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What's in store for Retail? by team tickety boo

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With 2019 truly up and running, there’s been lots of talk about retail trends for the year, what will define the next 12 months, how retail will evolve and what will fade away. Although we can’t claim to have a crystal ball, here are five things we’ll definitely be keeping a very close eye on at tickety boo HQ over the coming year. 

1.    Beyond retail

The popularity of online shopping and the influence of emerging technologies has led many brands to a focus on creating a customer experience that’s ‘beyond retail’ - and this trend is set to continue with bells on, in 2019!  

We’ve all seen the ‘one night only’ events with exclusive special offers and in-store discounts, but brands have become far more strategic in their thinking too, positioning themselves as cultural and creative ambassadors. In the UK we’re talking about brands like Dr Martens, leading the way with their regular free gigs at the ‘Boot Room’ in their Camden flagship store, collabs and talks with musicians and radio and film workshops.   

Dr. Martens in-store live music venue. Photo credit: Dr. Martens.

Dr. Martens in-store live music venue. Photo credit: Dr. Martens.

Shoe creators, Melissa, are also championing creative communities and the ‘art’ of shopping is definitely at the heart of their strategy, with Installations hosted by renowned and emerging artists beautifully blending art and retail at their flagship stores. Customers are encouraged to experience the store as a gallery, as well as a place to buy their latest sculpted flats or wedges! 

Natalia Stuyk’s ‘Paradise’ installation in Mellisa’s SoHo NYC flagship included looping wall animation & a mirrored room full of hanging stars. Expect more boundary pushing in 2019. Photo credit: heyyoudo.com

Natalia Stuyk’s ‘Paradise’ installation in Mellisa’s SoHo NYC flagship included looping wall animation & a mirrored room full of hanging stars. Expect more boundary pushing in 2019. Photo credit: heyyoudo.com

And of course, Selfridges are starting the year as they mean to go on with their latest creative campaign,State of The Arts’. They’ve not only worked with some of the UK’s leading galleries and critically-acclaimed artists to create a gallery of works across their Oxford Street windows, they’re also recording a weekly podcast filled with thought provoking discussions. ‘The Art Tank’, in the window of The Corner Shop, will play host to a series of one-off art ‘happenings’ too. Customers are advised to “expect the unexpected” as they’re invited to experience live art, as well as create it themselves. 

The Art Tank will host everything from a live piece by Michèle Lamy and Paul Kooiker, to portrait sessions with Alexandria Coe and Wilfrid Wood. Photo credit: Selfridges & Co.

The Art Tank will host everything from a live piece by Michèle Lamy and Paul Kooiker, to portrait sessions with Alexandria Coe and Wilfrid Wood. Photo credit: Selfridges & Co.

And when it comes to in-store workshops, it’s not just forward-thinking indies or creatively-led, engagement savvy brands forging ahead either. The High Street is waking up to the value of a place to connect, experience and learn. Pets at Home is now offering free in-store workshops to teach children how to care for animals, and it’ll be interesting to see just how far this trend spreads in 2019. 

Watch the customer connection with local makers and produce grow even stronger this year too – and that’s something our client, Winn-Dixie, is tapping in to. They’re going ‘beyond retail’ with the launch of a Tap Room in their Neptune Beach store in Florida. Customers can sample local craft beers and wines while they shop and meet local producers at various events there. 

Getting closer to the producers and keeping it local at Winn-Dixie, Neptune Beach

Getting closer to the producers and keeping it local at Winn-Dixie, Neptune Beach

Another closely related trend that we’ll be keeping our eye on this year, is the evolution of the pop-up. The phenomenon has certainly gathered huge momentum in recent times, but are customers becoming all pop-upped out? Our next blog takes a look at it in more detail... so watch out for that next week. 

2.    Emerging technologies and making it personal

Accurate customer data has always been vital for retailers to understand customer behaviour, make personalised shopper recommendations and reward loyalty, but 2019 is set to become the year when things get even more personal in new and exciting ways. Emerging technologies mean we’re also set to see a blend between the online and in-store customer experiences, with retailers beginning to incorporate more of the benefits of an online experience in the flesh! 

Take Nike’s new flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York, for instance. Dubbed the ‘House of Innovation’, Nike’s ‘shop the look’ initiative has store mannequins displayed with QR codes, which the Nike app can scan. Once you’ve scanned the code, the app tells you what the mannequin is wearing and that outfit can be delivered to a fitting room for you in a matter of minutes.

