Monthly Newsletter | SEPTEMBER 2017 | Seventeenth Issue
S-CUBE Fixtures What's In Store this month

Table of Contents

S-CUBE PAVE's the Way
Innovation is not a Side Project
Email, Shining Star this Holiday Season
'In Real Life'


S-CUBE Helps Pave the Way for Future Designers
Through PAVE Student Design Challenge Sponsorship


In an effort to provide up-and-coming student designers with an opportunity to showcase their skills, S-CUBE is proud to be sponsoring the 2018 Planning and Visual Education Partnership (PAVE) Student Design Challenge.

PAVE stands for Planning and Visual Education. The association’s mission is to connect students, educators, and professionals who support the retail industry in a vibrant, meaningful, and mentoring format. By providing students the opportunity to solve real-world retail design problems, posed by retail clients, the 2018 PAVE Student Design Challenge connects students, educators and retail professionals in a meaningful two-way mentoring relationship. The winning student designs will be featured at GlobalShop, the nation’s largest retail design industry trade show on March 27-29, 2018 at McCormic Place in Chicago, IL.

“We are so excited to be involved in this innovative competition and are looking forward to working with the next generation of retail designers,” said Eric Weinstein, principal, S-CUBE. “The students get a chance to put their creativity to the test with a real-life retail challenge, the retailers get the benefit of a new perspective, and we have the unique opportunity to bring it all together to create and display the solution.”

S-CUBE is one of only a few sponsors of The PAVE Student Design Challenge, which is in its 18th year.

S-CUBE’s education partner for their challenge is Endicott Colleg,e located in Beverly, MA. The school’s Interior Design program combines teaching aesthetics with pragmatic solutions to support the construction of appealing, high-functioning interior environments. S-CUBE’s retail partner is the BodyShop, whose popular products are inspired by the diversity of nature and customs of people around the world. Experts in caring for all different skin types the BodyShop product is NEVER tested on animals.

“The team has come together” said Weinstein “and we are eagerly waiting to receive our retail challenge”. Teams of Endicott College design students will tackle this project as part of their first semester curriculum. They are up to the challenge!

Make plans now to be at GlobalShop 2018 and visit the Pave Student Design Challenge showcase. You’ll be able to chat with the winning students and view first-hand the collaborative results of our team. Of course you can aways check the next issue of What’s In Store for updates on our progress.



GlobalShop 2018 - March 27-29 @ McCormick Place - Chicago, IL

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Learn more about PAVE



Innovation is not a Side Project
Innovation needs to be a company priority in order to happen. It needs to be infused into the very culture of the corporation in order to drive change.


Driving innovation isn’t exactly one of those things you can check off a to-do list on any given day. Again and again, we hear that companies have to prioritize innovation, infuse it into their culture and bring in diverse perspectives. For retailers facing an increasingly demanding consumer and an industry undergoing transformation, the question isn’t just how to innovate in one area, but how to drive it across the organization.

The National Retail Federation spoke with theBoardlist’s Sukhinder Singh Cassidy on the people, culture and decisions that drive true innovation.

Q.) Retailers are talking a lot about creating a culture of innovation. What can you share with them about creating the right culture based on your own experience in the organizations you’ve been a part of?

A.) Cultures of innovation start with the premise that innovation and learning to iterate fast are everyone’s responsibility and job, not sitting in a silo independent of the rest of the organization. Creating the right culture is about creating the expectation that innovation is a part of every person’s core job, rather than a “side project.”

Q.) Innovation is a mandate in most retail companies today, but being truly innovative can mean taking big risks. From a leadership perspective, how do you approach risky decisions?

A.) Approaching risky decisions is about breaking big risks into smaller ones, and getting information by taking each smaller step that helps minimize the overall risk of a project. The more “risky” a project, the more it needs to be broken down into smaller digestible risks that allow you to commit progressively up until the point where you need to take the big step— and that step is informed by what went ahead of it.

This is the ideal, although sometimes companies wait too long to take action, or the market changes more rapidly and they are forced to consume the biggest risk in one fell swoop, which obviously is inherently “more risky” itself.

Q.) What’s the best way to sell someone on a big idea? What do you do, or how does your team sell a big idea to you?

A.) The best way for someone to sell a big idea is a) simply with a crisp articulation that can be sold in a sentence; b) deeply, backed by data on market size/opportunity; and c) broken down into steps and stages that make it clear the series of things you need to believe to capture the full-scale opportunity.



Singh Cassidy

Singh Cassidy, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur

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Email, Shining Star this Holiday Season
This was according to the “2017 Christmas in July Survey,” a study from j2 Global. The study tapped 564 members of its customer base and 100 retailers.


Shoppers may be using more digital tools to engage with their favorite brands, however their effectiveness all take a backseat to the success rates of email marketing. In fact, 66% of respondents ranked email as more effective than other forms of advertising, including social media, online advertising, and print advertising.

Of course, as the holiday shopping season heats up, it becomes increasingly difficult to cut through noisy email inboxes. That’s why email marketers are preparing for the holiday season sooner.

Compared to 2016, 4% more companies are commencing campaign preparations before September. One-third of retailers who began preparing for the season before September last year reported a very successful 2016 holiday season, compared to 22% who began preparing in September or later, the study revealed.

However, simply blasting out email campaigns is not a method for success. With 40% of retailers listing personalization as the most effective way to boost email marketing efforts, it’s critical to personalize emails with a greeting and deliver concise messages that are simple to read and easy to grasp.

