“Retail is facing the greatest period of disruption in living memory”

World’s biggest retailers to take on the digital evolution and ailing high street at Retail Week Live 2020.

Senior business leaders from the world’s biggest retailers will be tackling the issues contributing to unprecedented challenges in retail following the worst year on record for the industry in 2019.

Dave Lewis (ceo, Tesco), Peter Jelkeby (country retail manager UK & Ireland, Ikea), Richard Walker (md, Iceland Foods) and Beth Horn (head of industry for retail, Facebook) will be among 200+ influential figures speaking at Retail Week Live 2020, which is taking place on March 25-26 at The Intercontinental London.

The digital evolution, sustainability, the declining high street and how to win business from the increasingly conscious consumer will be addressed in a packed programme at the event.

The two-day conference provides delegates with ideas, insights and the tools required to lead through the digital transformation in a series of strategic sessions, workshops and seminars.

The opening keynote will come from Iceland’s Richard Walker, who will speak about ‘democratising environmentalism and business as a catalyst for a step change in sustainability’.

This year’s theme – Retail Evolved: Thriving in a Digital World – will see a number of leaders from global brands taking to the stage. As well as those already mentioned, these will include Amazon, The Body Shop, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Primark, Boots, Green & Blacks, Sweaty Betty, Sainsbury’s, Crosstown Doughnuts, LEGO, Hema and Pets at Home among others.

“Retail is facing the greatest period of disruption in living memory,” said Hannah Tovey, programme director of Retail Week Live. “Retail and commerce businesses know that they cannot keep up with the pace of change alone. Building an ecosystem that will fuel growth has become critical to success and this is where the new Retail Week Live comes in.”

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/retail-is-facing-the-greatest-period-of-disruption-in-living-memory/

6 Trends and Takeaways from Comic-Con

In addition to all the awesome swag, we left San Diego with a metaphorical loot bag chock full of insights. Lucky for you, we’re willing to share.

The key to brand longevity is a solid, devoted fanbase, and there is perhaps nowhere on Earth where fans are more visible than the annual San Diego Comic-Con International, which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary. Comic-Con presents the unique opportunity to be on the ground with the world’s uber-fans and see firsthand what brands and products they are responding to, in what has become a very crowded character and entertainment landscape. Here’s what we saw:

Snoopy Travels to the Moon

NASA (and Space Travel in General) is Having a Moment

Driven in large part by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, fans and brands are showing a renewed interest not just in fictional space travel but the real deal. Peanut’s NASA collab got a pop-up museum/store in a prime location just outside the convention center, and NASA itself had a booth in the hall with a VR experience. NASA also hosted a number of panels about the organization’s ongoing search for extraterrestrial life and its efforts to send humans to Mars. As the Apollo 11 mission proved 50 years ago and the anniversary is reminding us, sometimes real-life feats of human bravery and accomplishment can be just as, if not more, exhilarating and unifying than those of fiction.

The Big Ones are Still Big

Star Wars Sith TrooperThe pure variety of characters and brands on display at Comic-Con can be a bit overwhelming, but for the most part the brands that made the most noise (and stood out in the crowded hall) were the familiar, studio mainstays: Star Wars (unveiled the new Sith Trooper from the forthcoming The Rise of Skywalker), Star Trek (made a big push for the upcoming origins series Picard), Avengers (made sure fans knew that Endgame is far from the end).

Given all this, the streamers’ presence felt subdued. Netflix’s Stranger Things and Umbrella Academy had some fan-driven buzz (with UA’s Klaus in particular appearing to be a favorite).  While the traditional studios spent big on splashy booths in the hall, the streamers seemed to focus more on content teasers (Netflix’s Dark Crystal in particular had people talking.) One notable exception was Amazon, which had a massive exterior activation located about a half mile from the convention center (free to everyone, not just CC attendees) to promote three upcoming shows: The Boys, Carnival Row and The Expanse.

The heavy focus on streamer content makes sense ­– originals are now crucial for these platforms with the competitive landscape expanding and studios pulling their back catalogs in-house as they launch their own streaming services.

Villains are the New Heroes

Villains Harley Quinn Comic-ConVillains have always been essential to any good plotline, but the glory tends to go to the heroes. Not so anymore though, as villains are increasingly getting the hero treatment in the form of coveted merch, cosplay tributes and standalone content.

