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Reclaiming the Four Walls: Top Five Brick-and-Mortar Retail Trends in 2013

BY CSA STAFF

By Shelley E. Kohan, [email protected]

Retail’s four walls are the most valuable marketing assets out there today. The brick-and-mortar stores that know how to optimize their physical locations for maximum productivity will be the ones who come out on top this year. Here are the top five trends that will distinguish the leaders from the laggards, and will define retail’s future for years to come:

1. The in-store experience
Providing “The In-Store Experience” is vital for physical stores to win over foot traffic and brand loyalty. Customers that are in the stores want to “feel” an experience and they want to be entertained. Shoppers want to explore, learn and have fun. Above all else, they want that instant gratification from products that are in stock and easy to find. To provide the best experience, follow the “Three P’s” of shopping success:

1) Personalized service,
2) Productive visits, and
3) Positively convenient.

2. Big-data analytics
As retailers continue to figure out how to deliver the omni-channel experience, measuring in-store performance will be key. The goal is to have in-store shopping metrics that mirror on-line capabilities: the who-what-when-where-how of customers. It is not enough to have the data, retailers must use the data in ways to grow shareholder value. Profit is priceless. Applying Big Data metrics in the physical store results in targeted, personalized marketing and predictive in-store shopping behavior.

3. Pricing transparency
With the evolution of showrooming, pricing transparency has become ever more pressing. The difference this year is that retailers are figuring out how showrooming can actually help build sales. The good news is that two thirds of shoppers today use the Internet as the front door to physical stores. Instead of running from these informed shoppers, invite them in, have products available, and be knowledgeable about pricing.

For some stores, that calls for the use of visible price comparisons. For other, high-service stores, make sure the pricing is competitive. With technology today, there is no reason a customer should walk into a store and tell the sales associate an item is cheaper down the mall. Be proactive and get ahead of the game.

4. Social and mobile overhaul
Converting social and mobile commerce into sales is key this year. For the last few years, retailers have spent time getting up and running on these applications. Now it’s time to figure out how to get them to pay off. But for physical stores, how can smartphone apps and social media drive more foot traffic? There are many ways to do so, but here’s a fun trend that combines social and shopping: Haul videos, the ultimate social gone viral. In this case “haulers” go into brick-and-mortar stores, buy products, take them home, and make a “haul video” which details the hauler’s likes and dislikes of the “booty.” Brick-and-mortars need to figure out how to leverage this trend to drive in-store sales. The hauler of today is like the fashion blogger of three years ago.

5. The New “CEO”
Meet the new “CEO,” a trend that has been around for a while now, but is more prevalent than ever. The new person calling the shots across all channels is the customer. Customers will dictate what they want, the prices they will pay, and the channels they will shop.

The customer expects a personalized marketing plan, a connection with the brand, a product that has value and an “enhanced shopping experience.” One could argue that the customer has always been calling the shots; however, the one difference is that our new CEO is a millennial. It’s real simple. Don’t be fooled. You work for her.

2013 is shaping up to be a big year for these trends, as the future of brick-and-mortar retail depends on them. All have already begun to impact the industry, and each is guaranteed to change the physical shopping experience fundamentally and irreversibly.

Shelley E. Kohan is VP of retail consulting at RetailNext and has more than 20 years of experience in the retail industry, focused on luxury brands within the department and specialty store sector. She is also an instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology of the State University of New York, in the Fashion Merchandising Management Program. She can be reached at [email protected]


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J.Cage says:
Jun-24-2013 12:28 pm

Reclaiming brick and mortar
Interesting article. A combination of Omnichannel, investment in technology such as big data analytics will help retailers stay ahead in market. Read an interesting whitepaper on this topic that readers will also find very useful “Thinking about tomorrow: Post recession strategies for retailers” @ http://bit.ly/10XoIQa

J.Cage says:
Jun-24-2013 12:28 pm

Interesting article. A combination of Omnichannel, investment in technology such as big data analytics will help retailers stay ahead in market. Read an interesting whitepaper on this topic that readers will also find very useful “Thinking about tomorrow: Post recession strategies for retailers” @ http://bit.ly/10XoIQa

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Southern design gets Belk boost

BY CSA STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Southern department store Belk has selected 13 winners from nearly 300 entrants in the retailer’s Southern Designer Showcase competition. Belk announced the winners at an event at its corporate headquarters.