Nike leading the way with new technology for a more personalised shopping experience. Photo credit: Nike

Nike leading the way with new technology for a more personalised shopping experience. Photo credit: Nike

With shoppers increasingly using mobile apps, highly personalised shopping experiences are set to become the new norm. Basically, you’ll always have your own personal shopper in your phone, if you want it! 

It’s not just in store where opportunities for the instant shop are set to grow either. Easy jet’s promotion, allowing their Instagram audience to find and book their holiday simply by clicking on a destination image, is a sign of similar seamless things to come. Will customers even need to visit a retailer’s online shop, with more social shopping opportunities like these? 

3.    The instant shop

 Technology is inevitably leading customers towards a faster shop too. Who wouldn’t want an app guide replacing the frustration of searching the shelves to find what you need? And it’s not just faster. In some cases, it’s instant.

The  ‘instant checkout’ in Nike’s flagship does exactly what it says on the tin! Simply scan (with your phone) the barcode of the item in your hands, tap to purchase and away you go... and talking of go, Amazon Go, the company’s  checkout-free stores in Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco, use a similar approach.

Although, as with all new technologies, there’ve been teething problems, it’ll be interesting to see how many retailers look to follow this trend in 2019.  

Amazon’s new stores encourage customers to ‘grab and go’. Photo credit Nick Statt/The Verge

Amazon’s new stores encourage customers to ‘grab and go’. Photo credit Nick Statt/The Verge

It’s not just in store where opportunities for the instant shop are set to grow either. Easy jet’s promotion, allowing their Instagram audience to find and book their holiday simply by clicking on a destination image, is a sign of similar seamless things to come. Will customers even need to visit a retailer’s online shop, with more social shopping opportunities like these? 

 4. Sustainability and The Sharing Economy

The IPCC’s study on climate change is set to have a significant impact on retail this year. The Burberry backlash, unleashed when the company burned and destroyed items it didn't sell, was a landmark moment and brands are becoming ever more focused on how they can reduce, reuse, repair and recycle. It’s also one reason that the ‘sharing economy’, led in the UK by brands like Uber (sharing people’s cars to get us from A to B), and Air B N B (sharing other people’s homes when we stay away), is set to get even bigger in 2019. 

With the sustainability spotlight on fashion in particular, Forbes asks ‘Will 2019 be the year clothing subscription takes over’, and it’s an interesting point. Whilst the clothes sharing market is still developing in the UK, Rent the Runway in the US has proved incredibly popular, offering customers the opportunity to rent up to 4 pieces of clothing at a time, for $159 a month. The growth of this offering has the millennial customer very much at its heart too. Any customer insight will tell you that millennials are driven by ‘access over ownership’ and in the UK, eyes will be on brands like Girl Meets Dress, WearTheWalk and FrontRow to see if this is the year the trend truly blossoms. 

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A word of caution from Forbes writer Cally Russell though: 

One barrier that all clothing rental companies need to overcome is the idea that you’re wearing a piece of clothing that has been worn by others before you. The idea of cleanliness in this sector is clearly a higher priority than with ordering a taxi”. 

Makes sense to us! 

5.   The rise of the Own Brand

Own Brands help retailers differentiate themselves and attract customers faced with a multitude of established brand choices. In the UK, 40% of grocery sales are own brand*, own brands have taken Europe by storm but in the US, the trend is only just catching on. The status quo is finally starting to shift though and as research firm CB Insights reveals in their research piece ‘Private labels rising’: 

“Growth in sales of private-label products outpace the sales of branded products by 3x, forcing CPG giants that have ruled the space for nearly a century to respond. From beverages to apparel to pet food and other categories, customers are prioritizing price in their buying decisions, and trusting retailers that the products they offer will be made as well as — if not better than — their brand competitors”.  

Their research also explains that the dollar share of private labels in the US is projected to surpass 25% over the course of the next decade and of course for retailers, there’s a massive incentive to encourage customers to buy Own Brand, with greater margins to be made. 

The Own Brand trend is one that’s close to our hearts and we’re relishing working with SE Grocers to design and communicate their own brand offering to customers. We’re sure that 2019 will see their shoppers answering the question ‘why pay more’, by putting SE Grocers Own Brand in their shopping trolleys! 

SE Grocers own brand breakfast promotion we designed for Winn-Dixie

SE Grocers own brand breakfast promotion we designed for Winn-Dixie

All in all, whether it’s advances in technology, brands going beyond, Own Brands rising or responses to the challenges of sustainability, we can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store... and as retail specialists, we love being at the centre of it. 

*CB Insights: Private labels rising

Jenna Myles