Speaking at Business Insider's IGNITION Redefining Retail event on Tuesday, Lively founder and CEO Michelle Cordeiro Grant said pop-up stores have been instrumental to building and expanding the company. "People are fatigued of looking at their phones," Grant said. "What these pop-ups allow them to do is engage in the moments and experiences they're really interested in while transacting without all of the friction."
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Though buzzy lingerie startup Lively is best known as a digitally native direct-to-consumer brand, founder and CEO Michelle Cordeiro Grant has found significant value in experimenting with pop-ups. The company launched its first brick-and-mortar pop-up store in New York City in 2018, a temporary showcase that allowed shoppers to experience and try on the popular $35 bras in real life. Speaking at Business Insider's IGNITION Redefining Retail event on Tuesday, Grant said these stores have been vital to building community among Lively's fanbase and getting the bras in front of more prospective consumers. "Pop-ups today are more about the experience you're giving the consumer," Grant said. "They don't need to come to a store to buy. They want to come to a store for human interaction. They need something to do that's not on their screen anymore, and that's what the pop-up gives us, it gives us a three-dimensional experience of what our brand means beyond the bra." Grant, who previously worked for Victoria's Secret, said experiential retail has become increasingly important in an age where shoppers — particularly young millennial and Gen Z consumers — are growing tired of staring at screens all day long. "Pre-social media and digital marketing platforms, brick-and-mortar was the place that you transacted, it was the option for where you went and bought something," she said. "Fast forward 7-10 years and people are fatigued of looking at their phones. What these pop-ups allow them to do is engage in the moments and experiences they're really interested in while transacting without all of the friction." Arpan Podduturi, director of product at Shopify who also spoke on the panel, echoed Grant and said pop-ups provide shoppers with a reprieve from being glued to their phone screens. "Digital fatigue is a real thing and it's a huge part of all of our lives," he said. "There's something really freeing about walking into a store and not thinking about your phone for 10 minutes and just learning about products." Grant added that pop-ups don't have to be overly complicated nor break the bank — she said the first Lively store cost $10,000, including staff travel and meals. For Lively, pop-ups are about forging a community, and uniting not just shoppers but also brand ambassadors, she said. Today the company has nearly 1,000 ambassadors, compared to 100 in 2016. "Brand is about human impact," she said. "It's about emotion that is sparked when they see the logo. Yes, the bra is important, but more importantly, what does the brand feel like and mean when they see the word." Watch IGNITION: Redefining Retail live here.
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The return of retail: How shopping in the UK will be dramatically different as stores reopen after lockdown
As lockdown restrictions begin to lift in England, many shopping centers are preparing to reopen to...As lockdown restrictions begin to lift in England, many shopping centers are preparing to reopen to the public on June 15. But reopening doesn't mean that shopping will go back to normal; many people are still hesitant to visit large stores, and the stores themselves must follow strict capacity and social distancing regulations that could limit usual services, such as tailoring or beauty makeovers. Retail expert Stephen Springham says that shoppers may feel safer visiting small, local shops rather than return to large crowds inside major shopping malls. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. 85 days have passed since t Britain's clothing, footwear, homeware stores, and coffee shops were made to close due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Nonessential shops that shut their doors back in March are able to reopen starting from June 15. Shoppers will see major changes. Limits on the number of customers inside at any one time, already seen in essential groceries and supermarkets open during lockdown, will be introduced. Expect to see hand sanitizers at store entrances and throughout shop floors with signs reminding you to stay distant from other shoppers and workers. Toilets, seating areas, and in-store cafes will also remain closed. High street's back, alright Not all retailers will reopen at the same time. High street giant Primark told Business Insider that it will reopen its stores on June 15. John Lewis is taking a more cautioned approach, opening just two department stores on Monday, with eleven more opening on June 18. John Lewis will introduce a new, upper contactless limit of £45 (USD$56) which means that customers cannot spend more than this amount without keying in their PIN number. Primark too will introduce an upper limit and has not ruled out accepting cash. Arcadia Group, which owns TopShop, Dorothy Perkins, and Miss Selfridges, told Business Insider that it has completely ruled out cash payments. Perhaps