Old Navy Pilots Size Yes Concept Stores
On the latest episode of the E-Commerce Retail Briefing podcast:
Old Navy is piloting Size Yes concept stores that sell clothing at prices that don’t vary between sizes of the same item. While the concept is temporary, the company indicated that the pilot is part of a chain-wide initiative to promote size diversity and inclusion.
According to a press release, b8ta raised $50 million in Series C funding led by Evolution Ventures with participation from existing investors including Macy’s and Peak State Ventures. The company currently has more than 1,000 brands on its platform and will operate 25 flagship locations globally by the end of 2019. The funding announcement appears to be aimed at expanding b8ta’s footprint among retailers. The company recently revealed they were launching Ark and Ark Marketplace, a tech platform that enables retailers and retail landlords to use b8ta store technology to monetize their spaces. The Ark Marketplace platform is currently being used at 19 flagship locations across the country, as well as at the Toys R Us-b8ta concepts and The Market at Macy’s, according to a statement. The company said it has more than doubled its store traffic in 2019 to more than 3 million shoppers visiting its flagship locations. Tapping into the new brick-and-mortar retail strategies may turn out to be critical as reports point to consumers continuing to shop in stores in spite of the rise of e-commerce.
According to a survey, augmented reality is the most likely technology to make consumers think a brand is innovative, although most cutting-edge tech falls flat. About 26% of consumers said AR led them to think a brand was technically savvy, ahead of AI, facial recognition, chatbots, and cryptocurrency. Almost half of consumers want to see these technologies improve shopping experiences, such as AR that helps to visualize products in real-life settings. 33% want technology to help improve customer service. The survey reveals that cutting-edge technology may boost perceptions of brand innovation and help increase sales.
With the peak holiday season almost here, last-mile delivery wars are front and center. Delivery experiences can make or break a retailer, with 83% of consumers in a survey citing that a bad experience would push them to shop elsewhere. Amazon is spending more to meet tight delivery windows, leaving smaller margins, but they set the bar high for customer expectations. Outspending Amazon isn’t an option for most businesses, but that’s not the only option to remain competitive. Shoppers surveyed said they were willing to make tradeoffs, but they come at the expense of the seller. 65% of consumers said they are open to slower delivery if it’s free and almost 10% say discounts on a future purchase is also a reason to forego faster delivery. With an expected $645 billion value on e-commerce next year, last-mile delivery reliability can make the difference between losing out to Amazon’s shipping options and being competitive.
Old Navy Pilots Inclusive Plus Size Concept Stores
In October, Old Navy began transforming 30 stores with existing plus-sized sections into full “Size Yes” concept stores. Size Yes will sell clothing at prices that don’t vary between sizes of the same item. Before beginning the rollout of the Size Yes concept, 75 of Old Navy’s locations were piloting in-store shops dedicated to the chain’s collection of plus-sized clothing, called Plus. Old Navy has spoken of the movement as part of a chain-wide initiative to promote size diversity and inclusion. The Size Yes concept is only temporary at this point, with the pilot locations scheduled to return to regular operations on November 13th. The long term goal, however, is to sell all sizes of all products at the same price throughout the chain and ultimately eliminate price disparity.
Many retailers are working to improve their range of size offerings to better meet the needs of a more size-diverse customer base as consumers look toward more inclusive brands. Last year, Walmart announced its acquisition of a plus-sized e-tailer and in 2017, Neiman Marcus began piloting plus-sized clothing. The trend can also be seen in the success of direct-to-consumer companies like ThirdLove and Adore Me, which offer inclusive lingerie sizes, while retailer, Victoria’s Secret, experiences declining sales.