A few examples: WB’s Suicide Squad featuring an entire crew of supervillains including Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and Killer Croc is getting two follow-up films in the next two years; Marvel villain Loki was the inspiration behind the audience-selected winning dress at the annual Her Universe Comic Con fashion show this year; Angelina Jolie will return as Maleficent later this year; Avengers Endgame supervillain Thanos is getting major merch love in the form of toys, apparel, costumes and more.

We could go on and on, but you get the point. The complex, conflicted personas of some of the best bad guys are clearly hitting home with today’s audiences.

Star Trek Picard Museum

A Deep Storyline = Longevity

The most long-lasting brands are built within deep, intricate universes that can explored and mined for decades. Two of the best examples of this – Star Wars and Star Trek – both had great showcases this year. CBS’s Picard, which is set to premiere exclusively on the network’s All-Access streaming platform in early 2020, was featured in a special off-site museum that delved into the life of the starship captain complete with detailed descriptions and artifacts. Meanwhile, Disney had the whole show floor in a tizzy when it revealed an all-new stormtrooper, which will make its debut in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – the Sith Trooper. The true brand-building power comes from the book series, that’s what keeps brands (and fanbases) alive in the fallow years between major TV/film releases, bridging the gaps in storylines and telling the before and after that fans are hungry for.

Licensing Takes a Prominent Place at the Fandom Feast

First Comic-ConNaturally after 50 years, things were going to change a little bit, but this year those changes were somehow more evident. About 15 years ago, Comic-Con started shifting from comics to pop culture. Now Comic-Con is celebration of fandom as lifestyle and a big part of that lifestyle is the merch that helps you express and celebrate your favorite brands. Enter licensing, which has helped to vastly increase the range and diversity of the types of products now available to fans on the Comic-Con show floor and at retail.

The t-shirt towers aren’t gone, but they are no longer the only show in town, as other merchants showcase eclectic merchandise like cereal, accessories, skateboards, sneakers and more.

Comic-Con Today Family Friendly

Throw in the fact that Comic-Con has now become a family affair with parents and children attending together, and you’ve got a bigger, more diverse fanbase than ever before eager for product to support their passion. This show featured more exclusive products than ever before and fans ate it up. We had reports from the the Borderlands and Star Trek exhibits that they sold every single piece of merch they brought to the show.

Where are the POD Players?

Given the fan-driven nature of Comic-Con, the major print-on-demand players should feel right at home on the show floor and yet they are nowhere to be found. We hear rumors that that is likely to change in future years, and that’s great news, because the fact is, the true essence of Comic-Con is kept alive by the artists. POD platforms have the opportunity to provide some structure and legitimacy in this space, to bring Comic-Con to the masses in a way, long after the convention center doors have closed.

Source: https://licensinginternational.org/news/6-takeaways-from-comic-con/

A Star is Born: Lady Gaga to debut cosmetics line on Amazon

Lady Gaga has announced she will launch a cosmetics line, Haus Laboratories, available exclusively on Amazon.

In an interview with The Business of Fashion, Gaga (Stefani Germanotta) revealed her first foray into the cosmetics industry would exclusively debut for pre-orders during Amazon Prime Day, followed by an official launch in September.

Gaga says she chose Amazon to debut the line due to its alignment with the vision of the brand. Though Amazon is not as much a household name in beauty like specialty retailers such as Sephora or Ulta, Gaga says she believes the e-commerce giant is an ideal partner for Haus.

“There are companies that see me and what I stand for and the way that I view the world, and if it’s not perfectly in line with what they do… they’ll be like, ‘Can you just change half of the equation?’” says Gaga in an interview with BOF. “The answer is no. No deal. No message of self-acceptance, no deal. This [deal with Amazon] was so wonderful because this was like, ‘Let’s make a deal, let’s make a deal to change the world with their beauty.’”

Gaga’s collection will include kits containing lip gloss, lip liner and all-over color products. Her line joins other celebrity cosmetic lines from musicians including Rihanna with Fenty.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/health-beauty/star-born-lady-gaga-debut-cosmetics-line-amazon

Can the new Toys ‘R’ US reclaim the toys throne?

After causing a seismic retail shakeup that rattled the toy retail landscape last year, Toys ‘R’ Us is rising from the ashes to reclaim its crown–but is it too late?