"We are so excited to add these impressive designers to our Belk family," said president and CMO Kathryn Bufano. "This year’s winners truly represent the Modern. Southern. Style. that we deliver to our customers every day."

The 13 winners are Kari Bryde, Little Rock, Ark.; Lori Cunningham, New York, N.Y.; Darrius Curry, Lithonia, Ga.; Lucy Dang, Dallas, Texas; Charlene Dunbar,Lilburn, Ga.; Heather Menzie Gressette, Columbia, S.C.; Ali Howell, Atlanta, Ga.; Annabelle LaRoque, Columbia, S.C.; Elle Parkinson, Raleigh, N.C.; Diane Wallace, Knoxville, Tenn.; Regina White, Chesterfield, Va.; Anne Hughes Windmueller, Charleston, S.C.; and Rhonda Wyman, Asheville, N.C.

The competition, now in its second year, aims to discover new Southern design talent and feature their products in stores. This year’s designers offer fresh new looks in women’s apparel, jewelry, handbags and children’s apparel. In 2012, 15 designers were chosen as winners of the inaugural competition and in spring 2013, their products launched in select Belk stores around the country and on belk.com.

"We are thrilled to be able to introduce new brands that represent the talented South and look forward to bringing these wonderful designs to our customers next year," said VP of trend merchandising and fashion direction Arlene Goldstein.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk is a family owned and operated department-store company with 301 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence.

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Hudson Group takes retail therapy to bustling LAX terminal

BY CSA STAFF

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The experience of air travel has declined over the years, but the retail experience at airports has consistently been elevated as retailers look for new opportunities, such as this newly renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal, featuring 19 retail stores, at the western gateway to the U.S.

Last year, Westfield Concessions Management — the Terminal Concessions Manager for LAX — tapped the Hudson Group, as well as a group of local partners, to build and operate the 19 new shops in the newly renovated international terminal. The list of shops includes five travel essentials stores and 13 specialty retail stores, including luxury brands Emporio Armani, Bulgari, Coach, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Tumi, Virgin/Boost and Bliss, along with local favorites Fred Segal, Kitson, See’s Candies and Pinkberry.

"This award is a milestone for our partnership group, probably one of the most significant wins in our 25-year history,” said Joe DiDomizio, president & CEO of Hudson Group. “It demonstrates our transition from a company perhaps best known as an excellent newsstand operator to a company at ease with operating international luxury brands. For that we can thank the growing reputation of our marketing and merchandising team, and the support of our parent company, Dufry. As the largest duty free operator in the world, Dufry has relationships with all the top designer and luxury brands. This access has greatly enhanced the portfolio of offerings that we are able to offer to airports."

Working on the joint venture with the Hudson Group is an assembly of L.A. businesses that have their fingers on the pulse of the Los Angeles marketplace. The group includes equity partner Concourse Ventures (Dale Cochran, principal); ACDBE partners Palazzo Concessions (Simeon Stewart and Michael Washington, principals); The Zaman Group (Karim Zaman, principal); MAJ Collection (Julie Jun, principal) and Arandia Designs (Luis Arandia, principal).

The shops will be ready when the terminal re-opens this summer, beginning with a bevy of newsstand brands, including Entertainment Weekly News, CNN Newsstand — Los Angeles, a news/gift store called Angeleno and the newest incarnation of the Hudson News brand, called Hudson.

Hudson Group, the largest duty-paid travel retailer in North America, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of international duty-free travel retailer Dufry AG of Basel, Switzerland. The company operates some 700 Hudson News, Hudson Booksellers, cafes, specialty retail and duty free shops in 70 airports and transportation terminals in the United States and Canada, and additional newsstands in 12 more countries around the world. The combined Dufry/Hudson entity oversees more than 1,200 stores in 44 countries and 155 airports and terminals.

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