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: 10/17/2018

    New c-store concept is high-tech inside and out

    Wow! What I love the most about this concept is that the strategists and designers so clearly approached it from a service mindset. Every relevant trend likely to be meaningful to the local market has been considered, supported and, I'm suspecting, streamlined for maximum ease. It's exciting to see stories like this emerging at greater frequency in our industry. It's not a "me too" Amazon Go concept, it's a "me uniquely" for a brand and their channel. That's the ticket -- hold true to your brand, but bring it to life uniquely. Fingers crossed that as more shining lights like this emerge, more of the old guard will open their minds to thinking differently.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2018

    Will the EU’s anticompetitive investigation follow Amazon back to the U.S.?

    I’m with Chris. As time goes by, I get increasingly uncomfortable with the power of all that is Amazon. They don’t need to make money on margin, their cash cows are so much more powerful—holding the largest keys re: reaching customers on the hunt to buy, knowing the intimate details of our purchases and, when tied to the many other data streams, our paths and habits, getting in on our homes, etc. They are coming after health soon too. Of COURSE they are using third-party data to their own advantage. Why wouldn’t they? They are a business, and although they are pretty much the most trusted brand in the world, they are centered squarely on profit. Convenience and trust are their gateway drugs, and society is addicted. Due to this, they are quickly surpassing even government’s understanding of their inner workings--or their ability to control them. And now we have 3,000 Amazon Go stores coming. Again, I fear the potential implications—and how they can (and will) affect small business AND retail. There's a book called The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Great read that digs into this and a lot more.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2018

    ‘Cosby Show’ star’s experience shows work is different at Trader Joe’s

    So true Al. My brother-in-law is a 15-year vet and, at my urging, decided to work in one of the big home improvement stores while he finished up getting his master's degree. He's had 3 letters written to their CEO applauding the service he provided, yet he's had nothing but struggles with his store's management team -- and the very frustrating store systems that cause awful issues with customer service. As much as we talk about retail from a high level, so much still needs to be fixed on the front lines with some of the big players.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2018

    Will a bot soon be taking your order at the drive-thru?

    My first reaction is no problem, but PLEASE divert some of the labor cost savings to pay higher hourly wages to the those that hand off the food -- and ensure that they are friendly, authentic and smiling.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2018

    Can Kroger turn Cincinnati into an alt-Silicon Valley?

    Amen on this comment Bob. You hit the nail on the head.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2018

    Will a new beauty concept help CVS pull shoppers from Sephora and Ulta?

    My partner and I just spoke at NACDS and we called this out in our presentation, as it’s a great example of bravely testing new ideas based on trends and customer needs. Will it work? Who knows! But isn’t that the point? In my mind, every small test like this deserves a huge round of applause, as it’s these little tests that will help the status quo evolve. Here’s what I love about this.
    • It’s easy to get to. If they can get a quickie makeover and blowout done with little-to-no complaint, MANY women will flock to it. Myself first!
    • Appointments may actually be available -- which is more than I can say for Sephora. Seriously, ask any woman.
    • It’s unintimidating. Again, it can be intimidating to face the huge volume of choices in the beauty bonanza stores. One area, one consultant may help that.
    The challenges I see are: 1.) the open space may make it feel like you’re on display; 2.) recruiting great people, ensuring that they provide great service and keeping them and 3.) managing appointments with no friction. Like all other areas of brick-and-mortar, the experience will ultimately be the make or break on this.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2018

    Nike campaign tests ‘all publicity is good publicity’ adage

    This isn’t about all publicity being good publicity ... this is about having the guts to stand for something in a cultural climate where it’s very much needed. Nike has been struggling mightily and part of that reason is that they haven’t had a strong authentic "story" in a while. Good for them to taking a stand -- my gut is that it will bode well for them. However, in light of the issues that they’ve had with female leadership, I have to question if they are talking out of both sides of their mouth.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2018

    Will gains make believers of investors who opposed Target’s toy category push?

    So here's a challenge. Ask any new mom what store was her 100 percent go-to the first 6 months to a year after baby was born. If a Target was remotely in her vicinity, you'll get that answer. It may be anecdotal, but every woman I know considered Target the "one place to go" when she got out of the house as a new mom for many reasons --coffee, cushy plastic cart seats, a little delightful something to find and a great baby section. As the baby grew, the toy section was added onto the agenda as bribery to come along and play nice. This is a GREAT move.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2018

    Will Kroger’s ban mean the end of plastic bags in grocery stores?

    California has been on this wagon for years. So has Aldi. When you don't have plastic bags, you buy reusable ones or you bring your own. It's the right thing to do (regardless of the true intent). I just wish that they would make it a mandate MUCH SOONER. Why wait so many years? People will adjust, and when they do, they'll realize how much easier it is to use and lug reusables anyway!
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Nike launches digitally-led store

    As a a practitioner of this kind of work, I know how hard it is to get a huge group of internal stakeholders to agree to a set of "experiences" to envision, install, activate, measure and tweak. As long as they are watching, learning, evolving and continuing to evolve, I say KUDOS to this. Half the battle right now is starting somewhere and having a store that can be used as a learning lab. I hope to see the second chapter of this store's story in the next six months or so.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Ellison shaking things up at Lowe’s

    I worked with Lowe's for three years during the time that they were leading the category. The CMO at the time, Bob Gfeller, was -- and still is -- a shining example of leadership, vision and a fearless and focused commitment to CX and doing what's right for the customer. We had 33 departments involved and it was an honor and privilege to be part of such an amazing group of retail leaders. This was 10 years ago, and only two of this team are still there. Some great minds have been inside of their walls and I hope that as more come back in, they are the right people and they are empowered. They've lost a lot of years and, as Bob often said, there's a narrow window in which to get ahead.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2018

    Survey: Customer experience tech rivals personal attention from staff

    Small retailers that are thriving are not doing it because of technology ... it's because they are providing what so many big retailers are not -- great experiences driven by a caring staff and a genuine commitment towards hospitality. They care, and their shoppers know it.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2018

    Why are there so few women in c-level positions?

    Wow is this hard to weigh in on with any level of brevity. And it’s not black and white -- some companies are enlightened here and some (okay, many) are not. It’s crazy given the fact that so many household purchases are driven by women and science has proven how different our brains are from men. This topic is the reason the 3% Conference exists. This topic is the reason I own my company. This topic is why I get so mad when women DO get there and act poorly in the role. Regardless, like Cathy, I know the answers to the question. I’m curious to hear from the men reading this inquiry -- what are YOU seeing?
  • Posted on: 06/25/2018

    Dollar General pilots scan & go tech

    I agree with Mark and Max. If they've unearthed a key friction point such as long, frustrating checkout lines OR if they are simply experimenting, great. But if this is a me-too strategy, I would love to see the funding supporting something that would make more of an impact on overall store experience. Yes, expectations aren't super high for CX in a dollar store -- but our firm sees that changing in the very near future as low price, high experience becomes more prevalent.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2018

    Is AI the key to legacy brands’ revitalization?

    Funny to see this product as the feature, as they have definitely gotten my attention in the past months. As shared, "AI itself is simply a means, it’s not the end." They did all the right things around their AI test. The models became less Barbie-inspired; the copy became more human; the product name is more culturally relevant rather than cult-like; the price point became more justifiable. AI is a very, very strong tool to get the right product closer to the right people. But once the hook is in, the rest of the experience needs to pay off again the holistic CX plan -- which includes channel experience, voice/tone, brand feeling, product design, product story, price, transaction ease and all that jazz. No matter how, when and why it's used, AI needs to be a lever to aid in creating a more holistically human experience.

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