Apparel and Shoe Brands

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Apparel and Shoe Brands: Competitive Landscape, Part 1

After conducting an extensive such on Nike, Adidas, and Pentland, we established that Nike uses Alexa for scheduling appointments while Adidas applies conversation artificial intelligence that helps to converse with clients. However, we could not find the social shopping experience for Adidas. Information on Pentland's social shopping, voice-assisted shopping and virtual-try-on could not be retrieved.

Methodology

We began our search by looking through official websites of the assigned companies, that is, Adidas, Pentland, and Nike. We searched there because these sites would be the first place they post what the company does. However, we could not find any information except the virtual-try-on for a virtual supermodel, Shudu. There is no information about social shopping, virtual- try- on for customer and voice-assisted shopping.
We extended our search and scoured through business and marketing sites such as Business Insider, Forbes, and Marketing Week. We looked for the information there because these sites contain updated information on the business activities from many companies. Adidas only has Friends and Family discounts, but there is no mention of social shopping such as friends shopping online together or in a different part of the world. There is no information about Pentland.
We broadened our search and looked through customer review sites such as Trust Pilot. We searched there because customers usually tell about their shopping experience on review sites and we probably can find the social shopping by Adidas or Pentland and other information needed for virtual-try-on and voice-assisted shopping. We found on Trust Pilot information about 266 customers all around the world, but we couldn't find the social shopping experience. Only some bad and good customer experience offered while buying the shoes, but no review for Pentland.

NIKE

Nike has a Nike Friend and Family (NFF) pass that is given to its customers as a way of thanking them for shopping with them. Through this program, customers can get up to 30% discounts on shoes and apparel once in each session. The discounts can be awarded when shopping with family and friends. It can be used on Nike, Converse factory and clearance store, or in Hurley.

Nike China and Wieden partnered with Kennedy Shanghai to create Nike's epic react shoe gamification. The gamification is developed using playful technology such as virtual reality, to enable customers to navigate Reactland. Reactland is a virtual world where the users/gamers can bounce on clouds and encounter animals like frogs and panda, using Nike shoes.

Nike took part on Facebook Messenger's beta augmented reality run. This was meant to access the shoes that clients have to enter as a series of emoji in the application. From this exercise, Nike was able to access "Kyrie 4 'red carpet", an augmented reality world, where the users experience the virtual world with the featured Nike shoe. These Augmented reality effects combined in messaging helps users shop for shoes online by visualizing the product before buying it.
As reported by Ron Faris, Nike's General Manager, Nike uses Alexa for scheduling appointments. Alexa is useful in providing Nike's customers with information about the time when a product drops. Alexa can inform a client to line-up on a set time to access a service. Nike is looking for a chat platform from which it can use voice to send automated messages as well.

ADIDAS

Adidas partnered with Unit9 and developed a Snapchat Football Game. The platform was developed to be used for social interactions. The users can easily tap to play the game by controlling the avatar to showcase football skills. The game was a way of marketing the product and engaging the clients.

Adidas partnered with Snapchat and made it possible for customers to virtually try on the latest sneakers from Adidas. Through using the Snapchat camera, the Augmented Reality option enables customers to choose shoes. The shoes are then placed on the ground through the Snapchat camera. This campaign uses Augmented Reality in order for Adidas to connect with its clients.
Adidas incorporated conversation artificial intelligence that helps to converse with its customers through chats. Adidas made voice recognition and artificial intelligence to serve its clients using 1,100 live agents. The service sends a personalized service to clients, promoting natural marketing.

PENTLAND

Pentland conducts community games where children from primary schools go to play. The games are called Pentland Community Games. The event was held at the beginning of 2019 in North London. The event will be held in Sunderland at the end of 2019, and in Nottingham in 2020. These events enable Pentland to create partnerships that bring schools and sports clubs across the United Kingdom together.
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Apparel and Shoe Brands: Competitive Landscape, Part 2

Under Armor, Reebok, and Zappos are different in terms of how each brand provides social shopping opportunities. Both Reebok and Under Armor use sports, athletes and social media to gamify their brands and reward their customers when they win various competitions. Similarly, both Reebok and Under Armor provide virtual try one, however, Zappos is not there yet. These and other comparisons have been made in the attached spreadsheet in rows 3 - 7 and columns F-H.

SOCIAL SHOPPING

Under Armour prides itself as being the brand which represents the pursuit of better. The website boasts this mantra through the provision of men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ items. This allows for social shopping as consumers may also see new arrivals and place their orders whether purchasing for a family member or friends or during shopping together. Consumers may also shop based on seasons and have their orders shipped to them. This replaces the idea of outdoor shopping as it can be done comfortably indoors.

Reebok's website features information on gift cards, support, and Reebok programmes. Through these, consumers can receive information on discounts, affiliate programmes, gift cards and check their balances. This facilitates the aspect of social shopping as consumers receive information with one click allowing consumers to purchase the products in an informed manner.

Zappos provides a variety of products for men, women, and kids and facilitates social shopping through the products it carries. Since the company is not a one-track store, persons may visit the site together to purchase items they like. It also allows group shopping through referral as a friend may see a product and enquire where his or her friend purchased it based on mutual likes. Friends may also browse and shop together. Zappos also provides expedited and free shipping through its reward point system.

Gaming to Engage Consumers

Under Armour has worked with the Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to launch what it regarded as an endless runner game for Snapchat. The company brought NBA 2K18 gamers to its Baltimore headquarters to compete on a 30-foot-high video screen for the launch of NBA star Stephen Curry’s “Curry 4” shoe. The company has also had professional athletes test out its UA HOVR Phantom and Sonic sneakers, which are said to have an embedded chip that tracks data like time, distance, cadence, and speed. This data is then fed into Under Armour’s apps MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness.

In 2015, Reebok used social media to engage its consumers. This is done through the use of gamification as it offered runners a chance to win a pair of Reebok Z Pump Fusion shoes through its contest on Instagram. This was referred to as the first ever Instagram based virtual run.

Zappos is not currently utilizing gamification to engage consumers. On the other hand, the company has created a game to assist employees with knowing each other. This aids in the building of a company culture which is presented to consumers.

Virtual Try On

In the space of three weeks, Under Armour replaced physical samples with hundreds of virtual samples. This resulted in significant savings, and a reduction of product development time by approximately 50%. Designers and vendor partners were also able to collaborate much earlier to identify problems, improve fit, and make faster decisions and necessary changes to improve the products.

While Reebok does not seem to have a virtual try-on system for athletic wear, the service is offered to consumers in the optical division. This is done through other distributors of Reebok eyeglasses as consumers are provided with the option to try on with magic mirror. This allows consumers to view their appearance before purchasing.

Zappos does not provide a virtual try on for its consumers. Instead, consumers may only see the product being offered to allow customization through size selection and in some cases, colour selection. The products are shown at all angles to provide consumers with a wholesome view of the clothing or shoe.

Voice Assisted Shopping

While there is no voice assistant associated with Under Armor, there may be other technological advances such as connected shoes. These shoes would monitor distance and stride length. The company is currently experimenting with wearable accessories as a means of facilitating use while doing activities.

Reebok currently does not have voice assisted shopping. This, however, may be included in current and future campaigns. The voice assisted shopping would allow the company to be deemed as attractive by members of its target audience. The company is currently aiming at regaining members of that target audience through a new campaign.

While Zappos does not have a Virtual Assistant, there are videos on products. These videos give the consumer insight on what he or she will purchase. This provides relatability and allows consumers to make a more informed decision. The lack of voice assisted shopping is replaced with visual representations.
These findings have been outlined in th attached spreadsheet.
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Apparel and Shoe Brands: Competitive Landscape, Part 3

One way that Nike has been working to accelerate its North American shoe business is by placing an increased focused on launching new products. The requested information about Nike, Adidas, and Pentland is included in the attached spreadsheet. Below is an explanation of our findings about social purpose and an overview of our research findings.

METHODOLOGY

We found all the requested information. We just wanted to explain that for social purpose strategy, we focused on sustainability because our research was focused on the companies' shoes and apparel segments, which is directly applicable to the companies' sustainability initiatives.

WHAT nike, adidas, & parley ARE DOING TO ACCELERATE THEIR NORTH AMERICAN SHOE/APPAREL BUSINESS

1. NIKE

Nike had recently been struggling in North America, including with its shoe and apparel business segments due to strong competition from its competitors. One way that Nike has recently been working to accelerate its shoe business in North America is by placing an increased emphasis on launching new products. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2018, Nike "launched several sneakers . . . including singer Kendrick Lamar’s Cortez Kenny III line of shoes." One way that Nike has recently been working to accelerate its apparel business in North America is by investing more heavily in its women's apparel segment. The reason for that growth acceleration strategy is because Nike is trying to counteract its perceived male-focused brand image.