Toys ‘R’ Us is being resurrected as Tru Kids, and according to new reports, will open about six brick-and-mortar retail locations this year. This is undoubtedly big news for the toy industry, but is Tru Kids even a formidable threat to retail competitors?

The Big Bankruptcy Bang

It was the shot heard around the world­. In 2018, Toys ‘R’ Us, the toy retailer behemoth that had become a household name for decades, had failed to survive bankruptcy and announced that it would close its doors before the 2018 holiday season.

The news sent retailers, toymakers and toy licensees/licensors in a tailspin. Which retailer would fill the massive void left behind by TRU and capture the largest slice of the holiday 2018 market share? Retailers wasted no time to seize the massive opportunity, and the competition was fierce.

The Retailer Rat Race

First up, Target responded with guns blazing. The retail giant added nearly a quarter-million-square-feet of new space for toys in more than 500 of its stores, 25,000 hours of in-store events for kids and a whopping 2,500 new and exclusive toys to its product lineup–nearly doubling its toy offering from 2017. On the digital front, Target pulled no punches–launching a new and shiny toy hub on Target.com as well as a digital toy finder.

Of course, Walmart wasted no time jumping into the fray, quickly announcing plans to increase its in-store toy offering by 30 percent and its online toy offering by 40 percent. Walmart also landed a megawatt deal for the launch of Ryan’s World, a toy line in collaboration with YouTube influencer Ryan of Ryan ToysReview, which was available exclusively at Walmart through Sept. 30, 2018.

Online, Walmart made a major push to differentiate itself from the competition, offering exclusive toys, including the DC Comics 6-volt Justice League Batmobile. Walmart.com also kicked off a big “kidfluencer” feature, offering customers a chance to hear directly from 25 young social influencers such as Clara Lukasiak, Gavin Raygoza, Kenzie Mitchell and Gabe and Garrett, who provided exclusive toy content and reviews designed to leverage their vast built-in fan bases.

Amazon, FAO Schwarz, BuzzFeed, Party City–and even grocery retailer Kroger–all jumped into the battle of the toy titans, vying to boost sales and capitalize on the massive void left behind by Toys ‘R’ Us.

The tumult, competition and frenzy forced retailers to bring their A game, and they now have a significant head-start ahead of Tru Kids.

It’s Crunch Time

Nearly one year after Toys ‘R’ Us announced plans to file for bankruptcy, its resurrected Tru Kids brand has a lot of catching up to do.

The resurrected Toys ‘R’ Us will have to play to its advantages and leverage the deep industry contacts and relationships its predecessor amassed and nurtured over decades. Those long-standing relationships with toymakers, licensors and licensees will give way to landing exclusive deals to carry the next batch of must-have toys. That means, for Tru Kids to thrive, maximizing relationships and flexing brand awareness will be vital.

Globally, the umbrella of TRU brands is starting off strong, thanks in part to a global partnership with Fung Retailing in Asia, which has announced plans to open 70 stores across Asia, India and Europe in 2019. But with reports of only six retail locations planned in the U.S., Tru Kids will have to put serious dollars, insight and strategy behind ramping up its e-commerce and mobile platforms. And what’s an investment in digital without a serious push to include social influencers? Tru Kids will have to ride the growing social wave of 2019 and beyond and exploit the undeniable advantage of implementing social media stars with built-in audiences in the millions.

Precisely how Tru Kids will affect the toy retail landscape on the backend of 2019 remains to be seen. The New Jersey-headquartered operation has reportedly maintained an undisclosed number of former Toys ‘R’ Us staffers, which will be crucial to replicating the success of the original TRU.

But for now, the competition is fierce, and it’s still anyone’s game.

XBOX, XIAOMI join BRANDZ TOP 100 MOST VALUABLE BRANDS list

This year’s BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands List has seen a handful of new names join the ranks of some of the most successful companies.

New brands making the list this year include Chanel (No. 31), Xbox (No. 87), Haier (No. 89), TATA Consultancy Services (No. 97), Dell Technologies (No. 81), DiDi (No. 71), Meltuan (No.78) and Xiaomi No. 74). The new additions join the likes of current brand leaders such as Amazon and Apple.

Many of this year’s newcomers join the list from the technology field. Brands such as Xbox and Xiaomi are entering the Top 100 from the consumer tech arena, while TATA and Haier add to the list from the B2B space. BrandZ believes the trend of technology brands joining the report will be a common theme moving forward.

