Lab Notes

  • behind_the_scenes_02

    In today’s edition of Behind the Scenes we meet our first female guest, Courtney Lapin, senior manager of retail partnerships. Her career path has taken her from the fashion world, to the startup world, and now to Westfield Labs somewhere perfectly in-between the two, and while she never imagined this is where she would wind up, she couldn’t love her Westfield Labs family more!

    Courtney Lapin

    How did you find yourself working at Westfield Labs?
    I started my career working in the fashion industry in NYC – and I LOVED it. A few years ago, my then boyfriend, and now husband, got a job in San Francisco and I found myself relocating from the fashion capital of the country to the tech capital of the country – and I did not love it. I started working at a startup called CoffeeTable, which was a mobile app that allowed people to shop from catalogs as if they were on brand’s websites (something pretty revolutionary at the time,) which was my first taste of the e-commerce world, and despite my aversion to the tech world, I really loved my job and loved the idea of using technology to shop. I realized that technology is vital to retail because retail is changing. I was put in touch with Westfield Labs right as they were getting started about a year and half ago, and the rest is history!

    What do you love about being a part of Westfield Labs?
    My favorite thing about my job is the people I work with. I have never worked somewhere where the camaraderie and culture is so warm, welcoming and jovial! We eat a family-style lunch together once a week, and when people are finished eating and start to get up, I say, “No! Sit back down!” We just have such a good time together. It’s been really cool to see the company grow too. When I started there were only 35 of us and now we’re close to double that and still growing!

    What would we find you doing at 10 a.m. on a typical work day?

    Probably instilling some words of wisdom on my next-cube-neighbor Arthur. I never thought that I would be the one with some experience under my belt giving guidance to my less-seasoned co-workers and letting them know that everything WILL be alright!

    Aside from that, you’ll likely find me meeting with retailers or working with our Westfield Labs product teams. My role is really to serve as a liaison between the teams internally and the retailers who operate in our Westfield shopping centers. My main focus is trying to identify the best ways to implement our products into the existing business operations of our retail partners and in doing so, help them progress with us into the digital age of shopping and commerce. For our most recent launch of Westfield Dine on Time, I worked closely with all the food retailers in our San Francisco Centre to help implement on-demand ordering, pick-up and delivery. It was really rewarding to see our partners be able to improve their businesses and their consumer understandings through the use of our product.

    What are your insider recommendations on where to go in the mall?
    Burke Williams spa is amazing for any kind of pampering! Everyone should pamper themselves once in a while. The fact that it’s right across the hall from us doesn’t hurt either. I also love Pressed Juicery downstairs in the mall. I’m having a baby this October so I’m being extra conscious about getting all the right nutrients and they are a great one-stop shop on days when I don’t get all my fruits and vegetables in my meals.

    Last questions, is it a boy or a girl?

    It’s a boy!!

  • Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 1.58.11 PM

    We are very proud to announce that our fearless leader, Kevin McKenzie, was honored this past week with a Retail Innovator Award from Retail TouchPoints. Recognizing retail executives who are driving change through innovation in order to improve their business and the entire retail industry, Kevin and the Westfield Labs team received the award for work on recent retail innovations such as the Digital Storefronts at Garden State Plaza in New Jersey and Westfield San Francisco Centre, same-day delivery services at Century City in Los Angeles, and searchable mall in Australia.

    Kevin was among excellent company, with awards being given to executives from Warby Parker, Crate & Barrel, Sephora and Best Buy among others! Check out the other winners and learn more about the innovative strategies they implemented in 2014 here.

    A big congratulations to all the winners and cheers to even more innovation in the year ahead!

  • FFFFFF-0

    On Thursday 29th May, we held the 2nd Annual Hack Day: 36 hours for the digital team to work on ANYTHING they’d like to.  This year we added Gift Card prizes for the Best Hack idea and the best T-Shirt Design.