2. ADIDAS

One way that Adidas has been working to accelerate its North American apparel business is by "trying not to oversupply old [fashion] styles." Adidas has worked to accelerate its North American shoe business by increasing promotional efforts "for new lines" of shoes. One such shoe line that Adidas has been working to so promote is its running shoe line named Ultra Boost. Additionally, Adidas's growth business acceleration strategy has also included relaunching a leather sneaker line from the 1980's called Continental. In June 2018, the Continental shoe line was relaunched and as of August 2018, the shoes were selling out, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of Adidas's acceleration strategy.

3. PENTLAND

According to Pentland's CEO, the company "is under-represented in the U.S." To counteract that and accelerate its business in North America, Pentland acquired "the US footwear brand SeaVees" which provided Pentland with greater market share and one less competitor. Another way that Pentland is working to accelerate its business in North America, including apparel and shoes, is by focusing on the company's "direct to consumer vision for the US" market. In that regard, the company is particularly focusing on its Endura, ellesse, and Seavees apparel/shoe brands. Additionally, Pentland's business acceleration plan for North America has also included the March 2019 launch of its ellesse apparel/shoe brand in the United States.

WHAT nike, adidas, & pentland ARE DOING AROUND SOCIAL PURPOSE STRATEGY WITH REGARD TO THEIR SHOE/APPAREL BUSINESSES

1. NIKE

In a March 2019 press release, Nike announced its new social purpose sustainability efforts involving its shoe business. This summer, the company will be launching "the Nike Plant Color Collection," which is comprised of shoes colored with "plant-based dye[s]." With regard to both its apparel and shoe segments, Nike has two main product sustainability innovations: Flyknit and NIKE GRIND. [4] Flyknit/"Flyleather is a super material made with at least 50 percent recycled natural leather fiber." Nike's new shoe called the VaporMax2 Random is constructed from Flyknit, which prevents that material from ending up in a landfill. According to the company, "NIKE GRIND is a premium materials palette born from a regeneration process of original materials and products . . . [t]urning limited resources into limitless potential."

2. ADIDAS

Adidas has a prominent social purpose initiative with regard to its shoe/apparel business, which is the company's sustainability collaboration with Parley. Parley is a company that upcycles plastics (and other types of waste) from coastal communities and beaches, as part of a movement to save the oceans from plastic pollution. As a result of the collaboration, Adidas and Parley have created eco-friendly apparel and shoes made from "recycled ocean plastic." The shoes created through this collaboration also include both a men's and women's line of tennis shoes, which is called the Adidas X Parley Tennis Collection.

3. PENTLAND

Pentland's social purpose work involving sustainability includes making Polartec fabric apparel items from plastic bottles that have been recycled. As a result of that manufacturing process from Pentland, over 2 million plastic bottles have been spared from ending up in a landfill. Another aspect of Pentland's sustainability efforts involve reducing the amount of water used in its manufacturing process, including for apparel. Pentland calls that water-saving initiative Colourkind. Pentland's Colourkind sustainability initiative has "reduc[ed] the amount of water (up to 90%) used to make the products." Speedo is one of Pentland's brands that has implemented the Colourkind initiative.

CONSUMER-FACING PARTNERSHIPS INVOLVING THEIR SHOE/APPAREL BUSINESSES THAT WILL CHANGE HOW CONSUMERS SHOP FOR THEIR PRODUCTS OR ARE MADE AWARE OF THEIR PRODUCTS

1. NIKE

One of Nike's consumer-facing partnerships involving its apparel business is a partnership with the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association). Specifically, Nike will be supplying each WNBA team, throughout the 2019 season, "with pinnacle performance gear." That partnership will change how consumers are exposed to Nike's products, as the performance gear worn by the female basketball players will be walking advertisements for Nike. Another Nike consumer-facing partnership involving apparel products is with Major League Baseball. The new 10-year partnership will begin in 2020 and "Nike will become the exclusive provider of Major League Baseball’s on-field uniforms (which will feature a Nike Swoosh), including baselayers, game-day outerwear and training apparel." The partnership will change the way consumers are exposed to Nike apparel products, as the apparel worn by the baseball players will showcase Nike as the exclusive apparel brand worn on-field.

2. ADIDAS

Adidas's consumer-facing partnerships that have changed the way consumers are exposed to Adidas products involve partnerships with non-athlete celebrities. Adidas's most noteworthy non-athlete celebrity partnership was entered into this month, April 2019, with superstar singer Beyonce. Adidas's partnership with Beyonce will change the way consumers are exposed to Adidas products because the partnership involves a non-athlete celebrity, which is a relatively-unique approach for a sportswear company that would likely be expected to partner with celebrity athletes instead. As part of the partnership, Beyonce will be "re-releas[ing] her athleisure line, Ivy Park, and create her own signature brand for Adidas." In fact, Adidas is regarded as the first sportswear company to partner with non-athlete celebrities, when the company first did so in 2014 with singers Pharrell Williams and Kanye West.

3. PENTLAND

Pentland's recent consumer-facing partnership that will change how consumers are exposed to Pentland shoe products involves the company's partnership with footwear company Karen Millen. As a result of the partnership, "Karen Millen’s footwear ranges will now be sold in multi-brand shoe shops and department stores via Pentland brands, which owns brands like Kickers, Hunter and Boxfresh." The partnership will change consumer's exposure to Pentland shoe products because the company's shoe line is now expanding as a result of the partnership. Thus, a great selection of shoe styles, product availability, and selection will result from the partnership, thus expanding Pentland's shoe product exposure to consumers.
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Apparel and Shoe Brands: Competitive Landscape, Part 4

We have presented a detailed comparison of efforts by Reebok, Under Armor, and Zappos around accelerating their North American business, social purpose and new business partnerships in the attached presentation.

To get insights into the companies efforts, we started our research by studying the official websites and press releases. We were able to understand the company's sustainability efforts and collaborations with this approach. Next, we expanded our search to include notable media publications and industry reports from credible sources like Footwear News, Bloomberg, SGB Online, Review Journal, Adweek, CX Network, Digital Commerce 360, Fashion Network, The Drum, Hollywood Reporter, Retail Dive, Quartz, Campaign Live, Fast Company, CNBC, WWD, among others. It is noted, that all companies have lost market share and revenue in recent times and are working towards implementing significant structural changes to make their operations profitable. A brief overview of their efforts is presented below.

Under Armour

North America contributes about 75% of the total revenue for Under Armour. The company is making strides to improve its structure, systems, and go-to-market process. Under Armour is increasing its digital offerings with apps like the UA app and MyFitnessPal app. To enhance revenue, the company dramatically reduced its product offerings in 2018. Under Armour also plans to reduce spending in areas like endorsement deals and licensing agreements. The company will continue to invest in social, personalization and agile testing to get high return opportunities and greater user engagement.

Under Armour's management plans to double-down on performance positioning as a differentiator for the brand. The company works towards sustainability by partnering with various organizations like — Fair Labor Association (FLA), Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps. Each of the company employees dedicates about 32 hours a year for volunteering. Under Armour collaborated with Kohl’s in 2017 for gaining presence in 1,100 stores across the US. The company also partnered with Dwayne Johnson to launch a Project Rock 1 sneaker in May 2018.

Reebok

The company plans to consolidate market share by establishing a single site in Boston to develop the company's future strategy. Reebok's future strategy involves the closure of nearly half of the stores in North America. The company closed approximately 40 of its less profitable stores in 2017. The company increased its ad budgets and centralized the marketing team to ditch the tough-sport focus and concentrate on products for customers aged 20-something.

Reebok's is committed to reducing total emissions and will meet their target of a 15% emissions reduction on 2015 levels by 2020. The company launched its first bio-based sports shoes made from 75% plant-based fibers to highlight its commitment towards sustainable products. Reebok announced a line with Victoria Beckham in 2018 and collaborated with Gal Gadot to emphasize fitness positioning. The company also partnered with Gensler architects for the 'Get Pumped' concept. The company plans to convert defunct gas stations into fitness hubs and wellness centers.

