streaming accounts, discover new streams and get notifications on the ones they follow. The feature offers audio control via voice command for the platform, though it doesn't currently allow hands-free streaming.
Convenience store retailer 7-Eleven is testing an app at 10 Dallas-area stores that allows shoppers to place mobile orders for in-store pickup or delivery. The app, dubbed 7-ElevenNow, will be offered in other markets next year, and it builds on 7-Eleven's Postmates delivery service.
Venture capitalists are seeking out opportunities to invest in augmented reality and computer vision/machine learning programs. Mobile AR is particularly popular, though the programs are in the early stages and could see up to $100 million exits over the next two years, per industry data.
Redbox is attempting to gain a foothold in the digital market with Redbox on Demand, a feature that will be available across multiple mobile platforms, the web, streaming devices and smart TVs. The service will offer 48-hour rentals for $4, as well as purchases for $10 or more.
Shoppers are twice as likely to buy items when they are offered sales support, regardless of whether they are shopping virtually or in-person, per a Salesfloor poll. Only 40% of online shoppers receive this assistance, compared with 90% in store, the poll also noted.
Social media influencers are lining up to offer master classes on makeup and hair styling, and beauty brands including Bobbi Brown and La Mer have begun offering their own in-person and online classes. Henry Vasquez, a beauty blogger and consultant for brands including L'Oreal, has led 65 classes at cosmetic stores and salons, all but one of which sold out, he said.
Sales associates can be a retailer's strongest asset in the efforts to create a personalized shopping experience and build customer loyalty, according to a report from Salesfloor. Retailers can better meet consumers' evolving needs by providing employees with the knowledge, tools and technology they need to engage with customers in stores and via digital channels, Salesfloor CEO Oscar Sachs said.