Lab Notes

  • 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.

  • behind_the_scenes_02

    We wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at the folks that are driving the next generation of shopping innovation – here at Westfield Labs. In our new “Behind the scene ” series, we’ll introduce you to the talented, smart and just plain awesome members of our team. To kick-off the series, today we’ve invited Alex Wong, Director of Product Marketing (@alexkaiwong) to give us an insider’s look into his typical day at Labs, why he loves it and what inspires him.Alex Wong, Director of Product Marketing

    Q. Why did you join Westfield Labs? What was the path that brought you here?
    A. Believe it or not, I started as an intern at Westfield in 2006. I was interested in marketing, and digital marketing especially piqued my interest. Remember, this was 2006 – Facebook was still brand new! – and not a lot of companies were embracing digital marketing quite yet. Westfield was on the cutting edge and it was exciting to get my foot in the door.

    Over the next few years, I worked at three different Westfield properties in Connecticut, and then landed at the corporate headquarters in LA working as part of the digital marketing group. As digital and social and mobile became bigger and bigger players in the marketing space, the idea of Westfield Labs started to take shape, and about a year ago I found myself moving San Francisco, the heart of the industry, to help bring Labs to life.

    Q. What would we find you doing at 10 a.m. on a typical work day?
    A. I try to take time every day to read up on the news and keep my finger on the pulse of the tech and retail industries. TechCrunch is one of my go-to sites because they report on what’s brand new in the tech space.

    Right now, I’m working on a top secret project (stay tuned for more info soon!), a global publishing platform for our centers, and an analytics dashboard, so I’d also likely be diving into any one of these projects.

    Q. What are some of the things you love about Westfield Labs
    A. People that work here are truly specialists in their field, so you can learn something from everyone and each of us has something unique and important to contribute. We live by the “Work Hard, Play Hard” mentality here at Westfield Labs and everyone has the chance to raise their hand and find a place to shine. I’ve been given so many great opportunities to try out new things and take risks.

    Q. Where do you draw inspiration from when solving for the new retail world?
    A. Westfield Labs is based on the 4th floor of Westfield San Francisco Shopping Centre, so our customers are right outside our door. When I really want to know, “what is driving consumer behavior,” I just head out into the mall and talk to the actual customers – no one knows what drives a shopper or what they really want better than the shoppers themselves.

    Q. What are your insider recs on places to shop, eat and/or relax at the mall?
    A. I head downstairs to the Food Emporium or Restaurants Under the Dome almost every day for lunch. I really love the variety and that I can keep it fresh and interesting every day. In terms of insider recs I would say, learn your elevators! There are so many here in the mall and some only go to certain floors or bring you into certain stores (Stay tuned for a new service from Westfield Labs that will help with this).

    Q. What is the hardest challenge you find in developing retail/shopping technologies?
    A. Our biggest challenge – and the reason why Westfield Labs exists – is finding a way to bridge all the different Westfield properties and platforms worldwide to create a unified seamless experience. Westfield doesn’t want to be just another landlord to retailers – we want to create an experience that you get online and in-store no matter where or how you shop. Creating that unified point of view can be challenging, but I think we are leaps and bounds ahead of others in the industry and I’m proud to be a part of it.

    Q. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
    A. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and reach for your goals! Take risks, try something different, go after what you want – you’ll be surprised how receptive people are when you take a stand and go after what you want.

  • linds_banner

    Convenience is one of the most important factors in providing customers with a great shopping experience. Today in partnership with Deliv, Westfield Labs is launching a same-day delivery pilot at our Century City (Los Angeles, CA) and Valley Fair (Santa Clara, CA) shopping centres, giving people the option to have their items delivered to wherever they need even to their car.

    Today’s shoppers are more tech-savvy than ever and they are looking for on-demand services to enhance their shopping experience. For Westfield Labs, this is a great opportunity to empower the retail ecosystem by converging a new digital technology into physical environments and offering a new delivery option that makes shopping even more convenient. For retailers, we’re providing a delivery infrastructure that enables them to offer a cost effective and flexible same-day delivery option to customers. The technology is also scalable and can support multiple tenants together in a single delivery system.