Zappos

Zappos plans to reorganize its structure to drive revenue. The company intends to achieve this by transitioning to a manager-free company structure called holacracy. In 2019, Zappos launched a new TV ad campaign during the holiday season about its 24/7 customer service and shipping. The company also launched the 'Run-on-One' program, to help runners stay committed to running in 2019.
The online retailer launched 'Zappos for Good' in Nov 2017. The charity arm focuses on sustainability, animal advocacy, and charitable donations. Zappos and Sperry worked together to design a shoe made from recycled ocean plastic. In 2018, Zappos partnered with Soles4Souls to prevent over 151,000 used shoes and clothing from going to landfills. Zappos also partnered with the recording artist Josie Dunne for its iconic footwear brand Sperry to launch a limited-edition shoe made with Bionic yarn, spun from plastic recovered from marine and coasts.

Lastly, the details of our research are presented in the attached spreadsheet.
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Social Shopping Overview

In the context of retail, social shopping corresponds to the fusion of e-commerce and social media, where social media features such as comments, likes, shares, polls, and reviews are utilized to bring the experience of shopping with friends to the digital platform. Choosy, Countr, 21Buttons, and Asaan are some examples of companies or startups that are coming to the fore in the social shopping space.

OVERVIEW OF SOCIAL SHOPPING

Social shopping in the retail industry pertains to the amalgamation of e-commerce and social media. In social shopping, social web aspects such as groups, voting, discussions, shares, reviews, and comments are leveraged to elevate the online shopping experience. The experience can be thought of as "bringing your friends with you on the web while you shop." Social shopping has some clear advantages over in-store shopping. With social shopping, price comparisons can just be a click away, and shoppers can learn with ease what friends or other shoppers are saying about the products they intend to buy.

Whereas before brands would use social media platforms to widen their reach, create brand awareness, and improve customer engagement, now they are using the platforms in a manner that directly impacts their bottom lines. It therefore comes as no surprise that leading social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, have all recently launched e-commerce capabilities. Instagram, for example, has recently introduced features that allow users to access product and price details when they click on images and that give them the option to move to the purchase page in case they decide to buy the products.

Because social media has, without a doubt, transformed from "an arguable vanity exercise" to an unmistakably lucrative business, it is expected that more and more retailers will be jumping on the social shopping bandwagon. According to Tom Ollerton, an innovation director at We Are Social, "retailers need to really double down on how they can market, advertise and sell on those social media platforms, because they're dominant and will only become more so." One hypothesis as to why social platforms are potent sales channels is that the people scrolling through these platforms are "not there to be sold to."

EMERGING SOCIAL SHOPPING COMPANIES

While a list of emerging social shopping companies is not readily available in the public domain, a review of press coverage of social shopping in the past 24 months reveals the following social shopping startups that have recently become more visible:

CHOOSY

Founded in 2017 and headquartered in New York, Choosy is an on-demand social shopping platform that allows users to influence the platform's fashion collection. Through a proprietary algorithm, it assesses fashion trends across social platforms. Afterwards, it determines what users like through comments and social polls, and it uses the results of these two steps to find out what products to ship to the user. With USD 5.5 million in seed money, the startup has so far been covered by well-known media outlets such as WWD, Cosmopolitan, Adweek, Business Insider, Bustle, Fashionista, and CNN. Dubbed as "the modern day equivalent of the ultimate window-shopping experience," it makes use of Style Scouts and social tagging to detect trends and design and manufacture the looks in-house. "You see it, you like it, we make it" is its tagline. Jessie Zeng, Sharon Qian, and Mo Zhou co-founded the startup to address the demand for trending fashion items on social media. Because the items are produced in-house, the trendy looks can be offered at less expensive prices.

COUNTR

Countr, another New York-based social shopping startup, was covered by media company PSFK last March. The startup, which was founded in 2016, has so far been able to raise seed money. Describing its service as "shopping with your style tribe," the startup allows users to showcase their fashion style, receive trusted style recommendations, shop with friends, and earn money for engagement. Users can share shoppable looks or collections and offer personal style advice. Fashion shoppers often ask friends offline for style advice and inspiration, and through its platform, Countr aims to bring the social interaction online. Currently, the startup targets women aged 14 to 25 and plans to enter the European market. It does not describe on its website the technology it uses, but its CEO Manon Roux mentioned in an interview that it uses machine learning.

21BUTTONS

Barcelona-based 21Buttons is an early-stage startup which has so far received USD 30.7 million in venture capital. In 2017, it was reported that the startup has entered the Italian and British markets. The startup's platform allows users to photograph or bookmark fashion items that they already own or that they intend to purchase and to share them with followers and friends. Each item is displayed with a Buy button. Founded in 2015 by former McKinsey consultants Jaime Farres and Marc Soler, the startup also provides users a way to earn money. Part of the revenue that 21Buttons generates through clicks leading to sales is shared with the influencer or user who generated the sales lead.

ASAAN

Compared to aforementioned platforms, Asaan allows users to recommend, discover, and shop a broader range of products and services. Apart from apparel, users can also shop for cosmetics, furniture, electronics, and travel services. Founded in 2015 and based in Gurgaon, India, Asaan has recently expanded to reach the Gulf markets UAE and Saudi Arabia. What differentiates it from other social shopping platforms, apart from the product selection, is its cashback feature. It enables users to earn savings when they shop on the platform and to earn commissions when their product recommendations lead to sales. Through the platform, co-founders Aashish Sehgal and Bhupinder Tomar aim to bring social conversation and interaction to e-commerce. Products and services on the platform are curated by the community of users.

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Gaming to Engage Customers Overview

Gamification leverages the human natural tendencies to learn, socialize, compete, master, and achieve to drive customer engagement. Below is an overview of our findings. We have linked the titles to the respective websites.

Overview of Gamification to Engage Customers

Gamefication uses gameful experiences to enhance value creation and motivate, influence, and engage customers. Gamification leverages the human natural tendencies to learn, socialize, compete, master, and achieve to drive customer engagement. In retail, gamification is used to enhance brand awareness, track customer preferences, attract new customers, increase customers' shopping time, and drive customer loyalty.

It is estimated that the gamification sector will be worth more than $2.8 billion by end of 2019. This growth is driven by an interest in gamification marketing strategies by about 66% of baby boomers and 80% of Gen Y. A Gallup report states that retail brands that manage to engage their buyers experience 63% less customer attrition and a 55% increase in "share of wallet."

Emerging Gamification Solutions Companies

Trendage

Trendage is a tech startup that provides gamification solutions to apparel retail sites by offering a game app called Style Challenge. The Style Challenge app enables retailers to engage consumers with its addictive styling game that eliminates the outfit pairing/matching dilemma that most shoppers face by leveraging the Trendage community of shoppers to virtually build and rate outfit combinations. Apart from customer engagement, Trendage also provides apparel retailers with "cross-sell recommendations" for products from top apparel brands.

Tapcentive

Tapcentive is a tech startup that adds digital games and experiences into retailers'platforms to enable enterprises to increase reach and boost customer engagement. Tapcentive's features include casino games, lotteries, and loyalty programs. The platform hosts pre-built incentives and gamification features that could be integrated with apps and existing loyalty program aimed at increasing customer engagement.

MobiCompete

MobiCompete is a tech startup that enables brands to engage with consumers through games and interactive content. MobiCompete specializes in interactive gaming techniques to incent activation, retention, and user engagement. The platform enables brands to deploy games that enable customers to earn rewards.


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Voice Assisted Shopping Overview

Voice-assisted shopping is a solution which offers a voice option to using text to find products, place orders and buy products online using a voice-recognition virtual assistant. Five emerging tech startups working on voice-assisted shopping include Voysis, Blutag, Twiggle, Snips, and Satisfi Labs. Only Voysis, Twiggle, and Snips provided a link to the page that describes their technology stack/architecture on the company website. The details of our findings are provided below.

Voice-assisted shopping

Voice-assisted shopping in the context of the retail industry, also known as voice commerce, is a technology which offers a voice option to using text to find products, place orders and buy products online. The customer uses a voice-recognition virtual assistant like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. It is faster to complete a purchase using voice-assisted shopping and it can be implemented at any time from anywhere, even from the shower, if the voice assistant is within hearing range. According to a report by Voicebot, consumers like voice-assisted shopping because it’s hands-free, it can be done while busy with other things, and it gives faster responses and results.