“The results from our 2017 Christmas in July Survey indicate that while retailers are increasingly using social media channels, email still proves the dominant means for reaching consumers with holiday marketing campaigns,” said EJ McGowan, general manager of Campaigner. “When it comes to the coveted element of personalization, email is the sole medium that allows this unparalleled ability for retailers to engage consumers.”

When it comes to leveraging social media for holiday marketing campaigns, advertising behemoth Facebook takes the cake. With 72% of retailers ranking it as the most effective social media platform, and 88% planning to invest marketing spend into the social media giant, Facebook proves it’s the place to be for brands that want to get the most bang for their social buck during the holidays. Instagram and Twitter follow closely behind with projected investment rates of 46% and 37%, respectively, for the 2017 holiday season.

Although Facebook may be shining bright, the outlook for alternate social channels is not quite as merry. While still a nascent player in the social media arena, only 3% of respondents plan to invest in Snapchat this holiday season. Additionally, image-heavy Pinterest saw investment projections of 16%.

When it comes to marketing campaigns, identifying and aligning the holidays with seasonal marketing strategies and e-commerce promotions is another big revenue driver. In fact, 62% of retailers found early preparation of marketing content and promotions as the most helpful resource for the holiday season — 38% more than those that chose having a mobile responsive website. Additionally, 59% of retailers plan to prioritize promotions and discounts this holiday season.

“It’s crucial for businesses to give themselves ample time to prepare for the holiday season,” said Seamas Egan, associate director of revenue operations at Campaigner. “Acting on these insights within a lengthy timeline will ensure that holiday campaigns are successful from the perspective of both retailer and recipient.”



Holiday Email


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'In Real Life'
'In Real Life' is the Next Frontier of E-Commerce — And Brick- and-Mortar


With many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers struggling in the new era of retail, online-first retailers such as Warby Parker and even Amazon have become increasingly invested in getting into the physical store game.

These retailers and others like them have mastered the art of getting visitors’ attention online within two to three seconds, keeping it once they’ve got it, making it all about the customer from arrival to checkout, learning as much about the customer as possible along the way, and continuing the conversation well beyond their visit. Yet, they realize there are still three things standing between them and their customers: physical space, a human connection, and coveted in-store/in-person data.

The natural next frontier for these retailers is "in real life," and it is allowing them to move effortlessly between online and offline. At the same time, traditional retailers are taking note and realizing there’s a lot online can teach them about offline.

Here are some early signs of online’s influence in the physical space:

Retailers are transforming their physical space into experience space. To the online retailer, determining what to do with time and space is easy: create memorable experiences. This is in contrast to traditional retailers, many who have historically filled the gap between the customer walking in and out of the door with...practically nothing. Their disproportionate emphasis on the transaction has overshadowed any opportunity for personal interaction.

Stores are introducing technology that makes shopping an event, rather than a chore. Online retailers have had to solve many problems that are a function of not having a physical presence. Some of their solutions have been so good that they’re translating to the offline experience, too. Digital fitting rooms, for instance, are helping customers find clothes that fit right on the very first try. These kinds of in-person conveniences may encourage customers to buy, but more importantly, they create longer-lasting value that makes visitors want to come back.

In-person retailers are getting serious about personalizing the customer journey. It’s only logical that whatever personalization shoppers get online should be exceeded by the personalization they get in person. And yet, the current reality is that in-person shopping is an anonymous experience devoid of even the most basic personalization. While the experience is what makes customers enjoy being there; personalization is what makes customers feel valued when they are.

Savvy retailers heart macro- and micro-influencers.
Gone are the days when brands looked only to celebrities and high-profile social media influencers to spread the word about their wares. This year is the dawn of the micro-influencer: social media users who have relatively smaller audiences but are influential within their respective circles. And, bonus, they legitimately like the brand.

In-Real-Life stores provide a far better backdrop for influencers to influence than online could ever dream of. By pairing meaningful in-person experiences with fodder that encourages visitors to drop everything and let their followers know what’s up, retailers are proactively converting everyday in-store visits into social media currency for influencers of all shapes and followings.

Encouraging customers to use geotags, hashtags and/or the brand’s name in posts not only leads audiences back to the brand, but also lets the retailer keep track of their posts and determine which had the most engagement. Knowing this, the retailer can consider introducing more formal collaborations with the fans behind these high- performing posts.

Customer data makes the customer experience better.
Online retailers live and die by their data, yet when it comes to knowing what their customers are like offline, they’ve got a major knowledge gap. Ironically, many brick and mortar retailers suffer from the same lack of information about their in-store customers. That’s why brands have begun to introduce data collection components to their in-store experiences.

As technology evolves and online and offline are formally integrated, data collection will be more like data transfer, where an online retailer’s knowledge will be immediately available to its offline counterpart, and vice versa. Until then, retailers will continue to use tech-enabled, but still manual, approaches like loyalty reward program sign-ups, competitions, surveys tied to experiences, and customers’ transaction histories, to learn more about them.

Independent of how they get it, data is crucial for retailers’ ongoing marketing and sales efforts. It’s what allows online brands to continually evolve the customer experience online, and more and more, it will be what lets retailers evolve the customer experience in-store.

Offline and online retailers face different challenges, but have very similar goals. By taking the best of both worlds and applying it to the customer experience, retailers can begin to make brick-and-mortar shopping the next big- thing.



'In Real Life'


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