Will 2020 be the year of elevated shopping experiences?

Discussion
Jan 06, 2020
Gabriela Baiter

The last decade is over and hopefully with it an end to talk of the retail apocalypse. The current decade starts off with a new class of retailers focused on improving the shopping experience for consumers in various ways. Here are my predictions for 2020 and beyond.

Temporary pop-ups to permanent homes

With companies like Pop Up Grocer, a traveling pop-up grocery store concept, and Allbirds proving out this low-risk strategy, many are now taking their learnings into longer leases. In 2020 and beyond, expect to see more pop-ups expand to fully-fledged brick and mortar locations. 

Mass services to individualized attention

Long gone are the days of throwing a “lounge” or “cafe” into your retail store and calling it the future. These generic hospitality moments will be replaced with individualized services and recommendations that are contextually relevant to each customer’s needs.

High street to highly unique

In 2019, brands flocked to the high street with Soho, Venice and Melrose helping brands get noticed. Similar to Abercrombie & Fitch taking over the Hoxton hotel and Chanel creating an Atelier inside an apartment, expect more brands to turn hotels, gyms and even subways into shoppable destinations for their customers to work, shop and play. 

Data collection to data instant

Chief marketing officers are feeling the pressure with the expectation that their retail efforts must perform in both the short and long-term. Rather than employing back-end beacon technology as the only way to measure store performance, we are seeing companies like eBay and Neiman Marcus engage real-time tech solutions that deliver measurable experiences for their guests.

Full-service to retail-as-a-service

With pop-ups getting more common, smaller emerging brands are looking for more flexible solutions for testing clicks to bricks. Retail-as-a-service concepts like Showfields, The Market @Macy’s and Neighborhood Goods taking the brunt out of labor-intensive store build-outs and long-term leases, digitally native brands now have an interim solution. In the year ahead, we can expect “the most interesting store in the world” to be a regular occurrence.

Visitors to members

Consumers are looking to add richness to their lives with membership clubs that provide a sense of belonging and quality subscriptions that solve a problem above anything else. As the selfie museum is declining; people are looking to retail spaces like The Wonder, Ethel’s Club and Rise by We to connect and enrich their points of view.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advances in shopping experience concepts and/or technology do you expect to see this year? Are there any retailers, brands or vendor concepts that stand out in this regard?

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Braintrust
"While 2020 will be a year of great progress for retail, I expect the polarization between the best and the rest to continue."
"I’d add “sustainability as table stakes for brands.” All signs point to legality around fast-fashion imports changing..."
"The management of the supply chain is the biggest single challenge for most retailers whether they be bricks or clicks."

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15 Comments on "Will 2020 be the year of elevated shopping experiences?"


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Bob Amster
BrainTrust

2020 will be a year of “great vision.”

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

Smart retailers are recognizing the importance of a good experience. CX and customer service go hand-in-hand in the retail industry. I can’t think of one recognized brand that doesn’t know that. (Even if they don’t appear to be delivering at a high level, they are aware of it.) Brands that stand out? There are plenty of lists that compile the best of the best. We can start with the A’s… Amazon and Apple. They continue to set the bar for others. Luxury brands have always recognized the importance of CX and service and are typically leaders in this area. You’ll see more personalization from savvy retailers. Concepts will take the form of pop-ups, and if they prove to be worthy of permanence, you’ll see them integrated into the store’s footprint. Pop-ups are great for testing.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust
While 2020 will be a year of great progress for retail, I expect the polarization between the best and the rest to continue. There are so many legacy retailers that are way behind the curve at innovating and, as a result, they are misaligned with what consumers want. Good retailers will be looking at things like: Getting the basics – products, price, place – right (obvious but it still needs saying!); Sourcing and curating products that are relevant, unique and innovative; Added value services to genuinely help and inspire consumers; Being a good corporate citizen and aligning values with those of core customers; Creating a sense of community to stimulate loyalty in a genuine way; Ensuring shopping experiences are entertaining (or at least hassle-free); Investing in technology designed to improve efficiency and reduce costs; Converging channels so that shopping is seamless for the consumer. It is important to understand that not all of the above are relevant to every retailer and how they are implemented will vary from company to company. But the bottom line… Read more »
Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

As always, Gabriela’s instincts are spot-on. I would even up the ante on her predictions to say that while experiences will matter more in the near future, I expect that by 2023, we will see a redefinition of what we think of as a “store.” For many categories, I expect that experiences will come first, with selling stuff a by-product of that experience.