How To use voice-assisted shopping

To make an online purchase using voice-assisted shopping, customers use a “mobile device or a smart speaker and a virtual assistant”. The most popular smart speaker brands that use “voice-controlled virtual assistants are Amazon Echo (powered by Alexa) and Google Home (powered by Google Assistant)”.
Using Amazon as an example, customers can find, order, and purchase products from Amazon using an Alexa-enabled device. They use the wake-up word “Alexa” to activate the device. A customer could say, “Alexa, order” and a particular shoe brand they want to buy. Alexa runs a check on the customer’s saved purchase history and suggests products using the historical data. If the historical data does not show previous requests similar to the current one, Alexa then brings up ‘Amazon Choice’ products. Alexa then announces the price product and asks if the customer would like to place an order for the product. Alexa goes ahead to place the order if the customer’s answer is yes. Alexa places the order. If the answer is no, Alexa could suggest other products if the answer of the customer is no.

EMERGING TECH STARTUPS WORKING ON VOICE ASSISTED SHOPPING

The voice technologies of the following startups can be used for all voice-assisted shopping activities, including the shoe and apparel retail segments.

Voysis

Website: voysis.com
Technology Stack/Architecture Link
Voysis offers a complete e-commerce Voice AI platform. It boosts the speed and efficiency of the e-commerce apps and websites of retailers using “natural language voice search and transaction”. Users can use natural language to search for the products they want, with more speed and accuracy than normal text search. The Voice AI remembers what customers said during their shopping journey. Customers can refine their initial search to help in finding the perfect product they need.

Blutag

Website: blu.ai
Blutag enables online retailers to quickly create and deploy voice-based apps. Their templates can be modified as required and new voice interactions can be integrated. The Blutag dashboard enables retailers to produce and deploy voice assistants for their online stores. The dashboard also produces advanced analytics.

Twiggle

Website: twiggle.com
Technology Stack/Architecture Link
Twiggle was created through a “deep understanding of language and the retail world”. Its AI engine pulls out the exact language intention to understand every product search query. Twiggle enhances relevance and recall for all kinds of searches for voice shopping and makes the shopping experience of customers faster.

Twiggle’s API can be integrated with the existing e-commerce platform or search stack of online retailers to improve their existing technologies and infrastructure rather than replacing them. According to a Gartner report, “Retailers gearing up for the shift towards voice-activated shopping should consider partnering with Twiggle to improve search accuracy via conversational interfaces”.

Snips

Website: snips.ai
Technology Stack/Architecture Link
Snips enable retailers to activate voice shopping by providing them with the solutions to produce an integrated voice strategy with a wide range of interface options, “from simple voice commands to comprehensive natural language voice recognition”. Snips uses a wake word technology that retailers can customize to their brand. Snips is currently available in several languages including English, French, German, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.

Satisfi Labs

Website: satis.fi
Satisfi Labs provides various conversational technologies including voice and it develops unique experiences for the customers of online retailers. Its Answer Engine collects data from the retailer’s website, data feeds, employee knowledge and user-generated content to “power the websites, chatbots, voice experiences, and robots”.

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Virtual Try-On Overview

Virtual try-on is a technological capability that allows customers to virtually try-on clothes through methods such as personalized avatars that replicate how clothes will fit them. Four emerging virtual try-on startups are TryNDBuy Fashions, NextTech AR Solutions, Perfitly, and Fitle. Below is an explanation of our research methodology and our research findings of this topic.

METHODOLOGY

We ensured that the companies included herein are emerging, not established, companies through a two-step process. First, we found a recent list of 50 startups classified as emerging companies by Inc. Second, we looked for those companies' founding dates in order to find the least-recent year in which a company was founded and yet was still classified as an emerging company by Inc. Some of those dates were listed in the article and for those that were not, we looked up those founding dates on sources such as Crunchbase. Ultimately, the emerging company with the least-recent founding date was Rentlogic, which was founded in 2013. Accordingly, we applied 2013 as the standard for determining which virtual try-on companies should be classified as emerging companies (those founded in 2013 to present), while companies founded before 2013 we deemed established companies.

WHAT VIRTUAL TRY-ON IS & HOW IT'S BEING USED IN RETAIL

Virtual try-on, also commonly referred to as virtual fitting rooms, is an innovative, technological capability through which customers can virtually try-on apparel through the power of artificial intelligence. The ways in which virtual try-on works varies among companies. For example, the emerging startup Fitle operates via customers creating their own avatars (virtual images), by including photos of themselves and answering physique-related questions. That process results in the creation of their own avatars, which then enables them to "virtually try on the clothes they would like to shop online." Another emerging startup, Perfitly, operates based on a four-part process. First, body scans are conducted to determine a person's dimensions. Second, the technology generates "3D garment replicas." Third, there's the virtual fitting room component, which consists of the "synthesis of scans and replicas." Lastly, the technology yields "visualization on a shopper" and thus shows them what the clothes will look like on them and how the clothes will fit.

Virtual try-on is being used in two main ways within the retail industry. First, some retailers have incorporated virtual try-on as part of their in-store shopping experience. One way this is achieved is through digital mirrors that customers stand in front of and those mirrors then project specified clothing items onto that person's image in the mirror. The net result of that technological process is that the customer ends up looking at himself/herself in the mirror wearing those clothes, without having ever tried them on. One retailer that has included in-store virtual try-on is Charlotte Tilbury. Second, some retailers have incorporated virtual try-on as part of their ecommerce shopping services, which enable customers to see projections of how clothes they are interested in will fit and look on them since they're unable to try the clothes on in-person. One retailer that incorporated virtual try-on for ecommerce shopping is Gap through its app called DressingRoom. The way the app worked was that customers first chose which item they wanted to try on and then selected which of the five body types most-closely resembled theirs. Next, they were able to try on the clothing virtually based on the body type selection/projection all on their smartphones.

four EMERGING VIRTUAL TRY-ON STARTUPS/TECH COMPANIES

1. TryNDBuy Fashions

TryNDBuy Fashions was founded in 2017. This link is to the company's website. This emerging startup "created patented software that can be loaded into a fashion retailer’s app to create a digital trial room . . . [and] the selfie-based module aims to make online shopping a breeze."

2. NextTech AR Solutions

NextTech AR Solutions was founded in 2018. This link is to the company's website. The company "is rolling out a new try-it-on feature that can be added to existing digital storefronts. The feature utilizes the camera on a customer's smartphone or desktop device to enable shoppers to digitally don eyewear, jewelry, and other items to check for fit and style."

3. Perfitly

Perfitly was founded in 2015. This link is to the company's website. This video shows how Perfitly's virtual try-on works, which was summarized above. Perfitly is unique among its competitors in that the company simulates and visualizes, in real time, "a true-to-life engineered e-garment on an accurate body avatar of the shopper. The functionality is delivered as a ‘Try-It-On’ button on the Retailer’s e-commerce site. The visualization is 3D AR/VR that is flattened to display on a shopper's smartphone and other devices."

4. Fitle

Fitle was founded in 2013. This link is to the company's site. Fitle provides an app-based "virtual dressing room . . . [through which] consumers can create an avatar based on some data and photos. With this avatar, they can virtually try on the clothes they would like to shop online."
Part
09
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Part
09

North America Acceleration Plans

Even though a list of the requested case studies is not readily available in the public domain, a number of sources indicate that Primark, Hotter Shoes, and Arezzo are three examples of foreign footwear or apparel companies that have recently devised and implemented a successful plan of accelerating the growth of their North American businesses. Notable differences in strategies can be observed. Primark focused on price competitiveness and bulk purchases, while Hotter Shoes focused on targeted and personalized messaging and Arezzo focused on leveraging relationships with department stores.

METHODOLOGY

Looking for the requested case studies in the public domain, we learned that a list or database that readily provides the desired information is unavailable. We were unable to find a list or database of case studies that detail how foreign footwear or apparel companies have successfully accelerated the growth of their North American businesses. Case study databases, such as Effie and Warc, focus on effective marketing or advertising strategies, and while effective marketing or advertising can help companies achieve accelerated growth, it is often just a part of a much bigger growth plan. Apparel Magazine has a collection of case studies, but we unfortunately could not locate within this collection any case study that fits the bill.

We figured it would be more efficient to look for articles covering footwear or apparel companies that, in recent times, have successfully expanded to North America, and to narrow the list of companies down to those that have demonstrated accelerated growth in the region. Thankfully, through this strategy, we came across helpful articles from Business Insider and Retail TouchPoints. Business Insider has recently published articles about Primark's successful expansion in the region, while Retail Touch Points has recently released an article about Hotter Shoes's successful expansion in the region. These articles provide an in-depth coverage of how the companies were able to achieve accelerated growth.

