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: 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?
  • Posted on: 11/27/2018

    Does Amazon’s record performance point to the growing importance of Cyber Monday?

    I’m a big fan of reading the tea leaves on questions like this. Yes, it will continue to grow in importance. But digging deeper, this is about convenience as much as price. The joy of holiday shopping is not what it used to be, and there’s a general notion of "find it, get it, get out" due to parking challenges, long lines, wayfinding, out-of-stocks and often grumpy associates. It's a wide general statement but its often true—in most cases -- not much of the experience is magical. So people are finding a way to make it easier on themselves.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2018

    Can online unboxing videos turn Walmart into ‘America’s Best Toy Shop?’

    The reason people love unboxing videos on YouTube is authenticity. Real people, no scripts, no agenda. I applaud their appetite for innovation, but I’ll be watching how consumers take to this with interest. Why would anyone trust a produced, brand-backed video over the plethora of ones available on most products from people with no ties to selling? If I were in charge of this test, I'd be tracking mobile as well. My gut says that a great deal of people will see this and grab their phone to find their own video review. Either way, data drives the direction, so kudos for exploring the idea Walmart.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2018

    Waitrose disses John Lewis’ Elton John Christmas commercial

    I agree with Neil. Putting my agency hat on, these spots are clearly very different target audiences and creative briefs -- but how fun that they ping off each other! The John Lewis spot is utterly sublime, the other funny and tongue in cheek. Good work folks.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2018

    Can Walmart turn its haters into lovers?

    I shared this study when Lee first published it because it's an important one. Walmart is such a polarizing brand -- on the one hand, it's a island for many of the small town "desert" communities where decent accessibility to stores isn't always an option. And of course there's price -- no denying that the pricing is good. However, from an experience perspective, it can be one of the worst out there. I don't care how innovative and creative they are at corporate, the fact is that most every one that I go into is awful to shop. Long lines, often sullen employees, frenetic floor plan, wobbly carts ... even the POS is spotty. And I live in a big metro community, where you'd imagine that there would be extra care based on volume and demographics, People put up with it for the price, but for how long? Until there's another option. I really want them to get it together. But they have GOT to care more about the store experience. Not in their innovation stores -- in all of their stores. Until then, I'll go in there when I'm desperate enough to have to, but that doesn't mean I'm going to like it.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    Why aren’t women buying Amazon’s private label clothing?

    Great points Al. They are brilliant at this methodology--and they can be because taking initial losses at a new venture doesn't bother them at all if the end game is clear. I think your theory is more than sound.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2018

    Why aren’t women buying Amazon’s private label clothing?

    I’ve spent many years of my career being accused of being naïve to how cut-throat business can be. This is a prime example. Why, Amazon, is it important that you repeat the war so stifling us inside of brick-and-mortar walls? The one where everyone is trying to play nice but, deep down, the manufacturer knows that their retail "partner" would quickly crush them to get their product market share as their own—via their private label? The one where they are watching every move their "client's" customer is making so that they can swoop in and snag them for their own? Amazon has shown their cards with their new private label mattress -- half the price of Casper touting equal quality. Europe is already upset with them for watching successful emerging products hit, then replicating them and selling them cheaper. I can’t be neutral on this topic because I don’t WANT to buy their private label -- I don’t need them to be one of the most formidable retail outlets out there and also the one that crushes other brands one by one. I, however, am in the industry -- making me privy to a wide angle view on the matter. I know, it's just business. But does it have to be? Only if we support it.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Is Toys ‘R’ Us starting its comeback in Kroger’s aisles?

    There is definitely a key a theme to the comments here that I agree with -- it's all going to come down to the products, the merchandising strategy and the execution. This could be successful, but curation, pricing strategy and ensuring a fit inside of Kroger's brand (and shopper expectations) is going to be everything.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Consumers say online recommendations are the worst

    I would actually like to see the nitty gritty of this survey. From my view as a retail consultant/practitioner, some retailers are excellent at it and others are not. I think the more interesting angle to this study would be to unveil those that are getting the high points for excellence, those that are not and the commonalities of both camps. How about it SAP? :)
  • Posted on: 10/29/2018

    What if artificial intelligence is biased?

    Beautifully stated Nikki. As always.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2018

    Can Brandless deliver on its lofty goals in a pop-up?

    Brandless is a fantastic concept. They know who they are, who they're for and how to serve them. The products are fantastic and the price point is superbly simply. I've always thought they just needed more exposure and some addiction-worthy exclusive items. This is a fantastic way to get more people in their ecosystem, I just wish it was in Atlanta too!
  • Posted on: 10/29/2018

    Stores find that kids can be scarier than a bull in a china shop

    We worked on a project where we built a spot in the store for customers to ask a designated employee questions, get on a computer to do some research and maybe even dig for inspiration. We ensured that the kids were kept busy by creating a few digital children’s games on adjacent screens. I kid you not, people started leaving their children in the area and taking off to shop solo—and this is a BIG STORE. Point is people often should know better, but they either don’t or don’t care. As a retail strategist and a parent, I’m all about purposeful distraction tools—it’s a very important piece of the customer experience strategy if kids are often in tow in your stores. Done right, it can actually be a huge lure--for both parents and kids. However, if nothing is working and things are truly getting out of control, intervention is important. Parents that know better and care DO control their children—or leave until they can be controlled. Those that don’t are very likely not the ones you would consider great customers anyway—and they’re chasing away the ones that are.
  • 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.

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