Laura Davis-Taylor

Co-Founder, High Street Experience
Laura has been focused on creating meaningful retail experiences that bridge home, life and store for over 20 years. Her experience is multifaceted, ranging across brand planning, digital engagement, store design and, more recently, next generation retail experience design.

She believes passionately that good brands do not make promises — they deliver experiences in unique and compelling ways. Done right, it is this that builds irrational brand loyalty. With this philosophy, she has worked with brands such as AT&T, Toyota, Best Buy, Coke, L’Oréal/Lancôme, Lowe’s, Office Depot, Foot Locker, 7-Eleven, EJ Gallo and Unilever.

Laura is an active industry speaker and contributor on the subject of digital experience design for outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Time Magazine, the MMA and MediaPost. She’s an ongoing contributor for Digital Signage Magazine and Retail TouchPoints and her book, “Lighting up the Aisle: Practices and Principles for In-store Digital Media”, is the only existing resource for how retail brands can harness technology to reinvent their in-store experience.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2017

    Will Levi’s virtual stylist put more online shoppers into its jeans?

    Jeans, beauty, bathing suits and undergarments -- ANYTHING that retailers can do to help us ladies with those 4 and we're saying thank you. Doesn't have to be perfect -- just thank you for thinking of us and trying. :-)
  • Posted on: 07/31/2017

    Has Amazon created another high-draw shopping model with its Treasure Trucks?

    Indeed Ryan...I think it's all about trying to teach us dogs yet one more new trick. Will they pull this out often? Probably not. Will they use their mammoth purchasing power and weight to get us to buy new categories from them on the cheap? And make us work for the bargain? For sure. I say this because they said that the truck might include steaks...who would imagine doing that but if they hit the streets with grass fed local steaks at 1/2 the cost of the local grocers, I have a feeling people will run for them. Can't wait to watch and see!
  • Posted on: 07/31/2017

    Has Amazon created another high-draw shopping model with its Treasure Trucks?

    I agree Camille, primarily b/c of what I witnessed this weekend. My friend's husband would rather be shot than walk into a store and he literally spent his entire day chasing this purchase opportunity. There's real science behind the brain and gaming, especially when the prize is super, super attractive. I doubt we'll see them do this for items that aren't seriously enticing. *I signed up for it just in case, why miss out? ;)
  • Posted on: 07/17/2017

    Are $3.00 generics a sound grocery e-tailing model?

    Lyle and Nikki hit home on the key point: total value. Value today is so much more than price ... unless you are a shopper that only cares about the bargain. Those people are the most promiscuous out there, so why would they be beholden to one outlet only? Let’s face it -- if I want a serving spoon as cheap as I can get it, it’s going to be at the Goodwill. The hunt is half the fun for those folks!This said the site it done well, as is the packaging. But to me it feels more like an Amway play than a full-spectrum e-commerce site.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2017

    Can toys raise J.C. Penney’s game?

    To move beyond the commodity play and motivate shoppers to care, J.C. Penney will have to offer something different and valuable. This would have to come from one of two places: offering a better purchase/fulfillment experience or an exclusive line of toys that are highly coveted and hard to get. Will they be able to pull either off? Even if they do, will they be credible enough to bring people back? My gut says that the time to do it was three or four years ago when they had a chance.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2017

    Is e-commerce a job builder or killer?

    Mark’s comment resonated with me as I think he hits home on a key point -- the online created jobs may or may not be better jobs, but they are indeed different.We are friends with author/data guru Chris Surdak and had a similar conversation with him last week in relation to AI (artificial intelligence). He was sharing his perspective that AI will not force great people out of good jobs -- it will make those people even better at their jobs. For those already substandard, they will be propelled into rudimentary task positions. In relation to retail, will the rudimentary stuff be warehouse/logistics? Or something different?Another thing I often ponder is how much impact we are talking about. Many research studies point out that the younger kids prefer shopping brick-and-mortar. Some theorize that this is because they can control their physical shopping while so much of the digital stuff is "automagical," therefore not interesting or stimulating.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2017

    How should retailers balance personal versus impersonal experiences?

    Adding on to Nir’s points ...Years ago, I was working on a very intense exploration on this topic for a major beverage company. The big "aha" is that shoppers now expect these tech tools to be available to them -- but they must be optional. The levers were: what kind of shopper, where they were on the tech curve (optimist vs. pessimist), what kind of shopping was happening (leisure vs. mission), their price sensitivity and the time they had available.The wildcard, however, is Adrian’s point above. For many retailers, the associate experience is so dismal they will reach for technology to avoid a negative experience. My personal opinion is that for those retailers for which this is the case, no amount of technology is going to fix them in the long run.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2017

    Has J.C. Penney figured out a fix for its fashion problem?

