Here are the seven trends leading the way in retail, and we believe these 'trends' are here to stay.
Return of the Mailer
Video Selling aka Livestreaming
Omnichannel For All
Purpose is the new positioning
Return of the mailer, shorter catalog, and tri-fold pamphlets.
The primary marketing focus for retail brands has been digital marketing, but thanks to 2020 and people spending more time at home, this “old-fashioned” marketing method of catalogs and mailers is back. Home shopping as a category has grown drastically over the last twelve months and the brands who are doing well are making paper mail a significant part of their marketing strategy.
The reason mailers are working so wonderfully is that “real” mail from the brand you like (or might like) is most unusual so when people receive it they tend to keep it and look at it more than once, which is wonderful brand awareness for the company sending the mailer.
Two growing and great lifestyle brands out of California, Vuori and Jenni Kayne have embraced a mailer strategy that is worthy of notice and can be an example and inspiration. Neither of their catalogs are long, around 30 pages or less, but the catalogs are powerful reminders of the brand’s purpose, position, and the reason why I need their products. (I’m guilty of shopping from both now after receiving 3 catalogs in the last 100 days and I know I’m not the only one…)
Paper and print are powerful because it’s tangible. Analog. And nostalgic. So, expect this trend of mailers, catalogs, postcards, and flyers to only increase as the year moves on.
Video Selling aka Livestreaming
Livestream shopping is a critical next step for companies looking to succeed in social commerce. The trend is expected to generate up to 20% of China’s total e-commerce sales by next year, up from 10% in 2020, according to estimates by HSBC and Qianhai Securities.
-CB Insights: “How Rising E-Commerce Players Are Competing Against Amazon”
This became a necessary trend at the beginning of the pandemic due to shelter in place orders, and now video shopping has made online and social shopping so much fun for customers that we can confidently say this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Instagram & Facebook Live and IGTV took over the retail world last year, now, get ready to see more brands and stores continuing to use IG & FB to sell their goods, but also creating their own apps or parenting with platforms like ShopShops to make video selling an entertaining and seamless experience for their customers.
Omnichannel Focus for All
Before March 2020, an omnichannel sales experience was reserved for “the bigger brands.” Now, omnichannel is a necessity for every brand. With Amazon capturing about 40 cents of every dollar spent online in the US, there is no more time to question whether you should evolve or not. You must get your business online and be current with the latest technology or else you will not make it in today’s industry.
Omnichannel is a fully integrated shopping experience that seamlessly unites the customer’s experience from brick-and-mortar to mobile browsing on social media, to your website and everything in between. Now, every exposure a customer has is not a call to go to the store or the e-commerce site to make the purchase, every form of media or point of contact the customer has with your brand must be the store. This is truly what an omnichannel retail experience is. You must embrace it no matter how big or small your retail business or brand is.
You’ve seen it, The Real Real has become a retail empire over the last couple of quarters and they are leading the way in convincing customers that it is okay to resell your goods and buy used. Now, smaller brands, boutiques have launched online and in-store “archive collections” or “vintage” and customers are responding really well.
Expect to see little (or not so little) vintage or archive sections in many specialty boutiques going forward. The resale model is great for margins, it helps eliminate pollution since the items don’t go into the landfills (at least not yet), and ensures a garment or item gets in the hands of someone who will actually love and enjoy it. It’s a win-win trend not going anywhere anytime soon.
We really pioneered this concept over at Alchemy Works back in 2014 but expect to see this store, inside another store concept really pick up with both big brands and in boutiques. The reason? A shop-in-shop model is a great way to share rent and marketing expenses, cross-expose audiences, and create a buzz around all participants.
We think the shop-in-shop model is going to go beyond in-store boutiques and will be executed in a drop-ship style set up for online stores and even on social media sales channels.
Flexibility in Strategy and Execution
We’ve all seen it, you can plan and prepare, but sometimes the curveballs that come are beyond what we can plan for. So, the trend learned from 2020 that is here to stay is flexibility in both strategy and execution.
Brands and stores are being more reactive based on what their customers need and want and are less boxed in to only doing things in the way of the past. We think this posture of flexibility and trying new things in an effort to drive revenues will lead to 1) greater creativity and 2) even better and ultimately more personalized retail experiences for all. Stay adaptive or “nimble” as the entrepreneurial world calls it and stay open to trying new things. It will only help your bottom line.
Purpose is the new positioning statement
This trend is huge with customers, especially millennials and Gen Z because they want to know “why you exist” and “what is the question or problem your brand uniquely answers?” and “what good are you doing to help me or the world?”
You must understand your purpose before you can gain traction with customers. A brand or store’s purpose is the “new” positioning statement. So, take a moment and go back and review yours. The companies that will succeed will be the ones who share their purpose well. Customers pick brands based not just on the features and benefits of the products, but on the answer to the question of “who inspires me?” and “do we share the same values and purpose?”