Welcome to a new format of insights from Digital Cadre - the Cadre Communique!

Our goal is to provide a weekly highlights list to capture retailers and digital practitioners that are executing well and leading the way with innovative thinking. Subscribe below to receive the Cadre Communique packed with the trends and insights that matter most in your inbox.

Retailers are turning up their versions of retail theatre to lure customers away from their phones and get some IRL experiences...

'Shoppertainment': How department stores are becoming 'theatres of dreams'

"We are the controllers of the funfair, of the rabbit hole ... of the dreams," cries an eccentrically costumed showman as a three-dimensional kaleidoscope whirls into life. The ride is one of the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland-themed theatrical "experiences" designed to inject some pizzazz into the opening of Westgate Oxford, the £440m shopping centre that has replaced the city's rundown 1970s scheme.

A great case study of how ING bank have approached the agile transformation of their group headquarters in the Netherlands (comprising 3,500 staff). Includes a nice summary video and 9 key takeaways, including my favourite of focussing as much on getting the culture right as the structure, and spending a lot of time and energy focused on role modelling the right behaviours (customer-centricity, empowerment, ownership) to support change.

Agile Transformation at ING - A Case Study - Building The Agile Business - Medium

When I speak to leadership teams or consult on agile transformation with corporates I'm always keen to stress that there is never one all-purpose solution to what a successful digital transformation looks like.

Are big brands dying? Have small/ niche brands been given an advantage with the advent of eCommerce and digital media? This is an insightful report from the University of South Australia with detailed analysis, scientific research (!) and examples on the value of brands (with an emphasis on consumer goods)

TL;DR version - the notion that large brands are dying is simply not true. Nor has the world fundamentally changed in a way that favours small brands over big.

Are Big Brands Dying? | Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science

By Professor Byron Sharp, Professor Magda Nenycz-Thiel, James Martin, Zac Anesbury & Professor Bruce McColl Download PDF Fact or fiction? Big brands pay the salaries and provide investment returns for many millions of people via pension funds. So if anyone declares that big brands are dying they receive a great deal of attention.

Scott Galloway from NYU regularly talks about Amazon's ability to perform Jedi mind tricks to destroy another company just by thinking about it and creating a press release. This analysis highlights how department stores and big box retailers know what will entice online customers into physical stores (services, events, click and collect), however few promote those services online effectively. Physical stores are a vital asset.

Retailers are missing opportunities to win against Amazon

Physical stores offer experiences and services that online-only retailers can't, such as personal shopping and events. So it's odd that a lot of brick-and-mortar retailers fail to do the one thing Amazon can't: advertise the benefit of shopping in a physical store to their online customers and incentivize customers to visit.

Ivyrevel - the online only brand selling to 80 countries and growing at 50-100% per month (all mobile driven) is a great example of a brand leveraging social media and mobile to stay in tune and connected with it's influential audience. They grasp the intersection of technology and apparel, as evidenced by Coded Couture, an app leveraging shopper data to produce a one-of-a-kind dress reflecting personal lifestyle and tastes.

Ivyrevel, The World's First 'Digital Fashion House' | Salesforce Commerce Cloud Blog

There aren't many fashion retailers whose moves make news in Women's Wear Daily as well as TechCrunch. Yet that's the story of retail trailblazer Ivyrevel, which bills itself as a "digital fashion house" tailored for a digital native generation.

“undifferentiated, mediocre retail won’t survive.” Discuss...

Nike turns its back on 'undifferentiated, mediocre' retailers - RetailWire

Discussion Nike plans to put its eggs in fewer baskets going forward. The athletic wear brand announced yesterday a plan to focus its organizational resources going forward on 40 key retail partners and its own consumer direct efforts while pulling back from "undifferentiated" channels of distribution.