PROFILE

Laura Davis-Taylor

Chief Strategy Officer, InReality

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 and analytics.

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, an executive board member of the Digital Signage Federation 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.

To learn more, visit: inreality.com

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  • Posted on: 06/05/2020

    The face mask rule is now simply a suggestion at some H-E-B stores

    I'm with you Al. I came down to Florida from Atlanta a week ago and am blown away by how few people are wearing masks inside of retail stores -- maybe 30 percent. I read today that yesterday was the highest number of cases in Florida to date. I'm sure many things are behind this, but there's a general laissez faire feeling in the air. The question is who is on point to correct it? If state and federal mandates hit, the retailer wouldn't have to make hard choices--particularly when to wear or not to wear has become a political statement. Sigh.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2020

    Should Amazon, Walmart, others be held liable for workers sickened by COVID-19?

    I'm with Jeff here. I’m steeped in this topic due to the products we’ve been bringing to market, so my opinion is informed by a lot of time in the trenches digging into it. Gary Kibel of Davis & Gilbert helped me get my arms around this best, as he’s become a key voice on the topic from a legal perspective. He also warned our team about this legislation on the table. Where I personally ended up is that no, there are too many unknowns to be able to hold them 100 percent accountable. However, and this is the BIG CAVEAT, this should hold true only if they have put reasonable processes and systems in place that meet reasonable safety expectations of the workers. As in, they have preventative measures and processes that at least try to stop any transmission. Perfection is not the goal — reasonable attempt is. To do this however, we must first clear up the murky guidelines out there. The CDC has them, but we see the industry supplementing them with their own tools and processes — and wow is it schizophrenic. We have those going above and beyond and those that do little more than tape on the floor. No worker should have to go into a job to support themselves or their family in an environment where the employer is not held accountable to ensure—to the best that they can—that the environment is safe. As long as they have things in place that do this as best as possible, they should not be held accountable in court. If they do nothing, however, I do believe that they should be. The support tools are out there, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to use them.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Do retailers need to go beyond ‘reopening playbooks’?

    I agree, and the jury is still out. One thing I believe strongly is that the concern is not if the store is safe ... it's if the store is taking measures to protect them from the other shoppers that don't care about the health and wellness of others, thereby bringing safety concerns with them as they leave their mark on the store environment. And let's be real, that was a thing before COVID--it's just that now it has more dire consequences. Like everything else in relation to retail stores, the CX designed around this is key. Part of that is ensuring that shoppers know that a safety protocol is a secured safety measure, not just an operational process box check. Optics go both ways.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Can outdoor dining save restaurants?

    Like so many solutions they are experimenting with, this is an arrow in the quiver. If the location is suited for it, great. Is it a standalone fix? Nope. They still need more delivery, BOPIS/curbside pickup, family meal solutions and other such supplemental strategies. I just came to Florida from Atlanta and almost every restaurant is doing a combo of BOPIS, curbside and outdoor dining. In a nice climate with the space, it works really well. But it's not a saving grace by any stretch.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Lowe’s ‘virtually’ goes on the job for home improvement pros

    Love, love, LOVE this. My plumber charges $75 just to come to my house. We had him over last week and didn't love the idea, as we weren't sure if he would be using a mask or not. I'm sure he wasn't thrilled to either. This is a huge value-add for the Lowe's pro customers, and as competitive as that race is, kudos to them for creating such a hugely valuable enabling platform.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Is it safe to bring back food sampling?