Finding a third company proved difficult. We learned that Arezzo footwear brands Schutz and Alexandre Birman have recently opened stores in the region, but we could not find a single source that details how and if the brands have successfully achieved accelerated growth. As a remedy, we pulled together information from various sources, including Arezzo's latest investor presentation and earnings release, to build a case study on the two brands.

PRIMARK

Irish fashion retailer Primark only started operating in North America in 2015 when it opened its first store in Massachusetts, and yet, it has already become the United States's fastest-growing retailer. The company ranked first in the National Retail Federation's list of the fastest-growing retailers in the country in 2018. Between 2016 and 2017, the company was able to achieve a year-on-year sales growth of 103% in the country. Nine stores have been opened in the region since 2015, and the company intends to open more. In July 2017, it was reported that Primark's expansion into the region was "proving a success" and that the expansion appeared to be "gathering a head of steam" with newly opened stores performing particularly well.

Primark was able to achieve this tremendous growth for a number of reasons. First, it timed its expansion in the region well. Being a low-cost fashion retailer, it took advantage of the boom in the dollar, off-price, or value-oriented stores and the decline of department stores. Around that time, Primark prices in the region were 202% lower than typical apparel prices. Second, it actively takes steps to keep its prices low. Primark maintains a streamlined logistics system, performs limited advertising, and buys products in bulk. Purchasing products in bulk puts the company in a better position to negotiate lower prices from vendors. It has also consciously decided not to offer e-commerce services for cost-related reasons. Customers can view products online, but they can only purchase the products in-store. Third, it relies more on volume than on margin in driving profits. As its margins on products are low, it relies on shoppers to purchase large quantities of its products. Primark's placement of baskets at the front of the store is a nod to this strategy.

HOTTER SHOES

Hotter Shoes, a footwear retailer with a strong presence in the United Kingdom, its home country, has recently set its sights on expanding into the North American region, particularly the United States. Its action plan appears to be working well, as news surfaced in 2018 that the company just saw a 35% year-on-year growth in United States sales. Hotter Shoes largely attributes this growth to its email marketing strategy, which the company found to be responsible for 20% to 25% of the country's sales. Part of the company's efforts to bolster its email marketing strategy was to give triggered emails, direct response, and targeted marketing a boost. With the help of insights from a consumer identification firm, the company targeted shoppers not only on the Hotter Shoes website but on other websites as well. Triggered emails were sent based on the company's programs in relation to cart abandonment, browsing, and discounts or promos. These triggered emails generated around USD 1-million in sales.

Other factors that contributed to the company's apparent success in the United States were the company's realization that the country should not be treated as a homogeneous unit, and the company's decision that brand awareness should be prioritized. Hotter Shoes became mindful of the differences in preferences and behavior across cities, and it gave more weight to targeted messaging and personalization instead of "broad batch-and-blast campaigns."

AREZZO

Brazilian shoe brands Schutz and Alexandre Birman have been opening stores in the United States recently as part of the plan of parent company Arezzo to expand into North America. In May 2018, there was news that Arezzo opened two new stores in the country and that Arezzo appointed Wayne Kulkin as the head of international operations. The expansion can be considered a tremendous success, as sales of these two brands in the country saw a 40.8% year-on-year growth in United States dollar sales. All channels, wholesale, retail, and e-commerce, demonstrated growth too. Schutz and Alexandre Birman were able to achieve this success by strengthening its relationship with leading department stores, launching new brick-and-mortar stores, hiring seasoned and experienced local executives, and introducing the dropship modality to department stores. As can be seen in Arezzo's action plans for both brands in the country, both Schutz and Alexandre Birman focused on transformation in 2017 and proof of concept in 2018. Building brand awareness and strengthening e-commerce capabilities were among the strategies employed.

Part
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Part
10

Social Purpose Case Studies

Some examples of companies in the apparel and shoe industry that have created and implement successful social purpose strategies are:

  • Intradeco Apparel
  • Chico's
  • Allbirds

A case study for each of these examples is provided below:

Methodology

In order to fulfill this request, research was first conducted to discover which apparel and shoe companies had recently won awards for their sustainability/diversity practices, under the assumption that such an award would mean the company is recognized within the industry as a leader in sustainability/diversity and can, therefore, be considered successful in their strategies. Next, the sustainability and/or diversity practices of the selected companies were analyzed to further understand what each company is doing in terms of these strategies, how they are carrying them out, and identify any metrics of success that have resulted from these strategies.

*It should be noted here that some resources referenced in this report are out-of-date, however, these resources were only used to provide historical context regarding previous sustainability awards some companies have won in addition to their most recently won award.

CASE STUDY 1: intradeco apparel

About this Company:
Intradeco Apparel is a textile company founded in 1982. Today, they manufacture and supply a range of clothing items to major retailers in North America, including Walmart.

Social Purpose Strategy:
Intradeco Apparel's long-running sustainability strategy is focused on environmental protection. In alignment with this, the company partnered with Unifi, the maker of REPREVE, a global leader in the manufacturing of recycled performance fibers. This company offers innovative solutions for making recycled fibers, such as making garment fibers from plastic bottles. Through this partnership, Intradeco Apparel rose to a sustainability challenge posed by Walmart for clothing manufacturers to provide sustainable products.

Overall, Intradeco used REPREVE fibers to create a wide range of garments that were made available at Walmart and other retailers in the United States. In addition to this, the company also generally relies on eco-friendly manufacturing plants and practices, including the use of solar energy and sustainable packaging. In a recently published press release, it was noted that sustainability "has always been and will continue to be a priority" for Intradeco Apparel.

Metrics of Success:
Through company's sustainability strategy and partnership with Unifi, Intradeco was able to sell more than 6 million sustainably produced garments and saved more than 50 million plastic bottles from ending up in a landfill or ocean over the past 10 years. In 2018, Intradeco Apparel was awarded the REPREVE®'s Champions of Sustainability Award, which was given specifically for the company's sustainability strategy. Intradeco has also been awarded by Walmart as Supplier for the Year in the sustainability category twice and received the 2016 Apparel Responsibility Award from Walmart, as well.

CASE STUDY 2: chico's

About this Company:
Chico's is a retailer of women's apparel in North America and currently operates over 1,480 stores.

Social Purpose Strategy:
Chico's CEO, Shelley Broader stated that because Chico's serves a female consumer base, the company feels it is important to make sure women hold 'critical' leadership roles at the highest level of the company. Women in the company hold the following executive roles: general counsel, brand presidents, CIO, chief human resources officer, and SVP of store operations, along with other roles, including the CEO. In addition to placing women in key executive positions, the company also has women in other senior-level roles, including the SVPs for PR, corporate communications, and investor relations.

Metrics of Success:
Chico's executive team is 80% female and the board also reflects women as the majority, according to a statement from the company's CEO in 2017. In October 2017, Chico's was awarded the Corporate Salute Elevate Award, which recognized the company's advancements regarding gender diversity within the company's top-tier executive and director teams. Chico's was among 32 companies recognized for this award. The award was based on an analysis of SEC filings to determine how many women served as executives and on the board across a number of companies. The analysis was conducted by a nonprofit organization in Florida called 'Women Executive Leadership'.

CASE STUDY 3: Allbirds

About this Company:
Allbirds was founded in 2016 as an eco-friendly brand of footwear and is considered a leader in this market today, as it has expanded across the U.S. and U.K. in both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar channels.

Social Purpose Strategy:
Allbirds's sustainability strategy is built around the idea of simplicity and is integrated into the core of their company, which has been able to achieve rapid fire growth since its founding. The company focuses strictly on producing and selling eco-friendly shoes which are made from unique and sustainable resources and materials such as sugarcane and tree fiber. The company's founders noted in an interview that they invest very heavily in research and development in order to make their products successfully. In order to achieve this level of investment as a startup, the company relies on a simplified direct-to-consumer business model and limits its available range of products. For example, for the first 14 months of the company's existence, they only sold one type of shoe.

Metrics of Success:
In two years, the company has sold more than 1 million pairs of its signature shoes. The company is also received large investments of big-name investors, such as Leonardo DiCaprio. A recent investment round of $50 million in Series C funding was given to Allbirds, along with a previous round of $27.5 million. The company has been able to grow rapidly since its founding, now employing over 175 people and recently entering into a partnership with Nordstrom. The company is planning on opening eight new stores in 2019. In 2018, Allbirds was named Footwear News's Brand of the Year at the 2018 FN Achievement Awards.