the biggest challenge for fashion retailers will be the closure of changing rooms, shoppers' tendencies to touch items on shelves, and services that require close contact such as tailoring and fitting. It could prove to be off-putting for shoppers who have previously enjoyed the browsing experience. "You don't know if something is right for you until you try it on, so what's the point in traveling into central London or a high street elsewhere when I can just order online and return an item safely?" said Kathryn Peters, who was a frequent commuter into London's West End before lockdown. Edward Hill, a 70-year-old retired chef, has been isolated indoors at home for three months and said he's "chomping at the bit" to go out shopping "for an adventure." "I probably won't browse like I usually do, but I know what I'll get beforehand to limit the time I spend in stores. I'm also a bit fearful of handling clothes that have been touched by others, so I'm hoping shoppers only grab what they need," he said. For others, nearby supermarkets have replaced the habitual drive into town for clothes. "Because supermarkets have clothing sections, if I needed anything for my daughter I'd just go there. It's not like I've not been able to shop because clothes stores have been closed," Elizabeth Baker from South London told Business Insider. Retail expert Stephen Springham at global real estate consultancy Knight Frank believes enforced social distancing and the closure of changing rooms will "dampen the shopping experience." "That will definitely weigh heavily on the way to recovery," he said. Springham says Monday's grand reopening won't be a "big independence day," but instead be drawn out over several weeks. The UK's devolved political system means the June 15 reopening ruling only applies to England. Northern Ireland's stores already reopened on June 8, while Scotland and Wales have yet to receive guidance on reopening nonessential stores to the public. Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium representing 70% of the UK's retail industry, says the issue of changing rooms is "big" and that "guidelines have been over the place." "Government guidance is stronger than ours in recommending that they are closed in the first instance. It really depends on the type of space a business has. The importance of social distancing has to be the overriding measure," she said. When children are your clientele, social distancing could be even trickier. Kirsty Cunningham and Arancha Heredero run Windmills, an independent children's shoe store in Crouch End, North London, and both say they will almost certainly find it tough sticking to the UK's 2 metre gap rule. It's a ruling that has come increasingly under fire from UK ministers, with only Britain, Spain, and Canada implementing a 2 meter gap. "Because we measure feet and fit shoes, we can't do that (distancing)," said Cunningham. "The children have their feet on our legs and knees all the time!" Despite losing £35,000 in lockdown costs and missed trade, they've spent £500 on sanitizers, aprons, and shields. They're mindful of making the shopping experience as fun as possible. "We have transparent shields instead of face masks, because it's threatening to children if they can't see our smile," said Heredero. A new personal shopper experience One change to the British shopping experience could be a more tailored, personalized shopping experience that US shoppers are more accustomed to. Westfield Stratford, Europe's biggest shopping mall located near the venues for the London 2012 Olympic Games, says it will introduce personal shopper appointments "in private spaces to combat the fitting room issue." "We have a private fashion lounge and work with personal stylists who can take one to one appointments to allow customers to try on clothes in a bespoke space in line with all guidelines," Westfield told Business Insider. There will also be a drive to interactive communication with customers as they wait in queues, "more integration of in store click and collect experiences" and "much more mixing of digital and physical" that could include QR codes and apps. In-store appointments only have been trial-tested by some retailers during the lockdown. Smaller stores could take advantage of appointments only. Dickinson says some retailers such as hardware and furniture stores are finding "a much higher conversion rate of customers" compared to normal trade. "It can generate better business, better loyalty and better customer connection," she said. Returning shop workers are equally anxious and excited Retail workers who are set to return from months of furlough have expressed both anguish and excitement. None more so than Carol Dorgu. She's worked in the patisserie and food department at the world famous luxury department store Harrods, a stone's throw away from London's royal palaces, for 22 years. She says Harrods has done its best to protect staff and helped trained staff in new hygiene protocols for two weeks before the scheduled reopening. "I didn't want to come back early in May, as I had concerns about the death toll going higher. In the patisserie section, there's no space for staff to distance." "They (Harrods) put your fear in consideration and won't force you to return," she said. Dorgu added that Harrods has advised its