Experiential retail is hot right now and it's not just fashion and beauty brands leading the way. A plethora of companies are announcing pop-up stores to capitalize on a full-sensory experience. There are the tech companies (Facebook at Macy's, Google pop-up), the lifestyle brands like Goop, e-commerce companies like Casper, even communities like HeyMama are getting in the retail game.
As the year comes to an end, retailers will take a look back and reflect on wins, losses, and surprises. Then, they’ll turn to the new year: How can they use those learnings to inform a strategy that focuses on where the marketplace is going? Here are our predictions for what will be huge in retail for 2019.
Successful retail brands stay relevant and grow by clearly showcasing how their products fit into a consumers' lifestyle. They tell their brand stories through strong content and insight which can drive commerce and create lifelong, loyal customers. This was the main topic of conversation during Advertising Week in New York City where KWI’s Chief Customer Officer Frank Weil moderated a thought-provoking and lively panel with Lindsay Bressler, VP Strategy of Hatch Collection (and a KWI client), Sean Dollinger, CEO, President and Co-Founder of Namaste Technologies, YinYin Gao, Senior Product Director at Tencent Smart Retail and Geoff Schiller, Chief Revenue Officer at PopSugar
I recently had the honor of moderating a session at the NRF Shop.org Conference in Las Vegas about how content can amplify commerce. Joining me onstage was Tushar Adya, President and COO of Dylan’s Candy Bar, Lexi Cross, Co-Founder of Shoes of NYC, and Geoff Schiller, Chief Revenue Officer of PopSugar. Together, we discussed how these great brands use content and storytelling to keep customers engaged and loyal, while providing them with a unique retail experience that only their brand can deliver. We had a powerful discussion about what works, what doesn’t, and how publishers and retailers alike use content as a value add. Here are a few keys takeaways:
Customer satisfaction and the customer experience has quickly emerged as the primary metric of success for retailers. Investing in new technology, staying abreast of fashion trends, and creating in-store experiences are all smart strategies, but the best brands always come back to the Why. Why are you investing in new technology? (To make the shopping and checkout experience better, easier, and faster for your customers.) Why are you mindful of trends (to keep your customers interested.) Why are you offering yoga classes in your stores (to entice your customer to open the door). The answer is always about the customer experience.
Having a state-of-the-art unified commerce and mobile POS system is crucial to compete in today’s retail market. Is your infrastructure ready to support it? A strong, reliable network (with cutting-edge monitoring, dynamic channel management, traffic shaping, and more) make all the difference in the consumer experience and whether or not you’ve earned a repeat visit and their loyalty.
Market analysts tend to proselytize about the state of retail and how Amazon is killing our business as we know it. And while there is some truth to that, that’s not the headline most insiders would use. The industry is full of highs and lows right now—yes, some traditional box stores are going out of business, but there are also exciting partnerships developing and innovative new companies popping up. As with any business, competition, evolving customer habits, and new technology can be a challenge. After talking with our clients here’s what they told us the biggest issues in retail are right now.