    How It Works:
    1) Shoppers Request Delivery: At the register, shoppers let participating retailers know they want to participate in the hands-free delivery service and leave their purchased items at the store. Through Deliv’s enterprise software retailers can easily book the shopper’s shipping request at the point of sale.

    2) Shoppers Pick Their Delivery Option: Shoppers have the ability to have their purchased items delivered locally to their home or another chosen local destination for a Westfield flat rate of $5. If shoppers parked with Valet, they can conveniently have their bags delivered to their valet parked car for free while they continue to shop.

    3) Same-Day Delivery: All items are delivered same-day to the local destination of choice using fully insured crowdsourcing delivery drivers in as little as two hours. Delivery is supported up to 12 miles from the shopping center.

    The same-day delivery service is available to shoppers today through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. If you’ll be shopping at Century City or Valley Fair, try out our new same-day delivery service for truly hands-free shopping!

    Here is a link to The Wall Street Journal article.

  • digitalStorefronts_blogMasthead

    Today in partnership with eBay Inc., we’re unveiling three digital storefronts for Sony, TOMS and Rebecca Minkoff at Westfield San Francisco Centre, right outside our office windows. This first partnership pilot from Westfield Labs converges the best of retail and technology for an innovative shopping experience. With the ubiquity of mobile and social technology, consumers’ expectations for retail environments have changed. Today, we’re offering a new way to shop that unites the power of mobile and online shopping with the physical world.

    Just in time for the holiday season, shoppers will be able to touch and interact with the digital storefronts to select and purchase over 100 products from Sony, TOMS and Rebecca Minkoff. The holidays can be hectic so we’re providing flexible delivery options including free home delivery and convenient pick-up at the Sony Gallery located on the second level. The three digital storefronts are located on the fourth floor of Westfield San Francisco Centre from Nov. 20 – Jan. 12. If you’re in the area, come by and check them out!

    Our Global Chief Digital Officer, Kevin McKenzie and SVP of Product Management, Erik Kokkonen share their thoughts on this exciting partnership. Check out the video below.

    Also, stay tuned for a video that showcases the digital storefront experience.

  • Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 10.23.05 AM

    Westfield today announced the release of its new digital innovation, the Searchable Mall, the first product launch in its global digital roadmap. The full press release and product video can be found here.

    Working with Australia’s leading retailers, the Searchable Mall found at www.westfield.com.au evolves Westfield’s digital strategy from an e-commerce site to an online destination which helps shoppers find what they want in their local Westfield shopping centre and helps them buy their way – either in-store or online.

    “The Searchable Mall is the first of many global digital initiatives, enabled by Westfield Labs, which embraces the use of technology to better connect the digital shopper with our physical shopping malls,” said Steven Lowy, Co-CEO, Westfield Group.

    “After launching Westfield Labs in San Francisco in 2012, all Westfield markets – Australia, NZ, UK and USA – have been working on developing digital innovations that leverage technologies to create new physical retail experiences for the digital shopper.

    The Searchable Mall’s first release will include over 97,000 fashion and beauty products from Australia’s leading retailers such as David Jones, Country Road, Cue, Cotton On, Betts, Sass and Bide, General Pants, Glue, Katies, Supre, Diva, Pumpkin Patch, Jeanswest, Tarocash, Sportscraft, Alannah Hill, Oxford, Bras n Things, David Lawrence and many more.

    The first release of the Westfield Australia Searchable Mall will take place nationally on 18 November 2013, with more releases and upgraded functionality to take place in 2014. More global announcements will be taking place in the near future. Stay tuned!

  • Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 4.42.37 PM

    Today Westfield Labs celebrates its one year anniversary! As is the case with most anniversaries, it’s time for reflection, recognition, and of course, celebration! So to help us do just this, we invited our neighbors here at the Westfield centre in San Francisco to our digs for a small party. Cake, adult beverages and a few competitive games highlighted the evening.

