Laura Davis-Taylor

Co-Founder, HighStreet Collective
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: 06/10/2019

    Walmart debuts store-to-fridge fresh food delivery service

    I'm with these guys. I live one mile from a Walmart in Atlanta and there's not enough need in the world to drive me to let one of their employees into my home. I have no doubt that it would get cased for a home invasion. This is all about brand trust and that starts with current channel experiences -- and it takes a lot of it to garner sharing the security code to your front door.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2019

    Who still thinks one-size-fits-all mannequins make sense?

    HUGE agreement Georganne! Another lens to this is the influence of influencers. Body positivity is everywhere, but when some of the "hot bods" all over the press are wildly different than the typical mannequin (which maybe .05% of the population looks like!), it's just obtuse to not be reflecting that on the floor and in the merchandising channels. Personally, I love the ones that are showing not just stick thin and plus, but the many ranges in between. Athleta is doing a marvelous job of this.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2019

    What’s the secret to driving emotional connections with customers?

    I'm sitting in a CX conference and the co-creator or Ritz Carlton just presented. He shared some of the keys to their success, which consisted of first understanding what people wanted from the lodging category: good service, timeliness and people that are nice to them. Over and over, they found that the *caring* created more profitability then the rest of it. They were then diligent to understand the impact of a lost guest, which was $200,000. They labeled a negative customer as a "terrorist against the company" and thus empowered people to ensure that when a customer was unhappy, they opened their arms. This is soft stuff from a measurement perspective, yet it is critical to a company's long-term success. It is also tied to brand expectations -- Family Dollar will have very different expectations from Cartier, and the emotions regarding the experiences will vary in accordance. Tools such as NPS and sentiment analysis qual/quant studies can be used to identify what's happening and why. But without a deeper, empathetic understanding re: what's driving the highs and the lows (at every touchpoint) and leadership that takes action to resolve the frictions AND create new on-brand, considerate rituals, it's a moot point. A great company keeps the customer, and emotional currency is the most powerful weapon in business today. The data, however, is akin to tea leaves -- once it's unearthed, the hard part is understanding what it's really saying and doing something about it.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    How should retailers best on-board seasonal staff?

    Another idea is to take a cue from the other successful gig economy platforms -- social ratings. For years we've scratched our heads regarding why more brands in our industry haven't figured out an easy-peasy way for a shopper to do a quick tag with an emoticon and comment box to rate how their interaction was with a specific associate. I could recommend at least 3 ways for this to happen via mobile right now, and now them there's beacons, apps and even NFC. Tie ratings to $$$ and watch what happens....
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Target turns to advertising opportunities as its core retail business thrives

    I'd like to weigh in on another layer of this excellent conversational thread -- and that is properly weaving the analytic opportunity of this retail media idea into the store. We are staunch believers that media in physical spaces must measure behavior, emotion and transaction. If you think about it, most all other media platforms already do. The dance between retail store brands and CPGs has always been "careful" because a brand's attribution models are tight and cogent until the hit the brick and mortar stores. Then, if they are lucky, they can pull transaction -- but nothing else. I worked at the largest ad agency in the world for years, and their analytic team (which was world class) struggled mightily with this. Net-net:
    • Media is marketing.
    • All marketing is quickly becoming digital -- even the physical stuff is digital if data is fueling the what, where and how.
    • Advertising as a form of marketing is a nuisance until it has personal meaning -- then it is a welcome suggestion. We have to therefore move from the old "Find Me/Sell Me" to the "Know Me/Help Me" mindset here.
    • Brands want to create marketing and advertising that ultimately converts, which can't happen if their messages aren't seen as welcomed. Thus, they will pay more to ensure that ARE. Thus they are seeking these retail ad platforms to measure all points of exposure, particularly the missing piece of the physical store. This, they want open sharing of the data. Then, they can optimize the what, where and how for optimal success.
    • As more tools and techniques emerge to fill this gap and round out the idea of 'omnichannel marketing and optimization', we will see a very different approach towards shopper marketing, engagement and personalization. But, the connections must connect into the store.
    Adrian Weidmann and I wrote a book 11 years ago that touched on this. It's encouraging to see it finally emerge beyond Walmart, as it's a critical to our industry. However, it can only go so far regarding its potential unless the brick and mortar is properly integrated into the "dream scenario."
  • Posted on: 05/22/2019

    Should retail boards include seats for store associates?

