Major retail trends
I have cast 6 major retail trends that map out the industry and from which a brand can inspire itself. They represent in my opinion, 6 imperatives to be competitive.
These trends can be divided as following:
1. Short-Term trends:
The Mix and Match multiplicity:
» Creating new product lines that have nothing to do with the core business such as Agenda, Tea, Stamps, Honey, etc. demonstrate the wide expression of the brand and give a conceptually new vision of its exceptional know-how.
It’s all about learning, discovering, sharing, and multi experiencing the world by going beyond possession!
e.g. Penhaligon’s: a barber cleans up his clients’ neck hairs in the brand boutique using the brand products;
e.g. Guerlain has its own restaurant. They create pastries and prepare meals that are connected with the perfumer universe. They also propose Tea & Honey new products line.
2. Medium-Term trends:
Health, authenticity & responsibility are the new basis of brand loyalty:
» Brand commitment, environmental and social engagement, charitable involvement and sustainable services are clearly communicated in the boutique;
» Brand values and beliefs, transparency, meaningful design & emotions are key words vs superficiality and artifice.
e.g. The Body Shop with Panda and other animals’ pictures, real flowers in the boutique that are made to last 1 year, marketing messages on products that are free from Carmin and Gluten; Or Lush with pictures of their employees on products they made.
There is a clear rise of a new spirit of creativity and community:
We are facing mass media trend (create, co-create and curate) with the rise of user-generated contents such as:
» Social contents and videos with real people, employees or YouTubers personalities who advocate for brands are showcased in retail;
» Community wall and social media contents are pushed in retail on interactive screens;
e.g. Nyx & Sephora
This trend can be explained by the fact that, small and newcomers are changing, disrupting the codes. Big brands are losing their monopole. Nowadays, innovation, creating legends and myths are as much important as the question of heritage and history. And people are ready to stand up for brands they trust in.
As for example, the modern and cutting-edge brand “Too Faced” is a newcomer in the makeup industry in France, with its funny and out of the box “Chocolate bar”, “melted chocolate” lip, “Better than sex” mascara or “Born this way” foundation. These are the brand’s best-sellers. Believe or not, its girly stand was one of the stands that were driving people.
To continue, the nature of influence is changing. A creative content with an editorial approach is essential to engage consumers on a more personal level. As for example, at Sephora, the stand that was driving most people was HUDA Kattan’s stand (“Huda Beauty” brand), a Dubai-based beauty blogger and YouTuber star.
Retailtainment & Edutainment:
Transmitting the brand history and storytelling can be done:
» Through store workshops and animations;
» By optimizing products and brand information;
» By creating an ephemeral brand museum or exhibition;
» Also, the service and experience must fit/be coherent with the brand history;
e.g. Guerlain ephemeral exhibition;
e.g. Sephora products, and workshops
e.g. Penhaligon’s newspaper;
e.g. Jo Malone’s personal invitation to discover their products through hands massages / relaxing, cocooning perfumed moment (reservation is preferred);
3. Long-Term trends:
Customization & personalization of the experience, the service and products:
» The challenge of mixing and layering scents on the skin to create a bespoke new scent, a customized and personalized fragrance;
e.g. Guerlain & Jo Malone: opportunity to fill a chosen bottle with a unique fragrance (mix of 2 to be chosen);
» Engraving messages can be done to personalize the product
e.g. Atelier Cologne at Sephora, Jo Malone, Guerlain
» Customization is also offered at Guerlain for example: it is possible to customize a bottle of perfume with a ribbon. Different types of knots are proposed: La cravate, le papillon, le torsade, etc. in order to finally create a sur-mesure bottle;
In the digital era, offering a connected and tailored retail experience is a must and can be achieved through digital that continues to grow in-store. Retail must be collaborative, social, rapid (boom of Click&Collect) and digitally service oriented.
There is a great focus on phygital with digital screens, mobile applications, emoticons app’ (KIMOJI, Nescafé emoticons, Taylor Swift emoticons) and QR codes to influence and engage consumers on a more personal level;
e.g. Jo Malone with its “fragrance combining suggestion” screen;
e.g. Le Printemps and Sephora digital screens:
e.g. Pinko Touch screen at Les Galeries Lafayette that gives you products availability and localization in France when scanning the code bar;
I believe that these key forces are driving change in the retail sector and are where the consumer opportunities lie.