“Behind this headline, growth figure lies [in] the success coming from a new phenomenon of ecosystem brand building,” says David Roth, chief executive officer, The Store WPP EMEA and Asia and chairman, BrandZ. “We’re seeing a move from individual product and service brands to a new era of highly-disruptive ecosystems. Brands need to understand the value this type of model can create and should embrace its approach to be successful in the future.”

BrandZ reported that the technology category saw steady year-over-year growth with a four percent increase since last year. In total, the industry was the highest valued vertical on BrandZ’s report.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/industry-news/xbox-xiaomi-join-brandz-top-100-most-valuable-brands-list

‘Amazon is a fact of life, so find a way to work with it’

A panel of execs at Spring Fling talk retail challenges and brands breaking through.

Amazon is a fact of life and isn’t going to suddenly disappear overnight, so we all need to find a way to work with the e-commerce giant.

This was the message from a panel of experienced licensing industry executives, speaking as part of last week’s Spring Fling, organized by Licensing International.

Aysha Kidwai (consultant CMO, The Social Store); Rikesh Desai (licensing director, BBC Studios); Ian Downes (md, Start Licensing); Susan Bolsover (licensing and consumer products director, Penguin Ventures); and Rachel Wakley (general manager, UK & Ireland, Warner Bros. Consumer Products) – pictured from left to right with Kelvyn Gardner, UK md of Licensing International – were part of the traditional Question Time Panel which kicked off Spring Fling (held on Thursday May 23).

“Amazon is a fact of life,” commented Susan, “and they are not going to disappear overnight. They are absolutely driven by the customer experience and, until someone can come up with a different model, we all have to find a way to work with them.

“But they are also having to diversify what they do as a business – Amazon is no longer just a ‘retail service’.”

BBC Studios’ Rikesh said that, while Amazon was “super disruptive”, this is a good thing to have in any market as it starts to push boundaries and gets other retailers to notice.

The panel was also asked how smaller brands can break through and make an impact in the market.

“You can’t always work with the big players, so create events and opportunities that look at other areas,” offered Start Licensing’s Ian. “If you have good content, then someone will want it.

“Think about who the consumer is and who the retailer is; have the potential with your content to have something that others don’t have. But also don’t have licensing in isolation – it has to be a part of a wider mix of activities.”

Aysha was also a big advocate of thinking ‘outside the box’: “Don’t copy others. Think about your brand, why children like the show for example, and then deconstruct it and be smart about it. The product has to stand on its own.”

Ultimately, WBCP’s Rachel believes that, however the retail space plays out, our industry needs to be malleable and go where the consumer goes. “Our job is to be a service provider,” she said. “Wherever the consumer chooses to buy [the product] from is up to them.

“Also, think about why you’re talking to a particular retailer. What job is your brand doing to ensure the consumer’s shopping mission. Your brand isn’t an ego mission. Think about all of that and your conversation with retail becomes a lot easier.”

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/amazon-is-a-fact-of-life-so-find-a-way-to-work-with-it/

Rajasthan Royals partners with Alcis Sports as their official Kitting & Merchandise Partner

Rajasthan Royals recently announced its partnership with Indian sportswear brand Alcis Sports as the official multi-year Kitting & Merchandise partner. This announcement was made soon after the biggest revelation of the season where Royals announced Pink as their official colour which was created with the help of Alcis Sports. 

 

pic source exchange4media.com

The apparel range for Rajasthan Royals players consists of match jerseys, training wear, gym wear and everyday wear; and features some of the most advanced garment technology. Stylish, easy and comfortable to wear, they are equipped with features such as Dry-Tech — which doesn’t hold sweat and moisture for long, and are made with Anti-Microbial, Anti-Odour and Anti-Static finishes. 

Besides doing the player kitting for the season, Alcis Sports has also launched an exclusive athleisure line by the name of ‘The Royals Collection by Alcis’. The new range was launched today by Rajasthan Royals Brand Ambassador Shane Warne at a glittering event at La Roca, Aerocity, New Delhi. The newly launched line encompasses sportswear as well as daily wear for men, women and kids.  This line includes match jersey inspired fanwear and athleisure, which will be a mix of playing jerseys, practice jerseys, polos, tees, tracktops, trackpants, shorts, leggings and caps across adults aged 13-45 years as well as kids aged 7-12 years, at an affordable price.