staff to bring their own packed lunch and to go out of the store during their break. Precautions have also been taken by stationery shop Paperchase, who will have screens up to divide customers from staff at tills just like many other retailers. Having been furloughed since March, Amy is more worried about receiving "abuse" from irate customers queuing up than she is about distancing when she returns to the shop floor. "Customers are rude enough on a normal day so add a pandemic into the mix and it'll just make them worse. We saw a small glimpse of it just before we shut with people being rude and not obeying the rules we had in place, coughing near us and refusing to pay by card," she said. "I imagine the stricter the rules, the worse they will be." Will shops recover from lockdown? In the immediate term, Dorgu worries about the lack of tourists coming over from China and the Middle East and the impact that will have on Harrods, a traditional hotspot for those wanting to cash in on luxury brands. Britain has slapped a 14-day quarantine for visitors that could deter potential short-stay tourists. But Dorgu remains optimistic about the store's future, "People might still want to see it and go 'Oh, I wonder what Harrods has done on their shopping experience.'" Overall, reduced footfall and consumers keeping their hands in their pockets might be the new norm.The double whammy of extra costs and lower sales will hit the retail industry hard. It's not a business model for the future, says Dickinson, adding "We will certainly have less physical shops in the future. We were on that trajectory before the pandemic. It'll just accelerate that change." Stephen Springham thinks bricks and mortar stores will remain, but the likes of London's Oxford Street "won't be top of the priority list" for both retailers looking to open and for customers looking to shop. "Retail is a £260 billion ($328 billion) market. Physical stores have a dominant cut of that and they'll still be there. It's not going to disappear, but it'll be painful," he said. What is certain is that many people have a greater appreciation of retailers on their doorstep. "By and large, people will show a greater willingness to shop locally," Springham said."We don't know this for sure, but local retail might emerge stronger." SEE ALSO: How English primary schools are focusing on emotional education to reopen safely during the coronavirus pandemic SEE ALSO: What's next for the banks and office spaces along London's Canary Wharf as the city reopens after lockdown Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly
'A totally new era of e-commerce': Glossier's tech boss explains why she left Amazon after 14 years to join a $1 billion beauty startup
Pawan Uppuluri left a stable job at Amazon after 14 years to become chief technology officer...Pawan Uppuluri left a stable job at Amazon after 14 years to become chief technology officer at Glossier. The tech veteran was excited by the opportunity to widen the digital sales channel at the beauty startup. Glossier's website could get a new look under Uppuluri's reign. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Pawan Uppuluri wasn't looking for a job when Glossier reached out to her to fill the position of chief technology officer. "I hadn't heard much about the company," Uppuluri, who has worked at the beauty startup since December, said of Glossier. "The more I did my research, the more it grew on me." Before taking the leap, the tech veteran had worked more than 14 years at Amazon, where she spearheaded such efforts as the retail giant's food-delivery service and customer experience for Alexa. While working at a tech goliath affords a certain level of job security, Uppuluri said she couldn't pass up the opportunity at Glossier to "invent the digital channel" for beauty, as Amazon has done for virtually everything else. The beauty category lags many other industries in one key way: A mere 15% of beauty products sales were made online before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research by McKinsey. Now, with retail stores including Glossier's affected by the pandemic and the lockdowns, Uppuluri's task at the company may be more important than ever. "Since joining the company, I am even more convinced that Glossier has laid the groundwork for the emergence of a totally new era of e-commerce," Uppuluri told Business Insider in March. Glossier sells its barely-there skin-care and beauty products in stores and online, and has amassed an arsenal of nearly 3 million Instagram followers and influencers that spread the brand's gospel on social media. Last year's funding led by Sequoia Capital valued the six-year-old startup at $1.2 billion. The beauty startup has an enviable customer feedback loop Uppuluri, who is originally from India, near Hyderabad, asked her friends and mothers of teenage daughters what they liked about Glossier before she accepted the top technology job. Their excitement was contagious, she said. “Sleepy selfie taken early this morning ft. #Futuredew layered on top of my regular serum, moisturizer, and SPF✨” —@melineas A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on Oct 22, 2019 at 7:22am PDT on Oct 22, 2019 at 7:22am PDT Glossier's social media pages are filled with product photos and self-portraits shared by their followers, and even the company's employees — a strategy that helps signal to potential customers that people like them love the products. The company mines for new product ideas in Instagram comments, product reviews, and an independent r/glossier subreddit. For years, it ran a focus group out of a Slack group, populated by its most engaged community members. 