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: 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!
  • Posted on: 02/19/2019

    Where did Payless go wrong?

    All the responses are certainly valid, but I'd like to summarize it to one key point -- bad leadership. Every single thing we call out here could have been addressed by leaders who were in the trenches, working together and properly pivoting to survive in a landscape that's BEEN changing -- not has changed. I have no doubt that every single idea pointed out was pushed up to them and not supported. The Digiday article link has as compelling quote from a former employee: “It was about not having the bandwidth of the team to align with what was going on in stores in North America as well as what was going on online. There was a revolving door of employees leaving, and the new organization wasn’t aligned with specific goals or would make very quick pivots if certain executions weren’t working out.” They went on to say that things weren’t getting signed or approved -- they were waiting around for very simple things. Bad leaders. It's so frustrating. :(
  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    Will Mastercard’s sonic identity connect with consumers on a new level?

    Right on Nikki. Hailing from a background in advertising, this is not new and I've yet to see research to prove that it can change buying intent or behavior. Brand recognition, yes -- which can stimulate negative feelings if correlated with a negative experience (hello Jaws!) But in this day and age, I struggle on how much sonic matters if it's not fueling purchases.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    Will CVS’s HealthHUB concept change what consumers expect of drugstores?

    I LOVE this and am so encouraged by the concept. My fiancée is an urgent care doctor and I’ve watched him go from an average of 40 patients to an average of 60 a day. The volume is crushing, and he struggles over not being able to give patients the time necessary to care for them but also EDUCATE them on better managing their health. This is an excellent step in the right direction towards making support for health needs more accessible—which we desperately need. And let’s be real, this category survives on pharmacy profits—so it’s serves their interest as well. It’s just doing so from a higher road. More please!
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    Are legacy retailers on the right track or heading off the tracks?

    This BrainTrust is amazing. Thank you for all of your thoughtful's always enlightening to hear from peers about topics this pressing.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2019

    Did Trader Joe’s make the right decision to end grocery deliveries?

    Their decision makes sense for their brand, and they have enough exclusive, unique private labels to make planning a trip worthwhile. Combine this with great prices, spot-on customer service, tasty treats to try and an overall engaging store, and I think many people would agree. Also, I love that they made a decision unapologetically and gave good reasons for it...then stood by confidently. Great leadership.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2019

    Walmart to offer bonuses for good attendance

    Yes, yes, YES! Bravo Walmart, this will pay off in so many ways...and I certainly hope that they are measuring the impact through many irrefutable lenses. Now, how about you create another layer of incentives based on store NPS/satisfaction? Or even better, let shoppers easily rate their experience at the register by touching a happy or sad emoticon? I'd love to see each person gunning for high ratings -- and be compensated accordingly. That would be a game changer for many of their stores.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2019

    Is experiential retail overhyped and misunderstood?

    Amen Ricardo ... and Paula! This entire conversation boils down to who the brand is, what they represent and what the expectations are accordingly. Disney Store? It had better be hyper-experiential! Drug store? Tread carefully on what you should do versus could do. You get the point. Regardless, I am happy to see this POV hit today. As Lee points out, the Nike store on 5th was astounding from a technical and "wow factor" perspective, but it was overwhelming. People were buying, yes, but was it all necessary? Or was it about being the most over-the-top store in the world? We all shared the fear that it would spark a copycat trend of building the craziest store out there -- rather than the smartest stores. *Strategically that is.
  • Posted on: 01/28/2019

    What do shoppers really want? Do retailers have a clue?

    Reading the responses thus far, there's nothing here that we all haven't been saying for years now. In my mind, what's missing are the kind of retail leaders that make the RIGHT decisions for the customer's shopping experience, not THEIR decisions biased by personal views or short-sighted operational efficiencies/spending spreadsheets. It's not hard. They of course have a clue, any good research will give them whatever ammunition that they need to be fully informed. The bigger question is do they care? I'm a huge proponent of "actions speak louder than words." When a retailer truly cares, it shows -- and we all know who those great brands are. When they don't, it shows as well -- and we're seeing them in the news every week.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2019

    NRF: Technologies promise to reshape fitting rooms

    I sure hope that retailers get excited about testing and learning with some of these emerging tools, as the dressing room and finding fit is THE friction point for apparel -- followed by getting good associate support. The careful dance is to figure out how to execute them in a manner that works for everyone and delivers on brand expectations. I personally feel luxury requires a heavier human touch with these tools making things simpler. Example: use the mirror to help you find what to try on, tap a button in the dressing room when you need help and a live person comes to graciously inquire what item you need and bring it back with a smile. In a more mainstream setting (like Macy's) where associate support is light, going full-steam with this kind of automation and digital support makes sense. In the meantime, I'm headed to make my avatar! :)

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