    Lee said it perfectly -- thanks for speaking the brutal truth Lee, we need more of that right now.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2017

    Will Walmart’s next-gen store fly with shoppers?

    I love that they are doing this. It’s huge for the industry and is very encouraging to see them marching bravely into public experimentation. Kudos! My question is if they are putting just as much focus on fixing the more basic challenges. My Walmart is dirty, smelly, stocked with carts that may or may not function and chock full of long lines. I realize that it’s not a new sparkly store format, but we can’t forget that tech-based innovation is a piece of the legacy. How will these new efforts be translated into that legacy? Will they be received in the same way when present in more "standard" stores? Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing the results.Come on other retailers, get in there and join them please!
  • Posted on: 05/10/2017

    Is facial recognition a viable solution for reducing shoplifting?

    I have been working with gaze tracking technology in live stores (on a small-test basis) for years. Before we did it, we ensured that there was NO WAY to link the person to their personal unique ID. That was the critical piece. We also worked with POPAI, the World Privacy Forum and a slew of attorneys to create standards for use -- and the key recommendation was disclosure. We refer to this kind of tracking as “Observed Tracking Data” and the group feedback seems fairly united in their notification recommendations. But this is a whole new ballgame. We need to tread carefully.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2017

    Will chatbots drive a ‘conversational commerce’ trend?

    What I love the most about this new technology is their ability to get right to the information that you need. Digital has a three-click rule, meaning get people the answer within three clicks. If a chatbot can slice through all of that and enable the ability to ask a question and get the answer, wonderful. Are we in the learning curve on this right now? Yep. But throw Watson in the mix and it gets really interesting.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2017

    Will Amazon’s Echo Look be a clothes selling machine?

    As a female, a retail consultant and a shopper, I'm hesitant to support this. There’s a huge debate out there on AI and if it can indeed take on creativity successfully. Data drives what Alexa would say, and how can data take the place of original inspiration? I’m curious about that. Also, the other thing is that this is very scary to me -- it’s a carrot to open people’s homes up to camera tracking. No way.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2017

    Could an Amazon augmented reality store shake up appliance and furniture shopping?

    I also applaud their attitude towards experimentation, but this category is a tough one. If they have do indeed have it tied to physical showrooms, I could see it working. But appliances and furniture are extremely tactile purchases that we touch and use often. People want to be sure that they are comfortable and feel right for their bodies and daily needs. They are also high consideration re: the remorse factor -- if you get a choice wrong here, it's a lot of pain and time expense to trade it out.Look at PIRCH. Their wild success is built on the high touch that they provide to an otherwise sterile category -- all the way down to the white glove installation. How on earth could Amazon come close to this?
  • Posted on: 01/19/2017

    Will a movie and gourmet food combo drive crowds to the mall?

    It's hard to answer this without self referencing ... but the ongoing question of how we're going to save malls is certainly a big one. Most responses are united in the idea that they have to transform themselves from a strict buying experience to larger experiences — which is why this works. I live in a major metro area and don't go to malls anymore. Unless, that is, to see a movie. While I'm there enjoying an "enhanced" movie experience, we always go to Johnny Rockets and we always hit our two favorite stores. Again, the only thing that gets me to that mall is the movie theatre.It would be an interesting exercise to throw this challenge to a group of lightening rod young people. "Hey guys, we're going to give you your local mall to do whatever you want with it. Don't limit your thinking to just going there to buy stuff. How would you want to experience it differently? Doing what? How could it serve a more elevated role in your city?" That kind of thinking.I had a similar conversation yesterday with our ECD as we pontificated about what we could have done with Blockbuster to save it. How could that marvelous footprint central in so many US cities have evolved the reason for their existence to stay relevant?
  • Posted on: 01/03/2017

    Should Costco raise its membership fees?

    Like so much, it comes down to perceived value. Yep, warehouse relies on impulse and treasure hunts -- and Costco leads the pack when it comes down to the value of those found treasures. The food options are also superior and they are careful to provide plenty of on-trend selections (organic, gluten free, etc.) Based on this, a small fee hike won’t make much difference to their core shopper.

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