Many brands approached the recent disruption in retail as an opportunity to make strategic changes that help them better meet their customers’ needs for deeper experiences, personal connections, and instant gratification. As we move forward, we continue to see brands leaning into tools and tactics enabling them to remain relevant, and that provide elevated offerings and more engaging connectivity.
In the Winter/Spring Retail Trends Update, we take a look at how some of the trends we identified in our annual Now, New, Next retail trends report have evolved, driving the retail landscape forward.
1. Brick-and-mortar makeovers: Tailoring the store environment to meet customers’ needs.
From creating local neighborhood gathering spaces to offering opportunities for inspiration and self-expression, brands are re-imagining their store environments to better meet their customers’ needs.
- With a goal to create seamless experiences across all of their channels, DSW is launching a new store format that allows the brand to better leverage stores as distribution centers. The design visually leans into the warehouse concept, while highlighting a curated product selection intended to inspire self-expression.
2. Elevated experiences through enhanced technologies: New tools offer deeper engagement.
From functional self-service conveniences to highly engaging interactive experiences, brands are adopting innovative technology solutions that create a better customer experience across all channels.
- In order to make the pickup, drop-off, and exchange processes more efficient for customers, Rent the Runway will be launching self-scanning kiosks in their brick-and-mortar locations. The move also frees up their stylists and service associates to spend more time assisting customers with their selections.
3. Customer-controlled delivery: Choice, flexibility, and exceptional service.
Brands are giving customers more control over how and when to receive their goods. Elevated buy-online, pick-up-in-store services, new same-day delivery options, and high-touch services meet customers’ needs for convenience and efficiency as well as providing opportunities to add a wow factor to the service experience.
- As shoppers seek convenience and efficiency, Williams Sonoma launched their new buy-online, pick-up-in-store service. Raising the bar on the typical experience, the brand also offers value-added services like a free giftwrapping option and email notification when the order is prepared.
4. Curated collections and services: New offerings bring surprise and delight.
Whether deepening relationships with die-hard brand fans or finding new avenues to reach customers, subscription services bring a level of excitement and engagement to the customer experience.
- JCPenney launched a subscription service targeted to their Big & Tall audience, a group which frequently engages with the brand online. Done in partnership with men’s apparel subscription service Bombfell, users submit questionnaires and live stylists make the selections. A preview email is sent to the customer, allowing the customer to make adjustments prior to shipping.
For more on these trends, check out the full 2018 Now, New, Next report.