Part
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Part
11

Shoe and Apparel Partnerships Case Studies

Vivobarefoot and Bloom, Timberland and Thread, Puma and Porsche, and Puma and the NBA are examples of partnerships in the shoe and apparel industry that have been formed in the past couple of years. Below we provide the details for the various partnerships.

Vivobarefoot and Bloom Partnership

In May 2017, Vivobarefoot, a sustainable design shoe company, and Bloom, a company that uses algae to make foam for footwear, announced a partnership that would allow Vivobarefoot to create the first pair of shoes made using the Bloom technology. According to the brands, "A single pair of men’s size 42 VIVOBAREFOOT X Bloom shoes returns 57 gallons of clean water to habitat and reduces 40 balloons worth of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, per pair." Although there is no data specific to sales of the UtraBloom shoes, Vivobarefoot has grown from a company selling 6,000 pairs of shoes in 2012 to 120,000 in 2017.

Since the original shoe came out in 2017, Vivobarefoot has released additional versions, and in March 2019 they announced a kids' version of the shoe. Since these are smaller than the adult version, the environmental impact is smaller, but still significant. "Each shoe returns about 25 litres of clean, filtered water back into the ecosystem and reduces 6 balloons worth of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Vivobarefoot is a London-based company and has several concept stores throughout Europe. In addition to shopping at those locations, the shoes can be purchased through the company website and can be shipped to many countries worldwide.

Timberland and Thread Partnership

In 2017, Timberland, a lifestyle brand, released a collection that was created in partnership with Thread, a company that produces fabric from plastic bottle waste in Haiti. The companies collaborated to produce a canvas material that met all of Timberland's stringent requirements, but that also continued Thread's commitment to reduce waste and improve the lives of people in Haiti. The resulting material was used to produce bags and boots for Timberland. The partnership gave Thread one of their first opportunities to share the completely transparent supply chain process they follow, and it gave Timberland an opportunity to further their goal of protecting the environment by making their products responsibly.
The collaboration between the two companies has resulted in 765,280 plastic bottles being recycled, 77 Haitians working and receiving and income, and saved 30 million gallons of water as opposed to using traditional canvas material. The companies also received several awards as a result of the collaboration:
  • The 2017 Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards honored Timberland with a "Project of the Year" designation
  • At the 15th Annual American Business Awards, Timberland received the "Gold" Stevie Award for Innovation of the Year.
  • "Timberland was also recognized at the 2017 Apparel Magazine Top Innovators Awards, which are given to apparel retailers, brands and manufacturers that have demonstrated innovation at any point along the apparel supply chain."

Puma Partnerships

In February 2019, Puma and the NBA announced a multiyear partnership, making Puma "an official marketing partner of the league." The partnership allows Puma to create ads that feature NBA athletes wearing their uniforms and also allows for the development of original content involving the athletes. Puma was already entering the basketball space by signing deals with four NBA rookies in 2018, and introducing a new basketball sneaker, the Clyde Court. Because the deal is still new, there are few details on exactly how the partnership will play out or how successful it will be. However, we are including it because of its relevance to the request.
Also in early 2019, Puma announced a partnership with Porsche to create "a line of high-end men’s sportswear, footwear and accessories." The line came out in March and is currently for sale on both the Puma and the Porsche Design websites. The companies came together based on common values, such as brave, confident and joyful. Puma brought their proprietary technology while Porsche brought a restrained aesthetic that is sometimes missing from sportswear. Again, since this is an early partnership, there are no success statistics yet available.
Part
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Part
12

Adidas

Adidas key competitors in the global sports apparel market are Nike, Under Armour, and Puma (among others). Their recent digital initiatives have been focused on building customer relationships and driving digital transformation across the company from end-to-end. Company-wide initiatives have focused on sustainability in the supply chain, human rights, and reducing plastic pollution in the ocean (especially in regard to the use of plastic in their products).

In 2018, the company continued to expand its existing branches of partnerships across both marketing and back-end operations. This includes partnering with new influencers and designers, as well as partnering with organizations that help to further embed their digital and sustainability efforts. A deep dive of these findings is presented below:

COMPETITORS

According to a 2019 report, some key players in the global sports apparel market are:
Adidas (21.915 billion EUR, or about 24.68 billion USD)
Under Armour (5.2 billion USD)
Puma (4.648 billion EUR, or about 5.233 billion USD)
*Figures are in 2018 revenue.
Each of these companies are global leaders in the sports apparel market, which is noted as being intensely competitive as the key players are simultaneously working to increase their market share. These companies compete on the basis of price, brand, differentiation, product portfolio, and quality; they are all also working towards developing increasing product customization options based on individual customer preferences.

DIGITAL INITiatives (TECHNOLOGY AND APPS)

  • In 2018, the company was focused on creating direct relationships with consumers through digital media.
  • In their 2018 annual report, the company says that they are preparing for the future by "driving digital transformation across the entire organization", lead by their global e-commerce sales channel; the company's fastest-growing channel which saw a sales increase of 36%.
  • In 2017 the company launched their official app in two key markets, and in 2018 they launched it in 23 additional countries, for a total of 25. It received over 7 million downloads.
  • The 'Creators Club' digital membership program was launched in Japan and the United States in 2018; the Creators Club allows members to access "personalized content and offerings, easy access to products and events, exclusive offers and promotions, recognition and rewards, as well as an integrated experience with [the company's] sustainability programs."
  • In terms of e-commerce, the company is focusing on providing a "premium, connected and personalized shopping experience," according to their 2018 annual report.
  • Within the company, Adidas has been working towards digitizing its value chain from end-to-end, starting with the creation of a product to the ending point-of-sale transaction.

COMPANY-WIDE INitiatives (SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY)

  • The company aims to make sustainability an authentic, built-in aspect of their business model. (source 1)
  • In 2018, the company sold 5 million pairs of shoes in collaboration with Parley Ocean Plastic, which as an increase of 4 million from 2017, and also used POP to help produce more than 2 million items of clothing.
  • As of 2018, 100% of the cotton used in Adidas products (globally) comes from sustainable cotton sources.
  • The company is also focused on human rights in sports and women's rights both in and outside of the company, especially in regard to their supply chain.
  • Adidas is listed as an industry leader in sustainability on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and was also ranked first on the 2018 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark.
  • The company raised funds and awareness to help fight plastic pollution in the ocean by launching the Run For The Oceans campaign, which the company says 'activated' nearly one million runners globally in 2018.
  • The company has dedicated itself to reducing its use of 'virgin plastic'.
  • The company has been able to recycle more than 1,000 pieces of plastic annually thanks to its sustainability initiatives.