    I'm in your camp Dave. In this new normal, I fear that we're attempting to loosen the protocols too quickly--which may be a dangerous experiment. Yes, it needs to happen eventually. But can't we wait until more facts are out there and err towards extreme caution? Having been steeped in this "safety perception" topic, it really is other shoppers that people are wary of--at least the small percentage that don't care about others. Can we trust all involved to do this safely? Hmmm.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Retail ensnared in nationwide protests

    These retailers have power, both individually and together. They can wield that power to influence real action AND create a precedence for others to follow. I'm thrilled to see our BrainTrust united in this sentiment.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    Peter, what's really interesting is to see what the small mom and pops are doing. Unburdened by policy, they're just doing what their gut steers them to do...and I'm seeing some really interesting signage and procedures. Most, I might say, are telling folks to wear a mask to shop.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    Brian, that would be a fabulous research report to share...
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    Lee, I am so with you. I spent the entire weekend here in Atlanta perusing stores and was blown away by how many people were not wearing masks or respecting the space of others. Target did a great job with their protocol, but a mom with three kids--all with no masks--were running around yelling and coughing. No amount of store process made me feel safe because of her--she clearly didn't care about others, and I wanted the store to protect me from people like her by mandating masks. A new friend pointed out something around this topic this morning, which is that he feels that 'to mask or not to mask' has become a political statement of sorts, which makes this issue a bit complicated. To me, it doesn't matter. It's precautionary, and it should be safety versus politics. Thanks for weighing in.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2020

    Should Apple and other stores require shopper temperature checks?

    We actually do Paula, we just created one--it takes a contactless temp scan in less than 1 second.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2020

    Should Apple and other stores require shopper temperature checks?

    I'm steeped in this topic, as my company recently sprinted into creating a solution to automate the process. Having spent the weekend perusing retailers in the open-for-business state of Georgia, I was very alarmed by the polarized approaches the various retailers are taking. Some were very diligent, but fell down in key areas. Many associates were walking around with masks pulled down and quickly pulling them up when a customer was nearby. I even witnessed a full-blown argument between a customer and an employee who refused to pull his up as he engaged with her --and this in the store of a top-three grocery brand. A mother in Target was running around with three children in a kid cart, none masked and all appearing less than healthy. A smoothie retailer had associate masks required, but no hand sanitizer or gloves and only full contact payment. When I questioned them, they said that many patrons were coming in with no masks on and they felt unsafe. From all the due diligence I've been steeped in around this topic, the key takeaway is trust. There will be a certain percentage of people that don't care about the well being of others and will do what they want -- both fellow shoppers and employees. We have to create diligent protocols to protect others from them and while temperature screening is not foolproof, it is a peace-of-mind measure that creates a very positive perception. Just like taking our shoes off to get screened at the airport is. What will be interesting is to see what falls out from a Legal and HR perspective. It is, however, HIPAA approved to do.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2020

    New marketing analytics for a new COVID-19 reality

    I must say, this is one of the most important conversations I've seen in relation to the COVID conversation. I just shared it on LinkedIn and challenged retailers to schedule a team deep dive on the topic and really dig into the many compelling points you all are making. While I live in the world of store/venue analytics, I'm tracking every point you raise while asking myself how the store behavior lens of fit into this larger view. Further, how new metrics play a role--we have anonymous data on temp scans, results, occupancy levels and more. We can tie them to key experience points that are using new technologies and CX experiments. This can tie to anonymous sentiment analytics as well as very general demographics. All of this matters as well! As Jamie shares, we're really looking at a reboot here. As Cynthia so cogently stated, it's going to require marketers to really think and quit hiding behind old models and machines. Joel, I'd LOVE to see you all get on a webcast and dive into this further.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2020

    How should stores reopen?

    I'm working with a team on a "from the trenches POV" of this topic right now, and some really great points have emerged. #1 is that perception IS reality right now, and when facts are murky, even the smallest precautions can make a difference. We're certainly experiencing a lot of excitement around solutions like contactless fever screening, hand sanitizer stations, automatic occupancy sensors and more. Regardless, I think HR and Legal should be behind ALL of this. They shut us down (wisely) -- and they should be the ones behind when and how we open back up, with processes and precautions firmly in place.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2020

    How should stores reopen?

    Looking forward to reading that Cathy, thanks for posting that it's coming.

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