😂 A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on May 24, 2019 at 10:27am PDT on May 24, 2019 at 10:27am PDT Uppuluri said the conversation online happens "with the customer as well as between the customers," which is critical for a direct-to-consumer brand whose customers look to their peers to make beauty-purchasing decisions. "When I look at Glossier and what they've been able to do so far — how the community is created, what the experience is like in the physical retail stores — it's clear to me that this is a different kind of e-commerce," she said. "This is not about like reinventing the digital channel. It's about inventing it." Glossier's website could be getting a makeover under Uppuluri's reign The company has only four stores and has long avoided wholesale retailers, with the exception of pop-ups locations. Glossier's founder and chief executive Emily Weiss has said the company will never sell its products on Amazon. Emboldened by her experience at Amazon, Uppuluri hopes to widen the digital channel at her new post. Glossier's website is typical of any retailer. It shows beauty products photographed on a stormcloud-gray background and has them grouped by categories like skin-care, makeup, and body. While the product pages include user reviews, customers have less prominent placement on the website than they have on social media. "We are a digital-first company. We think about the company holistically in terms of experiences: digital, physical, and offline. We've created incredible physical experiences for our customers through products; and incredible offline experiences through our amazing retail environments," Uppuluri said. "Now, the way we've been thinking about it is: The big opportunity in front of us is to bring the magic you see in Glossier's stores, or happening in our Instagram comments with our community, to our website," she said. We sent Bubblewrap to @lizhew before it launched to get her thoughts. Here’s what she had to say: “It has the nicest feeling formula! It’s great to layer under makeup or on its own and keeps your delicate eye and lip area 💧hydrated💧 It contains hyaluronic acid and peptides along with blueberry extract (which is a great antioxidant!) and lastly it feels super lightweight and non-greasy as it’s fast absorbing, so say bye to any makeup pilling!” A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on May 5, 2019 at 10:31am PDT on May 5, 2019 at 10:31am PDT Uppuluri did not give specifics on how Glossier's website might look different in the future, but she said the work has a new sense of urgency as more people are doing their shopping from home. The effect of COVID-19 The beauty industry shut down almost overnight in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Glossier closed its stores in mid-March, and it's unclear when they will reopen. A leaked company email sent to retail employees on April 17, which was seen by Business Insider, said it expects stores to remain closed through at least the end of May. Swipe to read a letter from our founder and CEO @emilyweiss on our decision to temporarily close all Glossier retail stores. It’s a time to join us online and on Glossier.com, which is always open! 📲❤️✨ A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on Mar 12, 2020 at 7:53pm PDT on Mar 12, 2020 at 7:53pm PDT The store closures, and those of beauty-product outlets like Sephora and Ulta, give Uppuluri's task new significance. While sales of beauty products were down in the first quarter, the pandemic has triggered a boom in online shopping, according to the McKinsey report. The industry can expect e-commerce sales to increase 20% to 30% above their pre-coronavirus levels. For Uppuluri's part, Glossier will need to create an online shopping experience that parallels the joys of shopping in its stores, to help offset a drop in revenue. "Given COVID-19 and its impact on our ability to gather in person, this work is even more important," Uppuluri said. "We're evaluating new, creative ways to foster community and connection when we can't be together in real life."SEE ALSO: Glossier store workers brace for layoffs after company tells employees it may stop paying them at the end of May if stores remain closed, leaked email reveals Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: All the ways Amazon is taking over your house
Workers at chains like Kroger, Costco, and Waffle House are on the front lines of an increasingly violent war between mask supporters and opponents
