In a session onboard its M/Y Accama yacht this morning, Accenture-owned Fjord’s General Manager for Europe, Africa, Latin America, Thomas Mueller, led a presentation on current retail trends via an interactive experimental food tasting experience.
Mueller opened the session by stating that physical retail is in a state of flux. While the headlines told us that 10,168 brick and mortar stores closed in the US in 2017, what they neglect to say, in fact, is that 14,248 opened.
Physical retail is not dying, as 67% of eCommerce stores have now opened physical stores. And physical retail is also providing 30% uplift in conversion. More importantly, digital natives have also expressed a preference for physical stores.
Mueller then paired the seven current retail trends with a seven-course menu, each designed to demonstrate the trend at hand.
1 Shrinking the thinking – the ruthless route to ultimate convenience
This trend is about taking out the friction of every part of the retail journey in order to eliminate barriers to purchase. Case studies like Amazon Go, eBay and Rebecca Minkoff were used to demonstrate that retail is now a time and effort saving business.
2 Personal curator – knowing you better than you know yourself
Personalisation in retail is now done via informed data sets. Companies, such as VITL, is now creation personalised product based on their clientele’s DNA sample, lifestyle and personal preference. Retail is now in the filtering business, where what you know about your customer is more valuable than what you sell.
3 Indulgent dwell – savouring time for slow shopping
When it comes to physical retail, customers are now choosing to spend the time in exchange for a unique experience. Jeans store Dish & DU/ER allows customers to watch their jeans being produced in-store, as well as offering them to test the durability of its products via an in-store playground. Another example is the Adidas ‘Knit for You’ offer, which sees customers fork out €250 for a bespoke sweater, which is created in-store while you wait.
By finding out what fascinates customers about your products and offering unique experiences, retail has become an education business.
4 Theatre – telling astonishing stories that provoke the senses
Brands are now producing entertaining experience for customers to tell their brand story, rather than only to transact. By making customers feel something, Fjord argues that retail is moving towards in becoming an entertainment business.
5 Me & we – elevated collective experiences powered by fans
Co-creating and the building of communities is proving to be a success model for brands. Take Lego Ideas for example, a pilot product which invites Lego aficionados to submit new design ideas for Lego sets. Those ideas are then voted on by its community, leading to a winning design being manufactured for market.
6 The decoy – adjacent offers that fuel the shopping experience
Using the example of Amazon Prime, Muller demonstrated that businesses are now creating adjacent businesses that, not only provide a second revenue stream, but are also designed to keep customers coming back for more. Or Costco, with its free samples now reaching legendary status – adjacent offerings can distract customers from their original intent and create demand for them to buy more.
7 The challenger – leapfrogging expectations with a new paradigm
This is the crazy group of new concepts that are purposely designed to surprise customers. Examples include the Moby Mart – a mobile grocery store that roams the street to look for customers to visit. And the Alibaba and Ford vehicle vending machine – the name says it all. Not surprisingly, both examples came from the Chinese market, where new ideas are often embraced.