    We also want to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have supported us over the course of the last 12 months and have contributed to making our first year so successful. From the start, our passion and cause has been focused around finding new ways to converge the digital shopper with our physical centers. We will continue this charge and we are committed to doing it with as much conviction and enjoyment as we did over the last year. To all our supporters, thank you!

  • Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 12.08.51 PM

    Sports are often the defining quality of nations. Canada has Hockey. America has Baseball. And here at Westfield Labs, we have… PING PONG. A shared passion by our staff, it’s a pastime we take great pride in. With our office tournament getting underway, enemies will become allies, friends will become foes, and scores will be settled. All in good fun, of course.

    The competitive spirit is spread throughout our diverse staff: the various nations our employees hail from make this an international tournament. France, Brazil, and Australia are just a few of the represented countries, and we’re sure to see century old rivalries manifest themselves here. Rumor has it you can identify a nation by their serve, but we have yet to confirm that. And while we’re providing the victorious team with a trophy, the true prize here will be bragging rights. Sweet, undeniable, bragging rights.

    At the end of the day, we see playing hard as a direct byproduct of working hard. As in all aspects of life, balance is key, and we feel that we effectively embrace and display this philosophy here at Westfield Labs. And if you think you have what it takes to challenge us, stop by and bring a paddle…

  • Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 12.38.55 PM

    It’s been two months since we’ve moved into our new headquarters, and we’ve been quickly adapting to our new surroundings. Being located in a Westfield Centre, especially one that is in the heart of downtown San Francisco, is a a valuable asset to our cause. We moved in with the intention of being completely immersed with the Westfield shoppers in the future home of our products; what better place to test and incubate our innovations than the environment that inspires them?

    While our proximity to our shoppers was what initially led us here, a variety of other factors have kept our stay enjoyable and exciting. Being in close proximity to a large number of retailers is convenient for a multitude of reasons, one being personal shopping necessities. Grabbing that last minute gift for Mom isn’t as stressful if the stores are within arm’s reach! We also have access to a vast variety of delectable dining choices between the SF Centre Food Emporium and the restaurant collection Under the Dome. From La Boulange to Coriander Gourmet Thai, these food options have kept our lunch consistently interesting and delicious. And they just may have contributed to our very own “Freshman 15”.

    Amongst what you would expect to be average mall ongoings, we’ve also had a variety of unexpected experiences. As we are in a space with large windows visible to the public, we’ve had everything from curious moviegoers to lost shoppers observing us through the glass, and in some cases coming to check us out in person. It’s not an uncommon instance to look out of our windows and see a group of tourists staring right back at you from an escalator! Sometimes we feel like celebrities being watched by the paparazzi… all in all, these occurrences can spice up our day and bring some lighthearted amusement to the office.

    We’re certain that we’ll continue to discover the other perks and quirks of our location as our stay here continues; until then, we’ll see you through the glass!

    More office photos can be found here.

  • Header-1

    This past week, our Westfield Labs headquarters moved into a new office and began calling it home. Situated right inside Westfield San Francisco Centre, the broad windows of our new space look out to the shopping center, where we can constantly engage with our shoppers. We’re not only near some of the best startups in San Francisco, but we’re also now fully immersed in the shopping environment.

    Just as we did with our old space, we’ve begun personalizing our bright, new lab to continue fostering creativity and collaboration. We’re decorating our walls with glass whiteboards, fun photos, art and creative inspiration; our themed conference rooms are filled with beanbags; we have music playing throughout the day, and our kitchen is fully stocked from our coffee bar to our beer fridge. And while the graffiti wall wasn’t able to make the move with us, the ping pong table definitely did!

    This expansion complements our growing team as we continue to have more talented and passionate team players coming aboard. As a team, we look forward to hosting more meetings and events in our brand new space.

    Come visit us and see the new lab for yourself. We’ll have more pictures coming soon!