Now, New, Next: Retailers focusing on creating deeper customer connections
Forward thinking brands are adapting to the ever-changing retail landscape by developing longer-term strategies designed to make lasting customer connections and drive meaningful value.
In this Summer Trends Quarterly Update, we take a look at how some of the trends we identified in our annual Now, New, Next retail trends report have evolved, and how retailers are leveraging new tactics to get closer to their customers.
1. Compelling Collaborations: Unexpected partnerships yield exceptional results
Brands continue to collaborate in new and exciting ways. These partnerships go beyond simple marketing efforts to drive deep value for customers and retailers alike, creating something completely new that otherwise would not have been possible.
In response to popular craft projects trending on social media, Pinterest partnered with Michael’s to launch “Make It” kits that contain everything you need to create a craft project. As a benefit for their loyalty program members, Michael’s Rewards members were offered early access to the kits online.
2. Members Only: Tapping into customer loyalty
Brands are experimenting with new ways to foster customer loyalty, looking at fresh opportunities to create more meaningful benefits for customers. By putting the customer at the center of their strategies, brands are finding new ways to foster brand affinity.
L’Oréal launched a new program that makes it easy for customers to earn points by linking their existing retailer loyalty cards to “Worth It Rewards,” enabling automatic points collection anywhere their products are purchased. Points can be redeemed or donated to L’Oréal’s Women of Worth program.
3. Inside the Box: In-store test and learn
Retailers continue to experiment in store formats, testing new ways of maximizing their stores’ physicality. Advances in technology have enabled innovation in store formats, with growth in consumer adoption in the mobile-order-ahead space and other areas.
Hoping to ease congestion found in their traditional stores, Starbucks is testing a new mobile-order-only store format. The pilot store is designed differently, featuring a prominent pick-up window and a view of the baristas crafting the orders.
4. Immersive Encounters: Creating deeper connections via unique experiences
Brands continue to invest in elevated experiences to deepen connections with customers. From engaging flagship offerings to exclusive VIP moments, brands are exploring compelling interactions and experiences that offer surprise and delight.
Yeti, the premium cooler, drinkware and gear brand, launched an 8,000 sq. ft. flagship store that seeks to immerse guests in an rustic outdoor experience via an indoor/outdoor bar, product customization counter, and a stage for live events.
5. Social Rebooted: Creating lasting customer connections
Social media continues to play a critical role in how brands reach and engage key audiences. Successful brands are maintaining the balance between their voice and the needs of the platform, resulting in authentic, two-way communication that fosters deeper relationships with their customers.
Gucci has been successful at reaching younger customers via social media, maintaining a balance between the informal tone of the platform and the integrity of the brand. Turning to social channels to launch a new line of watches, the brand leveraged a highly visual meme campaign that reached over 120 million viewers.
6. Rise of the Machine: Artificial intelligence driving powerful experiences
Brands continue to explore the power of artificial intelligence, using advanced cognitive capabilities to solve complex customer needs. As customers get more comfortable interacting with the technology, retailers are deploying new capabilities that support their human counterparts.
Cosabella is leveraging an AI platform dubbed “Albert” to autonomously manage their digital ad and marketing efforts. Albert’s efforts have paid off, bringing a 336% return on ad spend and 155% increase in revenue.
For more on these trends, access the full 2017 Now, New, Next report.