    The Hack Day is an opportunity to get those creative and innovative juices flowing and a chance for the team to tackle all the digital challenges that might not be a “right now” priority for the business. For some it was the chance to work on something that they normally wouldn’t, allowing them to step into different shoes for the day. Most of all, it allows the team to connect with our passion for collaboration and seeing brilliant ideas come to life.

    Westfield Hack Day 2014 team

    Labs teams from Australia and United States got together at the Westfield Sydney office

    After 36 hours of hard work, teams presented some unbelievable ideas and prototypes including an interactive tennis game using an iPhone.  Other ideas included a Bookable Change Room, 3-D Centre Maps, Yelp Reviews on www.westfield.com.au and a Live Chat Concierge … the list went on. All hackers proudly wore their t-shirts with the winning design by Dan Sim.

    Mitch Simpson’s Hack Day idea was to create a video about the Hack Day – how meta!  It does a great job capturing the mood and atmosphere during the competition.

    There could be only one Best Hack winner and that went to the ‘Live Map Way Finding’ idea by Alec Raeside & Justin Lambert. We hope to see it in production in the near future!

    Hack Day winners

    Justin Lambert and Alex Raeside took home the prize with their idea: Live Map Way Finding

  • food_app_featureimage

    Last week, we hosted a launch event for Dine on Time with our Tastemakers, local media, food influencers and San Francisco movers and shakers. We wanted to share a heartfelt “thank you” to all of our guests! It was really wonderful to see all of our Tastemaker’s exclusive dishes, and all of our Tastemakers themselves, together in one place with special bites to eat from M.Y. China, Cupola Pizzeria, LarkCreekSteak, Straits, CocoaBella Chocolates and Sorabol Korean BBQ & Asian Noodles.

    Westfield Food TastemakersAll of our lovely Tastemakers! Andi Fisher of Misadventures with Andi,  Tara Condell of Food and Other Things, Anita Chu of Dessert First, Mika Takeuchi of Food Fashionista, Melissa Sanchez of Savvy in San Francisco  and Brenda Ton of Bites & Bourbon (left to right).

    Dine On Time Launch party Under the DomeDine on Time is officially live online and in the Apple App Store! Search or scroll through your favorite eateries and order wherever, whenever you want for scheduled pick-up or convenient bike-delivery. If you’re a first time customer, use promo code TRYDOT for 10% off your first order. And, don’t forget to check out our Tastemaker secret menu items, available exclusively through Westfield Dine on Time. Enjoy!

    Dine On Time App Secret Menu Items

     

  • behind_the_scenes_02

    Welcome to the third edition of Behind the Scenes with Labs! This week we sat down with Andy Trejo, visual designer and production design manager, to hear how design plays into the work we do here at Westfield Labs. (P.S. Andy painted the skyline behind him in his picture, which is on our ping-pong room wall!)
    Labs employee, Andy Trejo


    Q. Why did you join Westfield Labs? What was the path that brought you here?

    A. I started with Westfield Labs as a freelance designer when they were just getting started in 2012. They liked my work and asked me to join the team full time. I never imagined I’d be working in the retail space, but I’ve liked it since the start!

    Q. What is the hardest challenge you find in developing retail/shopping technologies?
    A. The biggest challenge in my mind is trying to appeal and accommodate to the wide variety of customers we get in our shopping centers. We don’t want to turn off the luxury shoppers with too many bargains, but we also don’t want to intimidate the bargain shoppers either. When I’m working to design emails or work on our websites, I really have to think about finding that happy medium that makes everyone comfortable.

    Q. What are some of the things you love about Westfield Labs?

    A. Everyone is super friendly and has a great sense of humor. That kind of environment really lends itself to good creativity. On top of being funny and fun to be around, everyone is super talented! All of that combined allow us to find inspiration on a regular basis, which is one of the reasons we are so successful as a team.

