Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Foot Locker Opens Premium Retail Store for Women

As a female I have become accustomed to walking into athlete destinations like Finish Line and Champs to find a meager selection of women's shoes and apparel hidden in the back corner of the store. And though niche brands like Lululemon have latched on to the burgeoning female athletic population, there still exists no one-stop-shop for females of multiple athletic disciplines...until now. It looks like Footlocker has become the first athletic company to offer an elevated retail experience devoted entirely to women.

This holiday season, three new stores in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Texas open their doors to female athletes. The retail concept is called SIX:02, and it will be the first to offer females a wide variety of top athletic brands (such as Nike, adidas, ASICS, and Under Armour) in an environment created specifically for them. SIX:02 features dedicated fitting zones, comfortable lounge areas and knowledgeable staff to assist customers in finding the correct fitness pants, sports bras, tops, and footwear for their specific body type, activity, and style. Women will also be inspired throughout their shopping experience with relevant imagery, verbiage, and music within the store.

According to Stacy Cunningham, EVP of Marketing at Foot Locker, the project stems from the idea that today's woman "deserves a place to find premium fitness and athletic gear that allows her to combine her personal style and versatility with performance features." Footlocker has long been a proponent of enhancing the shopping experience for athletic women (read: Lady Footlocker) and now they've taken the idea to an entirely new level.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Timberland Footwear Embraces Gore-Tex Technology

This winter, Timberland has joined the ranks of outdoor brands working with Gore-Tex to provide  customers with a quality waterproof lining in their favorite Timberland products. Gore-Tex technology is now available in Timberland's winter hiking boots such as the Gannon Mid Hiker and Washington Summit Mid, as well as day wear items like the Traditional Handsen Oxford.

For those that aren't privy to Gore-Tex's flagship technology, the brand offers an internal, permeable waterproof membrane that keeps feet dry and protected, but also allows moisture vapor from sweat to pass through to prevent leaks.

Gore-tex technology is also available in other outerwear and footwear products from brands like Under Armour, Vasque, The North Face, Salomon, Patagonia, Nike, Marmot, Merrell, L.L. Bean, and Garmont. Of these, however, Timberland arguably offers the strongest blend of high quality outdoor gear and high fashion apparel on par with current trends. Timberland's adoption of Gore-tex reflects the increasing consumer need for hybrid gear that can perform both out in the elements and on the street.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Instagram Moves to the Web

Instagram announced on Monday that it will begin rolling out online profiles for its users this week, a group that now tops over 100 million. The new web feature showcases a selection of the user's recently shared photos in what looks like a more dynamic version of the Facebook cover photo, perhaps the first subtle integration we've seen of the two platforms since since the Facebook acquisition several months ago.

The online profile incorporates all functions provided by the mobile platform, and easily enables the user to follow other users, comment and like photos, and edit their profile from their desktop. It's also a simpler way to discover and connect with new users, given that it's now possible to post your Instagram profile on Facebook and Twitter and share your photos with a wider audience.

Which of course, is good news for brands. The new web profile provides yet another platform on which to drive online traffic and invite user engagement. Community managers can manage their Instagram community right from a computer and seamlessly integrate it with other profiles on Facebook and Twitter.