01:45 pm
28 November 2016

Emerging Retail Concept Trends

Emerging Retail Concept Trends

We live in a changing world where smartphones, tablets and laptops put nearly everything a consumer wants at their fingertips and on their doorsteps overnight. As a result, retailers need new ways to attract and maintain customer interests.  People no longer work 9-to-5, then head home for the night; instead, cities are becoming urbanized destinations with round-the-clock shopping experiences, something which necessitates new retail concepts that both cater to and satisfy these very different extended-hours customers. Today’s consumers are more strategic and educated in how they make purchasing decisions and which brands they favor. In 2016, the goal is to target consumers’ interests and their desire to explore more personal experiences with designers, brands and retailers.  Pop-up retail, a host of personalized “friend-like” experiences, and an array of in-store enhancements are among the innovative tools Madison Marquette has identified as key differentiators driving this new marketing model.

Pop-Up Retail: With the instant gratification of social media and the exhilaration of temporary social experiences such as Snapchat, retailers are looking for a way to connect quickly with consumers, yet leave them wanting more. Pop-up retail markets are used to create a “massclusivity” appeal that will generate “water cooler gossip” via social media vehicles such as Instagram. For example, Northern Grade, a pop-up retail format that features emerging and sought-after American-made brands for the 20-to-40 age group, hosts pop-up markets in venues throughout the world. Northern Grade was launched in 2010and recently held the 21st market in Washington, D.C. Most of the brands that come to exhibit and sell at Northern Grade are emerging designers just being discovered that bring a fresh approach to the local retail scene, but there are also traditional American-made favorites like Filson and Red Wing which add to the retailer’s massclusivityapproach.

The Experience: Creating a more personal retail experience is vital to new brands looking to make a name for themselves in a sometimes oversaturated market. The Internet has made shopping faster and simpler, but the consumer still craves authentic experiences and a way to connect with the designer of their favorite brands. Through Instagram, brands are becoming more personal and also more tangible as their designers reach out to the consumer by posting photos of their new homes, what they are cooking for dinner, their pets, favorite books, where they are shopping, vacationing, and more. The retail industry is translating these intimate moments between designer and consumer into a shopping experience that goes beyond the retail environment and offers an actual face-to-face, personal experience with the brand.

PLACES-WEB_Page24Market5thSome brands, for example, have hosted happy hours at retailer locations where designers mingle with customers. Madison Marquette implemented The Market at Fifth Avenue, a collaborative market for emerging artisans on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey. To complete the shopping experience, designers will be present, meeting with shoppers to begin nurturing a relationship between the buyer and the goods, which will ultimately convert into brand loyalty. For a finishing touch, The Market at Fifth Avenue will capitalize on its waterfront location by highlighting local surfers with retro beach and surf movie footage projected onto an artistic display of colorful surfboards along the walls.

Meeting the maker behind the brand helps to pave the way for designers to grow both brand loyalty and interest in their product categories. As we look ahead toward fourth quarter and this year’s holiday shopping trends, interactions between brand and shopper will be on the rise as designers launch holiday shopping party experiences to attract customers.

Asbury Park’s Coastal Lines is a perfect example.  Coastal Lines is a high-end, sophisticated concept shop featuring well-made merchandise that includes grooming products, accessories and home goods.  Throughout the store, however, there are also rotating exhibits from local and national artists offering shoppers an enjoyable and thought-provoking in-store experience. At Asbury Park, we plan to unfold a number of other noteworthy activities andevents with designers coming into the shop for a cocktail hour as well as local artists and merchants being invited to host events there. It is important to keep the story fresh, and consistently hosting events and experiences like this gives the retailer the opportunity to explore media and marketing opportunities on a more frequent basis.

In-Store Enhancements: Technology can be a curse to brick-and-mortar retailers, but some are embracing the online shopping puzzle and incorporating it into their stores. A customer can walk into select lululemon stores and find several iPads throughout the shop that will help them locate sizes and colors of items that may not be available in the store. To make the shopping experience even more convenient, a lululemon sales associate can order anything the customer wants from its website and have it shipped to the customer’s home or office. This online shopping in-the-store concept allows customers to try on items, choose the colors they are interested in and feel the fabrics.  In addition, several brands are going one step further and creating an in-store online profile for each customer offering a complete history of purchases made so that returns or exchanges are hassle-free and paperless.

Shift from Online to Offline Retail: While major chain retailers such as GAP are closing stores due to a whirlwind of expansion, online retailers are taking this cue to bring their more personalized, hard-to-find ecommerce concepts to the brick and mortar marketplace. For example, Birchbox, a subscription-based, online beauty shop that truly transformed the way women bought cosmetics, has made its traditional retail debut with a flagship store, which recently opened, in New York City’s swanky Soho area. With the trend of athleisure wear taking consumers from yoga studio to office, it is no wonder that online athletic wear retailer, Fabletics, is planning to open six stores in this fall. Following in the footsteps of its sister site, JustFab, a lifestyle fashion retailer, which opened its flagship store in the Glendale Galleria in 2013, Fabletics is hoping to stand out from its online competitors because the ecommerce site already has a loyal customer following. Online retailers opening physical locations have an advantage over their competitors. Not only do they have instant foot traffic in the brick and mortar location, they already have a captive online audience and can use digital marketing to tell their ecommerce customers about special in-store promotions, discounts, new arrivals, etc. This new retailer strategy has peaked interests from traditional shopping centers as this presents them with the opportunity to attract millennials, a market sector that malls have seen a decrease in since online shopping became a staple in the consumer’s life. Online platforms that integrate the brick and mortar retail concept gives online-only brands the opportunity to reach more of their targeted audience and expand into demographics that are more likely to walk into a store than shop online. This also provides an opportunity for the brand to better know their customer, and become more aware of customer interests.

If emerging retail concept trends in 2015 have proven anything, it’s that identifying consumer needs and catering to their increasingly complex shopping habits is vital to the survival of the retail industry. Equally important is reaching consumers on a personal level. As brands and their designers reach out to shoppers, they’re creating a connection that will lead to increased sales and brand loyalty–and ultimately, they’re designing a unique shopping experience and a recipe for maintaining customer interest and long-term success.