    Q. What are your insider recs on places to shop, eat and/or relax at the mall?
    A. If you want to catch some sunshine, the Sky Terrace, an outdoor terrace on the 9th floor, is a great place to check out. Not too many people know about it, and it’s a little hard to find – there are no signs and only one special elevator takes you there – so it makes it a perfect place to step away and clear my mind. My other tip is to check out Café Bellini before 11 a.m. when they have a coffee version of “happy hour” and you can get a cup of coffee for next to nothing!

    Q. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

    A. Believe in yourself and your work. There was a time early on when I was feeling a little hesitant and insecure, and someone told me, “They hired you for a reason!” Since then, I’ve learned to have confidence in my work and trust my talents.

  • food_app_featureimage

    Last week, we told you that our team had a solution for the meal time rush at our Westfield San Francisco Centre. Today, we are excited to announce the launch of Westfield Dine on Time! This new food experience is being piloted in San Francisco and allows customers to order from Westfield San Francisco Centre’s Food Emporium and Restaurant Collection Under the Dome for scheduled pick-up or bike delivery for convenient dining via iPhone app, online and mobile web.

    Running short on time at work, but have a killer craving for M.Y. China? Place an order with Dine on Time and have the order delivered right to your office! Rushing home from work and don’t have the time to wait for a delicious wood-burning oven pizza from Cupola Pizzeria, but need to put a meal on the table? Order with Dine on Time and have your order ready for pick-up when you arrive at the restaurant!

    Dine on Time allows you to enjoy many of the delicious eateries in the San Francisco Centre quickly and easily without sacrificing the quality you have come to expect. Enjoy the same customization options you would have when ordering in person with easy in-app and online payment.

    Last week we also introduced six of San Francisco’s most beloved Tastemakers’s, who have partnered with us to celebrate the launch of Dine on Time. Each Tastemaker was paired with a chef or owner of one of our food retailers and they worked together to create secret menu items available exclusively to the Dine on Time app and website. Check out these delicious dishes – order and give them a try!

    Andi Fisher of Misadventures with Andi with M.Y. China, Chef Tony Wu – Lamb Shui Mai
    Mika Takeuchi of Food Fashionista with LarkCreekSteak Chef Ismael Macias – Bacon-Wrapped Mary’s Free-Range Chicken Breast
    Melissa Sanchez of Savvy in San Francisco with Cupola Pizzeria Chef Marc Tennison – ‘Nduja Pizza
    Tara Condell of Food and Other Things with Straits Chef Julian Yeo – Glazed Indonesian Chili Prawns
    Brenda Ton of Bites & Bourbon with Sorabol Korean BBQ & Asian Noodles Chef Theresa Lee – Spring Mix Noodle Salad with Shrimp
    Anita Chu of Desserts First with CocoaBella Chocolates Founder Michael Freeman – Executive Collection of Chocolates

  • tastemakers

    An advantage of having our office in the Westfield San Francisco Centre is that we get to look out our office windows and observe real visitors and their behaviors – which helps us solve for better shopping experiences.

    As the food loving San Franciscans that we are, we’ve of course observed (and indulged in) the numerous delicious eateries in the center. Whether in the mood for a leisurely lunch or quick bite to eat, San Francisco Centre has a bit of everything. However, where good food is served, lines are bound to form, and we recently took note of our visitors frustrations at meal time and got to thinking…there has to be a way to make enjoying all this great food faster and easier. And well, we’ve got the answer….

    Stay tuned for a big announcement next week! We can guarantee you that your stomach and your watch will thank us!

    In the meantime, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce six of San Francisco’s most beloved and respected Tastemakers, who will join us for our announcement next week and make an exciting (and delicious) announcement of their own!

    Andi Fisher of Misadventures with Andi
    Mika Takeuchi of Food Fashionista
    Melissa Sanchez of Savvy in San Francisco
    Tara Condell of Food and Other Things
    Brenda Ton of Bites & Bourbon
    Anita Chu of Desserts First

  • behind_the_scenes_02

    Welcome back to our second edition of Behind The Scenes! This week we’re joined by Alex Lee, Sr. Systems Engineer, Production Operations, to share a behind the scenes peek into what he does and what he loves about Westfield Labs.