Andrew Blatherwick
BrainTrust

The advent of pop-up shops will certainly provide new innovative retailers and online retailers the opportunity to test their concept on the High Street. However, it is a big step from a one-off pop-up shop to a fully functional group of stores. The management of the supply chain is the biggest single challenge for most retailers whether they be bricks or clicks.

Gabriela Baiter
Staff

I agree with you Andrew. All Birds and Casper are outliers in this regard with ambitious growth plans in retail. Before a digitally-native brand starts building a “chain”, they will extend their leases. We are seeing this in practice today with the average pop-up going from 1 to 6 month minimums.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

I’m voting for the shopping experience that diminishes the need for a “Sale” sign on every fixture. I’m looking for the experience that isn’t driven by a “%” sign with a big (artificial, fabricated) number in front of it. Honest product at an honest value delivered in an interesting treasure hunt manner. I know that’s horribly antiquated of me, but the growing transparency in the retail business is not the friend of so many bogus retail offerings in play right now.

Oliver Guy
BrainTrust

To me it is still all about being able to do what Amazon cannot do… and experience is a core element of that. Doing this and staying profitable for many remains tricky. I loved the comment from the CEO of U.K. retailer Mountain Warehouse – “If they come to the beach and it’s raining, Amazon can’t help them.”

This suggests a big focus on overall experience – focused on product and availability of that product rather than necessarily it being a super slick experience. Very much back to basics – love it.

Casey Golden
BrainTrust
8 months 18 days ago

Brands must be able to instantly recognize shopper preferences and provide individualized shopping experiences with high touch service at scale. Technology will have to enable companies to measure the selling process and track the entire lifecycle of the path of purchase and retention.

Gabriela Baiter
Staff

I couldn’t agree more Casey. Service design is the new Instagrammable moment.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

I actually do not see any major advances this year, as several have become relatively mainstream in 2018-19, and many retailers need to integrate advances and investments made. For instance, several retailers have implemented pieces of AI in their CX and there is, more often than not, tweaking required to maximize the impact.

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust

You broke it down perfectly, Gabriela. I’d add “sustainability as table stakes for brands.” All signs point to legality around fast-fashion imports changing as lawmakers scramble to preserve the planet for the next generation. It won’t be long before high waste apparel production is as illegal as it is environmentally devastating. I look forward to witnessing the new low cost, low waste manufacturing methods that retailers come out with in the coming year.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Some level of sustainability is long past due. Materials, manufacturing process, transport, last mile are all candidates for improvement. Maybe we can even manufacture more apparel in the USA again.

Gabriela Baiter
Staff

So true Jasmine. Waste has reached an all time high in retail of all sizes / formats. I’d love to see more modular sustainable solutions in store design as well vs. one time fit outs that are constructed and destroyed 3 months later.

John McIndoe
BrainTrust

As with many other retail segments, in-store retail in CPG is focusing more and more on becoming an experience and not simply a venue for food, beverage and center store purchases. Brands and retailers are experimenting with many exciting concepts designed to inform and energize shoppers, while also building loyalty. Think smart mirrors that recommend lipstick colors and makeup combinations based on the shopper’s coloring; in-store sensors that can track not just your gender and age, but also your emotional state – and push purchase recommendations to nearby displays.

Behind the scenes, robots will take over an increasing number of in-store tasks, such as restocking, reducing expensive out-of-stocks. And, shoppers are noticing, outgoing NRF Chairman Christopher Baldwin opened this year’s NRF 2020 Big Show by noting 60% of consumers state retail innovation has improved their shopping experience.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"While 2020 will be a year of great progress for retail, I expect the polarization between the best and the rest to continue."
"I’d add “sustainability as table stakes for brands.” All signs point to legality around fast-fashion imports changing..."
"The management of the supply chain is the biggest single challenge for most retailers whether they be bricks or clicks."

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