Retail workers at chains, including Kroger, Waffle House, and Costco ,are increasingly caught in the crossfire...Retail workers at chains, including Kroger, Waffle House, and Costco ,are increasingly caught in the crossfire when it comes to enforcing store or state policies on personal protective equipment. Some shoppers refuse to wear masks or face coverings for political reasons. In some cases, confrontations between store workers and customers have resulted in deadly violence. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Kristine Holtham, a Kroger employee from Lansing, Michigan, recalled the last time she requested that a customer follow store rules and don a mask or face covering. The man refused to comply. Instead, he looked right at Holtham and said, "I don't give a damn about your health." The Kroger meat department employee described the incident to reporters during a United Food and Commercial Workers International press call, adding that she and her Kroger colleagues have increasingly begun to run up against shoppers who simply refuse to wear masks or face coverings for ideological reasons. "Kroger ended our 'hero pay,' but the crisis is not over," Holtham said. "I face each day with anxiety and it gets worse when I see customers refuse to wear masks. I am a mother and my children need me to stay healthy."Kroger recently decided to stop its $2-an-hour pay bump, instead providing a $400 bonus. Kroger did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. "The employees are downright afraid to ask people to put on masks," Holtham told reporters on Wednesday. "Believe me, if you ask someone to put on a mask, it's like asking them to throw their gun away." As stores, states, and local governments encourage people to wear mask in public, retail workers are bearing the brunt of the backlash. And with such clashes on the rise, there have been a number of violent incidents endangering the lives of workers. Family Dollar security guard Calvin Munerlyn was shot and killed in early May at one of the retailer's Michigan stores, after telling a shopper that she needed to wear a mask to shop at the store. The shopper's father shot Munerlyn in the back of the head later that day. Last week, a Waffle House customer opened fire, shooting an employee at the Aurora, Colorado location, after being turned away by a cook for not wearing a mask. Neither Waffle House nor Family Dollar have policies on if customers have to wear masks. Workers were attempting to follow state orders in Colorado and Michigan that require or encourage people to wear masks when they leave their homes. Workers are stuck in the middle of a culture war Retail workers have also faced backlash over other safety policies that companies have rolled out to keep customers and employees safe during the coronavirus pandemic. A woman in Oklahoma City shot three McDonald's employees after she was told the fast-food chain had closed dining rooms due to the pandemic. And, earlier in May, a crowd outside a Costco in New Rochelle, New York, became aggressive when the warehouse opened 30 minutes later than expected, resulting in the police being called. "In 30-plus years of studying retail and crisis situations, we have never seen a situation of customers being so rude to hourly employees," Larry Barton, a professor of crisis management and public safety at the University of Central Florida, told Business Insider's Mary Hanbury. "It's demoralizing and, as we saw with the shooting of the security guard, a sometimes deadly environment," he added. But UFCW International President Marc Perrone said that many retailers are failing to fully back or protect frontline employees on the issue of enforcing mask policies. He said that businesses "don't want to drive off their customers" by taking stricter measures. Perrone advocates for retailers to hire security guards to enforce PPE policies. "We have been pushing for that for quite some time now, and the reason being is that these workers are not management, the consumer does not look at them as management," he said. Masks have become a political symbol Masks have become increasingly politicized during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts say that everyone wearing a mask in a store is one of the best ways to make shopping safer for everyone involved, allowing businesses to reopen. However, "anti-maskers" have said that policies requiring people to wear masks infringe on their freedom. Costco faced boycott threats when it became one of the first retailers to require all customers to wear masks in stores. Others rallied around Costco, voicing support for the new safety policy. A Whole Foods store worker told Business Insider's Hayley Peterson that customers were shouting at them on a daily basis. The employee, and others in this article, were granted anonymity in order to speak frankly about the situation without fear of retribution. "I have had people yell at me for not wearing a face mask, and had people yell at me for wearing a face mask," the Whole Foods worker said. A worker at the Gap told Business Insider that customers refusing to wear masks puts her and other employees in a stressful and uncomfortable position. Gap is encouraging shoppers to wear masks, but not requiring it — something some shoppers see as permission to go mask-free in the store. "I just keep in mind that, [if I] get sick, I might be good to go, but my parents will not bounce back the same way," the Gap employee said. "I don't want to be a health hazard to them."SEE ALSO: A Family Dollar security guard was killed after he refused to let a customer into the store because they weren't wearing a mask. Experts say acts of aggression are a terrifying trend on the rise in the retail sector. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid