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: 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! :)
  • Posted on: 01/18/2019

    NRF: Would digital experiences be even better with a human touch?

    Jeremy is spot on. As people focused on in-store innovation, our #1 mantra to clients is to focus on "the should vs. the could." The second is to remember that technology needs to make the store experience MORE human, not less. However, how this theory is executed needs to be focused on the brand (and expectations attached to it), the situations/frictions/opportunities, trends and tight measurement that tracks what we call "the three lenses": behavior, emotion and transaction. It all comes down to the business case -- and revenue speaks louder than any form of NPS.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2019

    Is Lowe’s doing it right with its new tagline?

    I worked on this brand for years, both as a consultant and within their ad agency -- and this change in tagline makes me so, so sad. "Never Stop Improving" has been one of the most iconic, understandable and plausible "True North" (as BBDO calls it) statements I've ever seen. I think this new tagline is 100% about the new leadership's desire to mark their tree, not the need for a new tagline. It says three things at once and puts their brand into murky waters against the competition.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2019

    Whole Foods to expand nationwide to drive Prime Now growth

    I've been reading "The Four" by Scott Galloway and it's a riveting read that goes deep into Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. One of the many, many takeaways that relates to this is that Amazon doesn't need to make money from just margin--they really win in the end with data and access. As their tentacles reach into more and more areas of our lives, they get more and more information into their soup pot of data. The data is intimate and highly coveted by brands, which is why Amazon is stealing such massive share regarding search (and other things). So even if they capture a small bit of the larger grocery market, the ability to get deep into more homes and add it to the larger data views of their lives is huge. It's also not something that competing grocery brands have any ability to do. So, I'm not sure that this kind of expansion is a good thing--at least regarding keeping the power of this ever-expanding platform.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2019

    Is Blue Apron smart to pin turnaround hopes on Weight Watchers alliance?

    The one point of view I'd add here is that this does address a few barriers for Weight Watchers -- busy people and a desire to limit packaged foods. My mom just finished up a successful run with Nutrisystem and the foods she ate were 60 percent frozen or packaged -- which means tons of preservatives, salt and other icky stuff. Weight Watchers has many packaged items too, but to eat only fresh with them requires prep time and planning -- meaning time. I'll be watching this with interest. I think it has some potential.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2018

    Are retailers better off going cashless?

    Very good points Kai.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2018

    How can retailers get customers to complete feedback surveys?

    Easy. 1.) Give them some kind of valuable incentive; 2.) tell them up front how long it will take and show progress; 3.) keep it short and ask questions like a human; 4.) make it stupid-easy. It's not rocket science -- which people like Field Agent figured out quickly.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2018

    Are retailers better off going cashless?

    This is a loaded topic. It's easy for us to say this makes sense, as we're all digitally-inclined, make good incomes, are primarily urban and focused on ease and convenience. Yet I spent Thanksgiving in a tiny town of 1,800 and watched almost everyone pay with cash. Are we self referencing here? The other point is data security. My dear friend works for Homeland Security and insists that his entire family pay only with cash--for reasons he doesn't freely share. Which must be good ones. In July, the retail version of the 2018 Thales Data Breach report shared that the U.S. leads the world in data breaches -- and that we'd more than doubled since the 2017 survey, rising from 19 percent to 50 percent in one year. As a result, IT spending to address it is up, but is this indicative of an environment in which cash will be forced out?

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