    I totally agree with Anne here. The first thing that we do when on a new project is immerse into the employees on the floor -- they see the day-to-day and are invaluable voices regarding the realities of what's happening with the store and shoppers. They would, however, need some training, coaching and moderating or it could be a gripe session or lack realistic applicability.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2019

    H&M sells supply chain transparency

    I watched the documentary "The True Cost" last year and vowed never to buy fast fashion again. And I haven't. For those that care, they care a LOT. For those that don't, this is meaningless. Watch that documentary, then come back to this question.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2019

    Do urgency tactics used by online retailers amount to marketing deception?

    Gamification is alive and real, and it works. It's up to us consumers to be smart about taking bait or being taken....
  • Posted on: 05/03/2019

    Will Walmart’s ‘Great Workplace’ test work for its customers and associates?

    Here's hoping. I love their approach towards innovation, but I live 1/2 mile from a crazy busy urban one in Atlanta and every single time I go in there the wait to cash out makes driving the 6 miles to Target a great alternative. Invariably, it's at a peak time, only 2 lanes are open and self-checkout is a minimum of 20 people deep. Doing what I do for a living, it makes me BANANAS. Fix the most pervasive pain points and great things happen. Hiring and empowering emotionally intelligent frontline management with a heart of service is a great first step.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2019

    Will a healthier Wawa be a more successful Wawa?

    I adore this and only wish they were in Atlanta. From category experience, the one thing I'll be curious about is how it flies based on location. I worked on one brand where their customers yelled for healthier options, but when they brought them in they sat on the shelf. We thus learned the crucial importance of doing the proper site location market analysis for those that trended high for kale versus corn chips! No matter, I'm hoping it becomes a new trend.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2019

    Sears Holdings sues Eddie Lampert for illegally stripping retailer of its assets

    The comments my fellow BrainTrust members have already submitted sum up any and all opinions I have perfectly. All you can do is shake your head and hope that the industry doesn't have a repeat of this kind of nonsense.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2019

    Will pairing nail salons with shoe stores be a good fit for DSW?

    I'm with Patricia. I just don't see going somewhere to try on shoes and having wet nails. The price point is also too high...the average pedi is $25, they'll need to create more incentive.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2019

    Will Walmart’s Baby Savings Day grow up to be a big retailing deal?

    With Babies “R” Us gone, parents have a huge missing resource gone from their lives -- a friend told me as much this week. Walmart (and every other retailer in this category) need to get smart fast about how to fill that gap, but in a way that delivers it in a more elevated strategy. The devil's in the details, however -- here's hoping that a stronger team gets behind planning, marketing and executing this platform next time!
  • Posted on: 02/26/2019

    Nestlé connects in-store and online media

    dunnhumby was the first company that made me aware of this type of targeting, then called Behavioral Merchandising in their book Scoring Points. It was published over a decade ago and was largely based on their work with Tesco. If anyone can successfully pull this off, it's them. I find this news delightful, as it's just one more example of the power of this kind of multi-channel targeting and measurement, and it makes the promise of tying attribution analytics down to the store a reality. It also brings retailers and brands together to work in tandem for ROI. As we start to see more recession indicators hit, I feel strongly that the only marketing that will be funded will be that which is measured. What's personal is hopefully the measurement outcomes, like those we see in this article, will sing.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2019

    Tide to roll out laundry cleaning service nationwide

    In a time where brand extension strategy can sometimes border on preposterous, it's really nice to see examples like this that make a lot of sense. There's only room for so many brands to follow suit on this kind of strategy -- crossing fingers one shows up in my neighborhood soon!

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