NRF predicts holiday sales spike
Officials at the Global Market Development Center think that retailers have a great opportunity to build sales through several key general merchandise categories, including gift cards, clothing, books and media, this holiday season.
GMDC says that a National Retail Federation study found that sales during the holiday season will increase by 3.4%, with online shopping becoming the most popular consumer experience for the first time in survey history.
NRF’s annual consumer spending survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics predicts consumers plan to spend an average of $967 during the 2017 holiday season compared to last year’s reported spending of $936. The figure includes food, flowers, decorations, gifts for others and greeting cards.
“With employment and incomes increase, consumers are more confident this year and that is reflected in their buying plans for the holidays,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers have been stocking up in expectation of this, and all signs are that this will be a busy holiday season. Retailers are preparing for a rush of consumers leading into Thanksgiving and all through December, and are offering a wide array of merchandise and promotions so shoppers can find great gifts and great deals at the same time.”
NRF anticipates shoppers will jump online and flock to department stores. In fact, online shopping is at its highest rate ever this year — 59%, up from 57% last year. The survey also found that 57% will shop at a department store, 54% at a discount store, 46% at a grocery store/supermarket and 35% at clothing or accessories store. The survey found 27% plan to visit an electronics store, 25% a small or local business, and 18% will go to a crafts or fabrics store.
According to NRF, shoppers say these are at the top of their wish lists this season:
1. Gift cards/gift certificates: 61%;
2. Clothing or clothing accessories: 55% — the highest level in 14 years;
3. Books, music or movies: 40%;
4. Consumer electronics or computer-related accessories: 33% — GMDC research suggests wrist-worn wearables, such as the Fitbit and Apple Watch, are fueling this trend, augmented reality and virtual reality are closely following wearables in popularity, according to GMDC. Also, advanced voice devices, such as Amazon’s Echo (Alexa), Google Home and Apple’s Siri are popular; and
5. Home décor and furnishings: 24%
Retailers can capitalize on these trends and others with smart, innovative products and merchandising, according to the GMDC.
“This holiday season is an important one, given the disruptive and rapidly evolving marketplace,” said Mark Mechelse, director of research, industry insights and communications at GMDC, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. ”As the online versus offline battle continues, brick and mortar retailers have a unique opportunity to embrace change. Those that differentiate themselves and leverage technology to transform the way consumers shop can deliver enhanced experiences inside the store. Advancing a new mix of offerings through click-and-collect and home delivery, and curating an assortment of products to reflect localization strategies, retailers can satisfy even the savviest shopper’s wish list.”
New tools to reach beauty consumers hit Spotify, Instagram
Social media and technology are becoming the new battlegrounds for companies to market their latest product launches to a wide range of consumers. Streaming giant, Spotify has already made its mark in the e-commerce field by partnering with Merchbar since 2014 to sell artists’ merchandise on their profile pages. Now, the company is reportedly looking to take things one step further by entering the world of beauty.
Spotify is looking to continue its successful relationship with Merchbar by using it as the link between product and consumer, according to a report in TechCrunch. The company is looking to begin this launch by partnering with makeup artist Pat McGrath to sell three shades of lipstick retailing for $22 each. Consumers will be able to recreate the looks of their favorite artists with the products used to create them. This approach is similar to what newcomer Shopthat is looking to create with its platform.
Shopthat is a much newer company on the scene, but they are looking to bridge the gap between consumer and beauty influencer. The company will allow fans of a particular YouTube or Instagram star to shop their content by linking liked posts to products, taking shoppers all the way through purchase without having to visit a website or download an app. Unlike Spotify using Merchbar as its outside source for consumers to complete their purchases, Shopthat will be using Facebook Messenger to complete the transaction by connecting to a user’s social media account.
“For starters, we're not an app,” Ami Moore, CEO and Founder of Shopthat said. “You just like a shoppable post, then we send you a Facebook message that lets you directly shop all the products from the post. You see it, you Like it. Seconds later, you own it.”
Both companies are allowing the artist or influencer to receive a commission for the products sold.
These new efforts to capture sales from social media look to be solidifying technology's impact on the beauty world. Numerous brands have already partnered with such companies as ModiFace and YouCam Makeup to bring AR-powered technology to the shopping front, with MAC Cosmetics being the latest to launch virtual try-on mirrors in its stores.
MAC Cosmetics launches virtual try-on mirror powered by ModiFace
TORONTO — MAC Cosmetics is leaping into the future with ModiFace. The company has announced the launch of a new Augmented Reality try-on mirror, allowing a curated set of MAC shades and looks to be tried on by a user instantly. The mirror is powered by ModiFace’s facial and 3D video makeup rendering technology, which provides a full 3D video of realistic makeup looks under any lighting condition.
“We are excited to bring Virtual MAC to our freestanding stores, first to the US, and then globally. The new ModiFace-powered mirrors provide an unprecedented level of realism and fidelity that bring to life our brand’s unique sense of colour and artistry. We believe this will be a game changing addition to our stores,” Tim Tareco SVP Global Creative, Visual Merchandising + Store Design from MAC said.
A set of 29 custom eye looks has been replicated with the highest fidelity by ModiFace scientists, in order to provide a life-like rendition. Each look is mapped to the face 30 times per second, with the mapping placing the looks to with a fraction of a pixel for each face. The final result is one that is indistinguishable from a real-life application of the looks by a makeup artist.
"MAC Cosmetics is a renowned beauty brand with a very unique range of shades. We are delighted to be partnering with MAC on many AR initiatives, the first of which is to bring photo-realistic live video makeup try on to MAC stores,” Jennifer Tidy, vice president of partnerships at ModiFace said.
The virtual try-on mirror has been launched in MAC stores across the nation, and is looking towards a global expansion in early 2018. This collaboration is the latest launch for ModiFace who has previously announced partnerships with Sephora, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Allergan, Unilever, and Coty.