NEW PARTNERSHIPS

  • As part of its sustainability initiatives, Adidas has partnered with Parley for the Oceans to help mass produce its line of sustainable shoes.
  • The company has continued to partner with a range of celebrities to help promote its overall brand; in 2018, celebrities such as Cardi B, Gal Gadot and Conor McGregor were enlisted as brand ambassadors. The company also partners with a wide range of athletes across various types of professional sports from around the world. According to their 2018 annual report, the company plans on continuing these types of partnerships into the foreseeable future.
  • In addition to celebrities, the company also partners with leading brands and organizations within the realm of fitness. These partnerships now include: CrossFit, Les Mills, and (most recently) the company formed a running club involving elite runners, known as the Boston Track Club. The company also partners with more than 155,000 fitness instructors.
  • In terms of design, the company entered into a new partnership with Childish Gambino and Jonah Hill in 2018, which are added to the company's existing design partnerships with Stella McCartney, Raf Simons, Alexander Wang, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Yohji Yamamoto.
  • At the end of 2017, the company launched a new, limited edition collection in partnership with Victoria Beckham inspired by 1990s basketball.
  • In alignment with their sustainability practices, the company developed a partnership with the 3D printing company, Carbon, in 2018 to launched Futurecraft 4D, which allows the company to "print previously impossible designs without labor intensive and complex assembly."
  • In 2018, the company partnered with the 'Lean In' organization to launch a gender intelligence training initiative within the corporation.
  • In 2018, the company joined the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action in order to "reinforce its support to accelerate the transformative change needed to reach greenhouse gas emission neutrality in the second half of the 21st Century", according to the company's annual report.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "The Red Carpets are a limited edition shoe branded by basketball star Kyrie Irving. The user could then examine the sneaker by walking around the pedestal, viewing its superimposition over a real environment through the camera screen."
Quotes
  • "As voice search and the use of smart devices becomes more mainstream, fashion retailers from Macy’s to Nike and Wayfair are seeking ways to exploit sound to drive sales and consumer engagement."
Quotes
  • "It also likely that chatbots will shift the market to a more seamless and natural method of marketing and purchasing; through the use of voice recognition and AI, it will remove a variety of steps that can hinder the online shopping process. "
Quotes
  • "As you can see from this video, the AR option lets you select a pair of shoes, which are then placed on the ground via the Snap camera. You can then merge them onto your feet to see how they look."
From Part 04
Quotes
  • "Through the first half of 2018, we are making progress toward our transformation of running a more operationally excellent company while amplifying the power of the Under Armour brand"
  • "The ongoing improvements in our structure, systems and go-to-market process across our global business better position us to drive a more consistent, predictable path to deliver for our consumers, customers and shareholders over the long term."
  • "Driven by growth in its running and team sports lines, footwear revenues advanced 15 percent during the period to $271 million. Apparel continued to bring in the lion’s share of sales, gaining 10 percent to $747 million. Overall, the label saw a 9 percent increase in wholesale customer revenue, a 7 percent increase in direct-to-consumer revenue and international growth of 28 percent (to $302 million)."
Quotes
  • "Executives touted the brand’s digital offerings, including the UA app, premium subscription and UA.com, which will soon be relaunched with a redesign. UA video content has racked up 130 million organic views, said Jim Mollica, SVP, consumer engagement. "
  • "And in terms of its Connected Fitness platform, like the brand’s MyFitnessPal app (which was hit with a data breach earlier this year), Chief Product Officer Kevin Eskridge says the company is gathering “tons and tons of insights… and really applying those to how we build products.”"
  • "While the company is best known for its athletic styles, it acknowledges that it needs to make shoes that consumers want to wear outside the gym or off the court in order to really compete. Running, in particular, has been a successful growth category for the brand, and will be an area of focus going forward."
  • "Part of that emotional connection is going to come from the great performance that they have,” he continued, “but we can amplify that connection and therefore that continued, repeat purchase with the consumer by putting a sports-style lens on some of those performance styles and allowing for more wearing occasions from them.”"
Quotes
  • "The rebound in North America, which accounts for about three-quarters of revenue, signals that Under Armour’s recent transition is starting to pay off. "
  • "The company dramatically reduced its product offerings and invested in getting goods to the market faster."
  • "The company is still working to reduce a glut of inventory, which has weighed on profitability. Inventory was up 11 percent last quarter, and will gain at a high-single digit percentage this quarter."
  • "The company said it expects profitability to increase as excess inventory comes off the books. Still, it forecast gross margin for the full year as flat or slightly down from the prior year’s 45 percent."
  • "Under Armour’s transformation has seen reduced spending in areas like million-dollar endorsement deals and licensing agreements, and an elimination of about 40 percent of products to focus on its highest-selling lines."
  • "The goal is to reverse a two-year slump that has come amid stiffening domestic competition from companies like Adidas, and changing consumer preferences toward casual looks and away from performance gear."
  • "As inventory overhead shrinks and new products and production come online, investors will get a clearer picture of whether the restructuring is working."
Quotes
  • "Category evolution: Said Frisk, “We are working to further unlock the strategic benefits of our category structure while ensuring which they appropriately leverage at the crossroads of our accelerated innovation pipeline, consumer insights, speed to market and rates of return. W"
  • "Marketing transformation: Frisk said, “With a clearly defined understanding of our target consumer and where and how we plan to compete, we are moving toward better strategic and tactical executions using insights and data analytics to inform clear, return based and brand right decisions."
  • "Continued investment in social, personalization and agile testing along with shifting to an always-on mentality is the top priority in this effort which over time will yield more prescriptive and high return opportunities to drive greater engagement, preference, and considerations.”"
  • "Process redesign: Said Frisk, “With the synchronization of the consistent go-to-market along with our sales and operations planning processes that final steps are locking into place to ensure that our goal of improved consistency, predictability, and repeatable processes are driving results"
  • "For North America, that means we are at a point of stabilization. Inventory is cleaner and tighter to demand. Our pricing and promotional activities are normalized at lower levels than just two years ago, and our product segmentation strategy continues to get sharpe"
  • "Revenue is expected to increase approximately three to four percent reflecting relatively flat results for North America and a low double-digit percentage rate increase in the international business."
Quotes
  • "We will continue to focus on servicing and WOWing (sic) our customers and expanding services that improve that experience. "
  • "During the company’s transition to a manager-free company structure called holacracy, at least 260 employees accepted buyouts."
Quotes
  • "Within Zappos we have a new structure without an organisational chart and without titles. Everyone is encouraged to pursue their passion and do their best work to make the customers happy. "
  • "The research team and I are helping anybody in the company with customer research questions. This means we’ll have a single point of contact which allows us to connect the dots, get people together and bridge those silos. "
Quotes
  • "Zappos loves to tell stories about its customer service. The company is once again using its marketing to do just that with a colorful new brand campaign touting its 24/7 customer service and its shipping."
  • "The new work from Plan A will be used throughout the holidays and during the first quarter of 2019. It is the largest television media buy Zappos has done in the past seven to eight years, according to Kedar Deshpande, vp of technology and quantitative marketing at Zappos."
Quotes
  • "The retailer last week kicked off the second year of its Run-on-One program, which is a 30-day program that aims to help runners stay committed to their 2019 running goals. It also recently began giving runners 30 days to try out their running shoes."
  • "Now Amazon.com Inc.-owned Zappos wants to get in on that action by re-creating those types of relationships online by establishing Zappos as a go-to place runners can turn to for advice, as well as shoes and accessories online."
  • "That’s why the retailer last week kicked off the second year of its Run-on-One program, which is a 30-day program that aims to help runners stay committed to their 2019 running goals by having Zappos customer service staff members call and provide words of encouragement to shoppers who sign up for the program to keep members on task. "
  • "While the initial program was small, roughly 40% of participants kept running for the full 30 days, including one woman who ran a marathon later in the year. This year, Zappos is growing the program to 500 participants. Next year, it hopes to grow it to 1,500 and, over the next few years, it plans to grow membership to around 5,000 consumers. The idea is to develop a running community around the Zappos brand."
Quotes
  • "Under Armour collaboration with stores such as Kohl’s began in 2017 when Kohl’s started selling its merchandise. The cooperation proved to be a success according to Kohl’s CEO, Kevin Marshall. While many well-established department stores like Dillard’s and Macy’s sell Under Armour products."
Quotes
  • "The strategy is straightforward. "We consolidated Reebok by establishing a single Boston-based organisation, putting together in one single site the team that would develop the Reebok of the future," said Rorsted, who added he was "very aggressive" with the strategy. "
  • "The plan envisages in fact the closure of nearly half of the brand's stores in North America. In 2017, Reebok closed down nearly 40 of its less profitable stores, and it continued to do so at the start of 2018."
  • "The group underlined how it is overhauling Reebok’s product development and marketing operations in order to improve margins. Specifically, it is focusing on Reebok’s digital business and on offering "the right product, at the right price and at the right time," according to Rorsted. "
