Retailers have not been well-treated in the past decade. Small businesses closed down, malls were shuttered and chains that customers love disappeared.–Sears and Toys“R”Us also included–They closed their doors. Over 12,000 stores were closed due to the delayed effects of Great Recession and major shifts in consumer shopping habits.–Many wondered if in-store shopping was over.
But 2018, however, was a turning point. Retailers began to change their marketing strategies in 2018.–Experimenting with new approaches, such asHigh-Tech Features?pop upsEvents andInstagram-readyBackgrounds to attract shoppers
Walmart recorded its highest sales quarter in a decade. Target had an “unprecedented performance“. Even e-commerce businesses that had once promised never to put down brick and mortar are now investing in permanent physical spaces to build “physical” relationships with customers.
The Italian Renaissance had da Vinci; the Retail Renaissance had Target
This shift is led by Target. Target spent $7 billion over the past year to improve its storefront and digital capabilities. Target was once a classic big-box store with long aisles, fluorescent dressing rooms lights and endless checkout lines. The new initiative aimed to improve the customer’s shopping experience, starting from the moment they enter the store and ending with the time they checkout.
This strategy includes opening smaller Target stores in urban areas. Although customers still have the option to explore a large range of products in-store, the selection has been streamlined to fit into a small space. The apparel section is a great example of this: each season’s styles are displayed on a display case that entices shoppers without being overwhelming. Target’s top brands are highlighted by spotlights and signs, leading shoppers to the most sought-after items.
Target’s new urban locations will cater to young professionals and college students, which will help it expand its customer base. Target plans to open 130 small-scale stores by the end of 2019.
Target has changed its delivery policy to be competitive with Amazon Prime policies. Target now offers same-day delivery (thanks in part to the acquisition of Shipt), and 2-day free shipping. Customers can also choose to skip shipping entirely by ordering online and picking up in-store.
Target’s chief executive Brian Cornell stated to The New York Times that “Our stores are the heart of our strategy and they are the heart of our success right currently.”
Enjoy more experience, and make it even more fun
The message of Cornell is universally applicable across all retail industries. Although Amazon is still the undisputed leader, brands are determined to offer an experience that will be remembered.
Think Tiffany & Co. Recently, Tiffany & Co. announced plans to renovate its Manhattan flagship store over three years. This $250 million investment will improve customers’ shopping experience by expanding retail space, cafes, and offering new hospitality options. This investment will allow Tiffany to capitalize on its legendary status. The iconic flagship store was a star in the 1960 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This expansion will allow tourists and fans to be part of the brand’s story through more events, experiential opportunities, and other activities. The company’s executives believe that the renovation will allow the brand to compete with ecommerce jewelers, even though in-store sales account for 90% of Tiffany’s revenues.
FAO Schwarz is another New York City retail establishment.was back in 2018With a renewed emphasis on “experiential” retailing. The beloved toy store is back in the city three years after it closed its Fifth Avenue flagship store. FAO Schwarz, the new owner of the store, plans to take advantage of its theatrical elements. The store’s new centerpiece, a two-story rocketship, is available for children to explore. Dancers will perform songs on the iconic store’s walk-on piano to keep the party going.–As if that weren’t enough to grab attention, the notes reflect in lights and color on a ceiling piano. You will have a hard time trying to recreate this immersive experience on a tablet screen.
David Niggli, FAO Schwarz’s chief merchandise officer, says that retail is theater. Yes.
Everyday can be extraordinary
Macy’s is the leader in experiential shopping.
Macy’s invested significant amounts in 2018 to support their turnaround strategy. This was done in an effort to secure customers and regain investors’ trust after some turbulent years. The holidays offer the department store the best opportunity to demonstrate its success.
Macy’s reported that its shares increased more than 80% in November over a 12-month span. The store also launched its holiday displays that month in hopes of creating momentum that would last into the new year.
I was able to visit Macy’s Manhattan headquarters and can confirm that it is a sight to behold. The first floor is adorned with huge floral displays that entice shoppers to pose for photos. The ceiling is covered in snowflakes, while giant ornaments sparkle on the tree.
Macy’s has transformed the “meet Santa” opportunity to add whimsy. Instead of sitting in an old, tired chair and greeting Santa Claus, children walk through a tunnel to Santaland where he waits. Santa’s visit is an unforgettable experience that everyone, old and young, will cherish for many years.
Macy’s excels in every detail. At the beauty counter signage and lighting highlight unique products. Attendants are available to help shoppers.
Macy’s intends to explore experiential features long after the holiday season has ended, according to all accounts. Maybe the best is yet ahead.
Technology can be used to attract shoppers and improve products
New technology has made shopping more theatrical in other industries. Particularly in the beauty sector, retailers are using technology to allow customers to try products before they buy. Shoppers can access an assortment of products at select Sephora stores.AR Virtual ArtistYou can use this tool to test out makeup on your face and learn new techniques. Sephora is aware of the needs of Gen Z customers–98 percenAccording to an IBM study, t prefer to shop in physical stores.–Attracted to high-tech features that enhance the in-store experience, And this is not like e-commerce beauty shops.SephoraThere is a knowledgeable staff available to answer any questions or provide guidance.
Mary Beth Laughton is Sephora’s Executive Vice-President of Omni Retail. She says, “We know that to be successful in retail, we have to be there our clients and give them tools and experiences that suit her needs.”
Sephora seems to be able to succeed with their approach. They saw an increase in sales in 2018 despite the competition from Ulta Beauty, Amazon, and others.
Use brand messaging to reach your target audience
Other companies should not be limited to adopting new features in their stores when they join the retail revival.–It means that you have to rebrand to appeal to a new generation of customers.
Payless ShoeSource. The discount footwear retailer filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017 and announced it would close 400 US stores. Bankruptcy could signal the end of a brand.–Payless was revived in 2018 thanks to a clever marketing campaign.
The brand bought an Armani store in Santa Monica, California, and stocked the shelves with its high-value, low-priced footwear. The trickery started. Payless invited fashion and lifestyle bloggers to the launch party for “Payless”.Palessi“A purported manufacturer of designer footwear. In a scene full of glamour and glitz, guests shared their love for Palessi’s wares with (fake reporters).–Some even offered to pay hundreds of dollars for $19.99 shoes. Payless made the ruse public at the end of the evening. Guests’ shocked reactions were captured on camera.
Payless hopes that Gen Z customers will see the cultural message made by the stunt: Luxury is a mindset. The campaign was designed by Doug Cameron, chief creative officer of DCX Growth Accelerator.
Although there are no plans to open more Palessi pop ups, Payless made its brand positioning provocatively clear to shoppers. Although sales are not yet sufficient to place Payless in the retail revival, it is possible that the store will make an impressive comeback in 2019.
A Renaissance that goes beyond the retail sector
The retail industry saw a major shift in the past year. Brands are emerging from the ashes thanks to renewed marketing strategies and in-store strategies?Shoppers are responding enthusiastically to this. The retail revival is also being led by other stores:
- Dick’s Sporting Goods’ stock continues to perform well with positive outlooks for 2019.
- Best Buy did more than survive the Retail Apocalypse.–It’s actually thriving
- Customers continue to flock to Lowes and other DIY and home stores with their new AR offerings
- CVS Pharmacy and other retailers are focusing on wellness. CVS hopes to position itself as the “Whole Foods of Drugstores”.
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