    Q. What would we find you doing at 10 a.m. on a typical work day?
    A. I’m usually in a meeting, or getting coffee for a meeting from Caffe Central. My mornings are usually filled with checking in on operations and following up on emails because my day really kicks off in the afternoon when our colleagues in Sydney, Australia (where Westfield is headquartered) wake up and start their day.

    Q. What is the hardest challenge you find in developing retail/shopping technologies?
    R. Our biggest challenge is also our most intriguing, which is bringing digital technology and value to Westfield’s retailers. We’re breaking barriers when it comes to shopping and trying to find ways technology can make shopping more of an experience. Labs has been given a lot of freedom to try new things, and pilot new programs – now it’s just a matter of nailing down what works and what doesn’t.

    Q. What is your favorite retail/shopping innovation?
    A. I think the services that meet our needs for instant gratification are really interesting – from same-day delivery services like Deliv, who we launched a pilot with in December, to more experimental technologies like the Amazon Drones. Who has the patience to go shopping online and then wait a week for delivery? Not me!

    Q. What is the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
    A. Don’t let anyone tell you that something isn’t possible. Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” and I really try to remember that in both my professional and personal life. Don’t be afraid to take risks, even if you think it’s silly.

  • SXSW_feature_image

    We survived SXSW! We were excited to see the legacy event continues to bring out the ‘nerds’ in technology. Moreover, we were blown away by how many fashion retailers and brands attended, spoke, and participated. Westfield Labs co-hosted the Fashion’s Collective Brain Bar event this year, bringing together a who’s who in fashion, tech, digital and marketing. Hosted poolside at the W Hotel in downtown Austin, Westfield Labs joined Barney’s, Bergdorfs, and Mulu, (just to name a few) for drinks and great conversation.
    To showcase the SXSW #streetsytle of our guests, we worked with fashion illustrator Shelby Smith to create digital sketches of our guests’ outfits using just an iPad – the intersection of fashion and tech at its finest. Check out her amazing work below!

    We also checked out a few of the dizzying number of amazing events taking place. One of our favorite events was Decoded Fashion presented by Cusp by Neiman Marcus. Speakers from Gap, Zappos.com, Neiman Marcus, AllSaints, kate+spade and Chanel talked about the future of wearables and how fashion brands can use technology to connect with their customers and refine their brand identity.

    We also had a chance to stop by TOMS new Roasting Co. and Café. And yes, that is the same TOMS as the “One for One” brand we partnered with on a digital storefront in Westfield San Francisco Centre. At SXSW, they announced their new product line, TOMS Roasting Co. – pledging one week of clean water for someone in need in exchange for every bag of coffee purchased. Pretty cool, huh?

    We had a blast and hope to make it back to Austin and SXSW very soon!

  • New Digital Storefronts at Garden State Plaza

    Last holiday season, we piloted our first Digital Storefronts at Westfield San Francisco Centre and today we are unveiling a new form factor that brings the digital experience into the common area at Westfield Garden State Plaza in New Jersey. Bringing the best of online technology to the physical world, the new Digital Storefront offers visitors an interactive and visually stunning display of retail products from Nordstrom, Michael Kors, Ann Taylor, Maje, Sandro, Vince Camuto, Microsoft, Bose and more.

    The new Digital Storefront is like a sleek, interactive lookbook. These 7-foot tall, ultra-high definition (4k) touch-screens will allow visitors to discover new products offered by retailers at the shopping center in real time. Beautiful images will rotate on the screens, and visitors will be able to approach and engage with the displays with the touch of a finger. By scrolling, zooming and rotating through the retailer curated collections, visitors can find shopping inspiration and even display a map of exactly where individual products are found in the mall so they can go experience them first-hand.

    Stop by and check out these new displays if you can and let us know what you think! Find them on level 2 in the common area of the new Premium Fashion District of Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey.