When you think of Prime Day, you might be thinking about deals on Instant Pots and Amazon Echo devices — not half-off dresses and designer heels. But the market for apparel and accessories globally is worth more than $1 trillion, so Amazon clearly sees there’s a lot at stake here. It’s using Prime Day to tout fashion deals. And it’s also had a slew of recent initiatives and tie-ups with fashion influencers to show it’s trying to establish the site as a place to shop for more than just the basics.
The more digital the world becomes, the more importance consumers place on personal connections. Social selling, where consumers sell directly to other people within their circles, is rapidly becoming one of the most effective sales channels in retail. Buyers not only get to see and touch the products, but they also can make their purchases confident in the expertise of the friends who sell them. Consider the following retail trends and how brands can add a touch of humanity, both online and in the real world.
Online shopping sales have surpassed that of brick-and-mortar stores for the first time in US history, so it's unsurprising that discussions of how to keep customers walking through the doors of stores are at the forefront of the retail industry. However, some stores have bucked the trend, and survived changing consumer habits for hundreds of years. Take a look at the oldest stores in America and how much, or how little, they have changed.
VF, the owner of iconic brands including The North Face, Vans and Timberland, is entering another period of big transformation as it looks to lead the charge through purpose-led design and sustainable innovation. From augmented reality mannequins to ultra-customisation, the parent company wants to prove big corporations can embrace change fast and stay relevant in a volatile retail landscape. “This industry needs to get out of the mode of that one-time transaction; it really is about building that loyalty, that engagement with our consumers, back to the brand and the purpose that these brands bring to life.”
With fresh, innovative stores their lifeline, American malls are bending over backwards to lure digitally native brands. The pressure to provide these brands a seamless transition to physical retail is forcing big changes and the malls up to the challenge on the right track. “The retail landscape is waking up to the idea that DTC brands need flexibility.” Before, the only way to find your consumer was to be in a retail location. Today, the location needs the brand more than the brand needs the location.” And one hot brand works to attract others.
The Retail Challenge: Data to Insights
From CRMC, how Lovesac and Sweaty Betty are meeting their marketing challenges
The CRMC 2019 Recap – Retailers, Loyalty, and Fireworks
It was difficult to pick just a few of the best experiences to talk about at CRMC.
CLARUS COMMERCE 6/11/2019
5 Key Takeaways from CRMC 2019
For 26 years, CRMC has continued to deliver as the premier Retail CRM event of the year.
MOVABLE INK 6/10/2019
CRMC 2019 RECAP: PERSONALIZATION AND DATA TAKE CENTER STAGE
At CRMC 2019, almost every discussion touched on the competition between retailers.
CONVERSANT MEDIA 6/7/2019
5 Things Not to Miss at CRMC 2019
The CRMC has earned its reputation as the No. 1 networking event for retail marketers.
CLARUS COMMERCE 6/4/2019
In just two hours, 800 executives representing nearly 200 top retail brands will kick off the 26th Annual CRMC. From opening Keynoter, Nicholas Thompson of WIRED, Day Two Keynoter, serial entrepreneur, disruptor and innovator Josh Linkner, and closing Keynote from CX Expert Blake Morgan; to the extensive list of Presenting Brands Ahold, Best Buy, Chico’s, DSW, Express, Foot Locker, Jack in the Box, Google, Lands’ End, Lane Bryant, Sephora, Shiseido, VANS, Vera Bradley, Williams Sonoma, and more…this year’s event promises to deliver insights, ideas, and actionable strategies that can be applied to your retail business. Plus, networking opportunities at every turn offer a chance to develop new contacts that you can call upon throughout the year. We hope you have decided to join us this week. If not, mark your calendars for June 3-5 for CRMC 2020, in Chicago.
J.C. Penney and Kohl’s — which have toggled between courting moms and millennials — both posted disappointed earnings this past week. And Dress Barn, frequented almost exclusively by middle-aged working women, announced Tuesday that it was closing all 650 of its stores. At J.C. Penney, sales are down and losses are mounting as the department store chain tries to win over the suburban moms that it has sidelined over the past decade.
How we shop has changed drastically in just the past few decades. Instead of window shopping in the mall, many customers now rely on AI product recommendations and shop via mobile without ever setting foot in a store. Retail technology and customer demands may be constantly changing, but one thing that will always be vitally important is customer experience. These statistics show the changing retail landscape and just how much customers depend on personalization, convenience and great relationships with brands.
Over the past two years, major retailers including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Kohls and others, have spent billions of dollars to overhaul existing programs or launch new loyalty schemes. Around in some form for over a century, loyalty programs have long relied on a simple concept - reward shoppers with coupons, discounts, prizes or air miles and they will come back. E-commerce has changed that. With private fitting rooms, members-only stores and clever apps, stores are now reinventing their old and tested loyalty programs to fend off the challenge from Amazon and other online rivals.
Everybody in retail knows that their success depends on understanding the customer. And understanding the customer starts with understanding their demographics. But with businesses enthralled by big data, demographics looks old fashioned and irrelevant. But guess what? Demographics is the biggest data of all. For retailers, demographics was and still is destiny.
A system that remembers customers’ preferences, can understand speech and text and that learns the more it’s used—that’s the magic of machine learning. Machine learning is used to understand customers, drive personalization, streamline processes and create convenient and memorable customer experiences. Machine learning’s many applications make it a powerful tool in creating amazing customer experiences. Here are 20 examples of machine learning in action.
From supply chains to marketing, weather-related changes have impacted how retailers do business. Retail has both played a part in the perpetuation of climate change and absorbed its impact. Supply chain and sourcing have already changed due to weather patterns, and according to at least one estimate, the apparel industry releases half a million tons of microfibers into the ocean per year. But, there is a current of revolution on the horizon, with companies caving to consumer pressure to improve processes and prove that they are adopting sustainable practices, and retailers are in a good position to make decisions that could put the larger consumer goods industry on a more environmentally sustainable path.
Customer experience is a constant evolution. What was inventive five years ago could be commonplace today. The best customer experiences innovate to stay ahead of new technology and trends. Finding creative new ideas can build lasting connections with customers. Here are 10 fresh examples of CX innovation from brands that aren’t afraid to think outside the box to serve customers.
In today's retail landscape, the fight for customers is fiercer than ever. Loyalty programs may be the oldest marketing trick in the book, but they remain one of the most effective for getting consumers to stick with a company. Companies in industries from books to beauty products offer alluring perks and rewards for loyal customers. Several retailers offer loyalty programs offering customers perks and rewards for their continued shopping. We compiled 18 of the best loyalty programs in retail, comprising industries from books to clothing and beauty products. The loyalty programs offer customers free items, exclusive deals, and discounts on future purchases.
While the so-called “retail apocalypse” is undeniably wreaking havoc in the shopping industry, not all physical retailers are floundering. The IHL Group gave MONEY a list of retailers that are actually adding new stores in the U.S. in 2019. Below, we’re highlighting the top 10 retailers with big expansion plans in the works: Each company says it will add 50 or more new stores this year. What has enabled these stores to thrive despite the gloomy, ultra-competitive state of the physical retail world? And how can these retailers justify expanding at a time when Amazon seems to be gobbling up more and more of our shopping dollars each day?
Technology can be a huge boost to customer experience. But it can also leave a bad taste in customers’ mouths. Brands need to be constantly evolving with new technology and evaluating their approach to make sure the technology is effective and strategic. This week brought stories of technology being used in all aspects of customer experience, from robots reaching customers to customers sharing their experiences online. These stories show that technology can connect customers and create convenient experiences, but it can also lead to problems like a lack of human connection and data security. To ensure technology is used properly, brands should regularly re-evaluate their approach.
Retailers like Target, as well as Walmart and Nordstrom, are rewriting the rulebooks of merchandising in order to accommodate trendy digitally native brands that were, in most cases, launched without wholesale margins in their business structures. Nordstrom’s gm of merchandising has said the company “threw out the old playbook” in order to orchestrate inventory buys with brands like Greats and Reformation, Walmart is so bullish on DTC brands that it’s acquiring a suite of them under Andy Dunn, the founder of Bonobos and now Walmart E-commerce’s head of digital brands. At Target, the best way to understand how these new DTC retail deals are playing out is to look to its health and beauty category.
Companies from Nordstrom to J. Crew have invested in loyalty programs. Some removed barriers, others added them, but the changes all said something about the strategy. In the past year, the space was reshaped when a slew of retailers reinvented, upgraded and dropped loyalty programs. The multi-retailer Plenti program shut down in July after Macy's and several other important participants bailed. And several retailers have tweaked or added internal loyalty programs. Program changes have ranged from department stores, including Macy's, Nordstrom and Kohl's, to big-box and specialty retailers like Target, DSW and Lululemon. While some of the changes are likely just the result of natural investment in that part of the business, retailers also face pressure from higher shopper expectations.
These days in brick-and-mortar retail circles, it seems all anyone can talk about is experiential retail. Immersive, interactive, technology-enhanced — these are all adjectives that get tossed around when executives are talking about what the store of the future needs to look and feel like. What does experiential retail really mean? For some it may be a swimming pool full of sprinkles or meditation pods. As design becomes a more intentional factor of the store experience, it's changing consumer expectations, especially for younger generations. As Doug Stephens, CEO of Retail Prophet, recently put it, "Millennials don’t suffer from shortened attention spans. Rather, they simply have a much higher sensitivity to things that are boring." But in reality, how many stores are actually as experiential as these out-of-the-box ideas? In a country with roughly 22.5 square feet of retail space per capita (more than any other country), the answer is: not many.