Retail Reimagined​

With almighty Amazon upending the retail ecosystem and the threat of 2017’s much-hyped retail apocalypse, last year saw many retailers bringing their A game to shoppers. They experimented with localization, elevated service offerings, forged creative partnerships, and blurred online and offline experiences to deliver friction-free ease of acquisition. This year, stores will continue to evolve with new concepts and refreshed formats that encourage discovery and return visits. On the pop-up front, expect fewer superficial executions that serve as little more than selfie backdrops. Instead, brands who recognize the power to inspire brand love with creative ephemeral brick-and-mortar experiences will ensure that their pop-ups leave consumers with a clear understanding of what makes their brand unique and essential–plus an insta-worthy pic or two.​

Manifestations

As retailers continue to wise up to the power of using their stores to help consumers make informed decisions, they’ll take inspiration from Canada Goose’s cold rooms. Shoppers test the pricey outerwear in temps as low as -13 Fahrenheit via a unique store experience that combines entertainment (a great story) with functionality (a reason to believe).​

Roll by Goodyear is a pilot program in the D.C. area meant to eliminate the hassle of tire shopping. The tiny stores are located in dense shopping areas, but tire installation happens on your terms with multiple options for pickup, installation, and delivery–a great example of retail that rethinks the experience and removes pain points.​

While new DTC brands will both pop up and open permanent locations, legacy retailers will amplify and accelerate the collection cycle with more exclusive and limited-time-offer merchandise and experiences. Emulating the “drop” dynamic in fashion, they’ll look to create a sense of urgency for shoppers. Plano, TX’s new Neighborhood Goods store features brands across multiple categories that rotate in and out with some stays lasting little over a month.​

As retailers continue to wise up to the power of using their stores to help consumers make informed decisions, they’ll take inspiration from Canada Goose’s cold rooms. Shoppers test the pricey outerwear in temps as low as -13 Fahrenheit via a unique store experience that combines entertainment (a great story) with functionality (a reason to believe).​

Roll by Goodyear is a pilot program in the D.C. area meant to eliminate the hassle of tire shopping. The tiny stores are located in dense shopping areas, but tire installation happens on your terms with multiple options for pickup, installation, and delivery–a great example of retail that rethinks the experience and removes pain points.​

While new DTC brands will both pop up and open permanent locations, legacy retailers will amplify and accelerate the collection cycle with more exclusive and limited-time-offer merchandise and experiences. Emulating the “drop” dynamic in fashion, they’ll look to create a sense of urgency for shoppers. Plano, TX’s new Neighborhood Goods store features brands across multiple categories that rotate in and out with some stays lasting little over a month.​

implications

Brands will be challenged to elevate their retail experiences as consumers come to expect convenience combined with a dash of fun and excitement when they shop. But don’t rely on gimmicks alone. Consider the experience holistically to provide innovations that shoppers didn’t realize they ever needed. Optimized store experiences must now deliver on expertise, excitement, and ease. ​