 

Alcis Sports is the first Indian brand to have the capability and production ability to manufacture technologically advanced sportswear to enhance the performance of the wearer, bringing the best of style, comfort and cost; backed by great innovation and technology.

 

The idea that gave rise to the collection was Rajasthan Royals’ belief in innovation, especially for its fans who are inclined towards health and fitness. The line is targeted towards people interested in running, training, fitness and healthy living. The collection also consists of everyday wear that highlights its novelty. The fabric used for the collection is majorly polyester,  lycra and polycotton.

 

Speaking of the partnership, Ranjit Barthakur, Executive Chairman, Rajasthan Royals said, “We are delighted to welcome Alcis Sports to the Royals family as our official Kitting & Merchandise Partner. This collaboration marks the beginning of a new journey to strengthen the merchandising arm of the Rajasthan Royals, not just for its players but also its valuable fans.”

 

Commenting on the partnership, Royals Brand Ambassador Shane Warne said, “Alcis brings in a dash of freshness to the Rajasthan Royals brand and stands for everything that clearly defines the attributes of our brand; young, styled with innovation, aspirational and consistent. We are very excited about this association and hope to have an exciting journey with Alcis this IPL.”

 

Roshan Baid, Managing Director, Alcis Sports, said, “We are really happy to be associated with Rajasthan Royals, which has consistently been one of the most exciting teams of the Indian Premier League. We will be providing kits to the Rajasthan Royals team as well as creating merchandise for its fans which will bring greater connect between the team and its fans. We pride ourselves on being a high-quality performance wear brand and the entire Rajasthan Royals range is equipped with the latest features and technologies that garment manufacturing has to offer.”

 

The newly launched athleisure line is now available for customers at four Alcis exclusive stores; Vaishali Nagar, Behror and Bagru in Rajasthan and Kamla Nagar in Delhi, apart from large format retail stores such as Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Central and Brand Factory. The line is also available online on alcissports.com, Myntra, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm, Limeroad, Tata Cliq and Gofynd.

Amazon opens pop-up in Spain

Amazon has opened its first pop-up store in Madrid, Spain in one of the city’s principal shopping districts, according to Reuters.

The space is laid out in the style of a house with all displayed items on sale. Goods for sale range from electronics to video games and clothing.

The e-commerce giant plans to open similar stores in Italy, Germany and Britain, according to the company spokesperson. The move underscores the online powerhouse’s push to attract customers through physical retail.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/retailer-news/amazon-opens-pop-spain

LIMA takes execs on modern retail tour

The Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) hosted Bricks & Clicks on Monday, Oct. 8, a tour that gave select Brand Licensing Europe attendees a chance to look at the modern retail landscape up close.

The Entertainer, UK

The Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) hosted Bricks & Clicks on Monday, Oct. 8, a tour that gave select Brand Licensing Europe attendees a chance to look at the modern retail landscape up close.

The first stop was at The Entertainer, located in the Westfield London shopping center in London. A beacon in an industry that has been shaken up by the closure of Toys “R” Us and other retailers this year, The Entertainer has continued to provide entertainment and play items for shoppers across the U.K. The company has plans to expand from 149 stores in the U.K. to 165 by the end of the year, and its growth is due in large part to the licensed toys that line its shelves. “The most success in physical retail is in experiential,” says Steven Ekstract, brand director, global licensing group, UBM.

The Entertainer offers wall-to-wall stock with prominent-branded displays and unique play areas. Featured sections include the Magic Mirror, a life-sized interactive animated AR experience, among others. In addition to a tour of the location, Mark Whittle, head, buying, The Entertainer, offered insight into the store’s success. He also added that while expansion in competitive markets is important, underserved countries, such as Azerbaijan, Malta, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Cypress, Pakistan, Egypt, Macedonia and Albania have presented unique opportunities.ADVERTISEMENT. CLICK FOR SOUND.

It also opened 59 “Totally Toys”-branded store-in-stores at the British home goods and fashion retailer Matalan. The Entertainer also gives supplier exclusives and a Addo Division that provides private label items and DTRs, which included Pinkfong’s Baby Shark plush toy based on the viral song.

The shop was located in an equally impressive shopping center that offered specially curated experiences and bold branding strategies amid modern design concepts. Following The Entertainer, the group moved on to the “Clicks” portion of the event, which involved a tour of the headquarters of Amazon U.K. 

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/lima/lima-takes-execs-modern-retail-tour