In 2017 we have seen many retailers declare bankruptcy, shutter stores, or be swallowed up by either Amazon or Walmart (Whole Foods and Moosejaw are two examples). As 2018 approaches, I am curious to what new changes we will see.
As a small mom-n-pop retail buyer and marketing manager, I often ponder on ways to keep to my store relevant and interesting to customers. I think the future is exciting and challenging. I don’t think brick and mortar is completely going away, but I feel it must change and evolve with the changing needs of the customer. Forget about Amazon. We obviously can’t compete with them, so our challenge is to differentiate ourselves from them by making our stores destinations where customers want to be and places where they can get a unique service.
Here are ways I predict stores will try to stay competitive:
Getting shoppers through the door is 90% of the battle. If you offer free events that add value or are fun, you will bring them in and then the rest is up to your visual displays and sales associates. Nordstrom’s recently started offering events open to their credit card holders that teach fun beauty and fashion tips. One in my area was called, “From Office to Happy Hour” and they showed ways you could modify a work outfit and take it from a day look to an evening look.
I was also recently invited to book a complimentary appointment at Von Maur with a visiting makeup artist from Chanel, which was so much fun! He was able to spend twenty minutes with me and had some great advice relative to my concerns. I ended up buying much of what he suggested, and if I hadn’t come in for this appointment, I never would bought all of the products I did.
Luxury beauty and cosmetic store Sephora offers free classes for their customers. They have sessions on how to create a smokey eye and how to contour your face. They also have themes such as on how to go from work to a holiday party with a quick makeup touchup.
Make their store a cool social media destination
Paul Smith’s LA boutique is wildly famous for its pink wall that attracts “selfie” takers and has been called the most instagrammed wall. Maybe you don’t have the luxury of an amazing pink exterior, but why not create a compelling storytelling place inside your store complete with a giant mirror that begs customers to pose for selfies? You know they will snap it to their friend for their opinion, why not make sure the lighting is flattering? Many influencers already use dressing rooms to take selfies and add pictures to their stories to get their followers’ opinions. Make them want to come to your store.
Help from their key brands
I predict more premium brands will enforce their Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (or MSRP) and Minimum Advertised Price (or MAP) pricing and not let retailers get away with selling their items for less than the terms listed. Many brands have already taken steps and hired a third-party price monitoring service. This will help them enforce their pricing terms.
What are some of your retail predictions?