  • "Rorsted. While cutting back on marketing investment, Reebok is more active in the area of collaborations. After announcing a line with Victoria Beckham, the brand has recently unveiled a series of looks featuring actress Gal Gadot, emphasizing its fitness positioning. According to Kasper Rorsted, these innovations and assets will allow Reebok to get back on the growth track in North America in 2018."
Quotes
  • "Reebok is in the process of building an internal team dedicated to bridging the gap between its marketing team and digital influencers."
  • "The sportswear brand has already employed a senior manager of influencer marketing and operations in Purvi Patel, who joined at the tail end of 2017 from the marketing department of footwear company Sperry. She is now working on building a team dedicated to handling and developing Reebok’s dedicated digital influencer marketing campaigns."
  • "Patel was in charge of launching Sperry’s influencer strategy and is well-versed in the language of marketing, PR and content creation. She implements Reebok’s global strategy but also executes it in in the US."
Quotes
  • "'Black Panther' star Danai Gurira, model Gigi Hadid, Nathalie Emmanuel and athlete Katrin Davidsdottir also star in the campaign aimed to celebrate strong-voiced females who inspire others to act and drive change."
Quotes
  • "'Get Pumped' is a concept that makes exercise and healthy eating more easily available at defunct gas stations in a future of electric vehicles"
  • "Reebok has collaborated with Gensler architects on an idea of what to do with the coming glut of derelict service stations. “Get Pumped” is a series of ideas to transform gas stations into fitness hubs and wellness centers. The goal would be to use a station’s prime real estate to make exercise and healthy eating opportunities available in a convenient location."
Quotes
  • "he ‘Sport the Unexpected’ campaign is a stake placed firmly in the ground by Melanie Boulden, Reebok’s global head of marketing and brand management, who joined the company 10 months ago from Crayola."
Quotes
  • "In response to uncompelling branding in past years, president and COO Patrik Frisk said Under Armour plans to be "a louder brand" this year through a "very deliberate go-to-market this year," and is working on reaching customers at all points of their customer journey, whether its physical or digital."
Quotes
  • "February 25, 2019 – Reebok Classic and Cardi B bring it back to the ‘90s with an all new video, celebrating the iconic decade that brought us Queen Cardi herself. Repping the all-new burnt orange..."
  • "February 25, 2019 – Reebok Classic brings you a double dose of rap royalty with the launch of an all new video fronted by Future and his alter ego, Hndrxx. Known as distinct individual personas."
  • "February 4, 2019 – Reebok and long-standing brand partner, Gigi Hadid , are taking their unstoppable partnership to new heights! On the heels of their capsule collection released in 2018, the two.."
  • "January 22, 2019 – Global fitness and lifestyle brand Reebok launches the debut collection from its pivotal partnership with fashion powerhouse Victoria Beckham. The Reebok x Victoria Beckham."
  • "Brand Assembles Partners, Conor McGregor, Nathalie Emmanuel, Future and Lil Baby, for Bold New Campaign BOSTON, Mass. – November 8, 2018 – Today marks the release date of the Reebok Sole Fury."
From Part 05
Quotes
  • "Social shopping is the combination of social media and e-commerce. In essence, it is taking all of the key aspects of the social web — friends, groups, voting, comments, discussions — and focusing them on the world's favorite activity — shopping — to create social shopping."
Quotes
  • "There was a time when platforms like Facebook and Instagram offered little more than ‘vanity’ metrics for retailers, rather than tangibly affecting their bottom lines."
  • "However, that narrative has shifted in recent years as social platforms continue to bolster commerce capabilities."
Quotes
  • "Countr is a social media mobile app where consumers can showcase their style, purchase product directly from their feed and make real money for engagement, leveling the influencer playing field."
Quotes
  • "Through a combination of social tagging (users can tag posts with #GetChoosy) and a team of Style Scouts, Choosy identifies the top 10 trending fashions each week. Users can then buy their favorite items, and Choosy will manufacture the fashions on demand and deliver them to shoppers’ doorsteps in as little as two weeks. All looks are designed and produced in-house, so women sizes 0-20 can get today’s most covetable looks without the ticket price of labels."
Quotes
  • "It lets you create a profile and then photograph or bookmark items of clothing that you own or intend on purchasing and share them with friends and followers. Each item has a buy button and if there are partnerships in place or the necessary affiliate scheme, 21Buttons generates revenue for any clicks that lead to a sale and shares it with the influencer who generated the lead."
Quotes
  • "A year after its launch, social shopping platform, Asaan is entering UAE and Saudi Arabia. Asaan allows users to save when they shop. It also pays them when their shopping recommendations are used by their friends. Users can therefore gain cashback on their shopping and earn commissions as influencers when other users buy their recommended products."
From Part 09
Quotes
  • "Primark has already invaded Europe, and now, it has its sights set on the United States."
  • "The low-cost, European clothing chain was ranked in the top spot on a list of the 100 fastest-growing retailers in America by the National Retail Federation's Stores magazine, which used sales data from Kantar Consulting."
  • "It has opened nine stores in the country since 2015 and has plans to open more."
  • "Its expansion is timed well to take advantage of an explosion in value-oriented stores in the US. While department stores have suffered, off-price and dollar stores have experienced somewhat of a boom in recent times, enabling them to grow and add new locations across the country."
  • "Primark is able to keep its prices down by running a sleek logistics system, having limited advertising, and by buying products in bulk, which enables it to negotiate better prices from suppliers."
Quotes
  • "Clothing giant Primark's expansion into North America is proving a success, as owners Associated British Foods (ABF) reported a 10% increase in revenues in the first three quarters of the year on Thursday morning."
Quotes
  • "As a footwear retailer with 77 stores and a presence in more than 200 independent retailers across the UK, Hotter Shoes has made a name for itself across the pond. But the company has its sights set on U.S. expansion, hoping that its e-Commerce offerings will spearhead the retailer’s American push. Within the last year, Hotter Shoes generated $27 million in U.S. sales, or 35% year-over-year growth, with email-related revenue accounting for approximately 20% to 25% of those sales."
Quotes
  • "This month, New York is gaining two more stores from brands owned by Brazil's Arezzo & Co. group. Schutz opened its second location in the Big Apple on Thursday, this time in SoHo, at 121 Prince Street, while, on Wednesday, Arezzo CEO Alexandre Birman opened the first NYC store for his namesake brand on the Upper East Side. "
  • "Along with the new US store openings, Arezzo has also announced that it has appointed Wayne Kulkin as its new head of international operations. The group has been investing heavily in the United States over the past months, having opened a 750-square-meter showroom and office in New York in the third quarter of last year. "
Quotes
  • "Schutz recorded 2.3% growth as compared to the previous year considering the brand’s consolidated revenue (domestic and foreign market). In the Brazilian market, the brand’s income amounted to R$ 443.5 million, a 1.8% decrease. In foreign market, Schutz's revenues showed a 20.3% growth in Brazilian Reais, with a highlight to the U.S. operation - an important front for the brand international development, which achieved 37.8% growth in Brazilian Reais in the country versus 4Q17."
  • "The U.S. operation took essential steps in 2018 by strengthening its partnership with major department stores, opening new physical stores (own stores) and enhancing its organizational structure with the hiring of seasoned local executives. During the year, we kickedoff the dropship modality in the leading U.S. department stores (offering products from our distribution center on department store web commerce) on the store web commerce and opened new stores. "
  • "In the United States, through the brands Schutz and Alexandre Birman in Wholesale channels (department stores, third-party online stores, and multibrand stores), Retail (owned stores) and Web Commerce (own website), the revenues from operations recorded a 65.5% growth. As expressed in US dollars, such increase was 40.8%. The US operation closed the quarter representing 72.2% of the sales in the foreign market. All channels of both Schutz and Alexandre Birman showed growth in the period, with a highlight to the Wholesale channel, leveraged by the dropship tool (making our products available in the United States in the web commerce of department stores) and by increasing the number of doors."
From Part 11
Quotes
  • "Puma re-entered basketball in 2018, signing four high-profile rookies (Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr. and Zhaire Smith) and delivering the acclaimed Clyde Court performance sneaker. And this month, the label introduced another court-ready kick, the Uproar, in a colorway inspired by Charlotte, N.C. (the home of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game)."
Quotes
  • "The collection rounds out Porsche’s current product offering, which goes beyond cars to encompass timepieces, eyewear, luggage, electronics and a concise shoe assortment that includes a penny moc and athletic styles. It will be sold online at Puma and Porsche, and in Porsche Design stores worldwide in March."
Quotes
  • "Becker and Gulden were both emphatic about the fact that this isn’t a one-off situation. Becker described it as a “long-term partnership,” while Gulden called the collaboration a “partnership on a much higher level.” Either way, the takeaway is clear: We can expect a lot more from Porsche Design and Puma in the future."
  • "In fact, both Gulden and Becker point to upcoming collections as a potential lauch pad for newly developed technology from Puma, filtered through the Porsche Design Lens."
Quotes
  • "The founders, cousins Galahad Clark and Asher Clark, have a mission to change the footwear industry based on manufacturing minimalist shoes designed for users to move their feet as nature intended. Every shoe features a patented, ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole that protects the foot and allows maximum sensory feedback. For example, VIVOBAREFOOT recently added a vegan line of shoes, an Internet of Things-based smart shoe and an amphibious adventure shoe that features a foam sole made from algae blooms."
Quotes
  • "Each yard of Ground to GoodTM fabric is traced and tracked at every step of its journey, from bottle collection to fabric creation and to the delivery of the fabric bolt to the manufacturer, providing an unparalleled level of supply chain transparency. This transparency allows Timberland consumers to learn about the people, the vibrant stories and the impact metrics behind every Timberland X Thread product they purchase."
Quotes
  • "In a world where the bottom line and a better world seem in competition, Timberland and Thread are grounded in a different idea: That doing good business and doing good in the world are not mutually exclusive."
Quotes
  • "https://twitter.com/vivobarefoot/status/1102975542654091264"