The retail of tomorrow
Fashion is a singular world, and its codes require it to relentlessly renew itself. And retail is one of those domains in which it is critical to know how to adapt. In recent years, the retail business and the client experience have evolved more than ever, and both have become increasingly complex to be part of. That naturally leads to the question of how to analyse the perspectives for sales in upcoming years. Let’s take a look at the different near-term mutations that are being imagined for retail.
If there’s one space that the mutation of retail is influencing, it’s the societal space! Indeed, amongst the main sales pillars, the consumer is in the pole position. As of now, the values of our society are so anchored in the collective spirit that it is imperative to take them into consideration in a unique way. The consumer is not only passive, but also an actor in the sales process. That is why we speak in terms of “the act of buying.” Therefore, certain notions and values need to be integrated into the foundation of retail. One of them is the notion of responsibility. The very act of consuming is now being considered within the greater context of reasonable purchasing, authenticity, and transparency; so brands must adapt and propose services that meet these expectations. Making the manufacturing process accessible, favouring ambassadors with solid values, offering rental or secondhand; these are just some perspectives that can help rebuild tomorrow’s retail landscape. Because yes, in addition to rethinking distribution models, the very act of selling is a key step in this mutation. A recent study by Paris Retail Week shows that one out of two consumers purchased something secondhand in the past six months. A figure that speaks loudly and more importantly a clear harbinger of big changes to come!
The physical point-of-sale, retail’s anchor
In spite of the development of new technologies and social media, physical sales still have plenty of sunny days ahead. Sometimes seen as an opening to a website, it is essentiel to know how to mobilise all sales channels, and this one is capital. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, in the five next years 75% - 85% of sales are expected continue to take place in a boutique. Starting from this premise, knowing how to make the client experience the most desirable possible is absolutely necessarily now in the quest to deeply reinvent wholesale commerce. And that starts at the point-of-sale! Indeed, purchases nowadays are being made in a more thoughtful but also more critical manner. A boutique is the retail space par excellence, but it also provides a brand the chance to demonstrate its expertise and its values, and a way to valorise its products. In this way, the physical point-of-sale will become a place of contact, of client experience, but also of capitalisation. As the explosion of pop-up stores over recent years has shown us, the notion of a physical shop is ripe for reinvention.
Retail : make the customer experience special
To reinvent itself, retail must take the customer experience into consideration. Between the need to test/try on, the possibility to post photos on social media, or the desire to discover a special place, the client experience must be as unique as possible. In fact, in this digital era, the retail of tomorrow must know how to enable the customer to experience everything that they are expecting, and help him/her experience emotions conducive to the image of the brand: set up an “instagrammable” wall, organise after-hours events, set aside a cozy corner, personalise certain pieces, like with initials, etc. Retail must not make the customer feel like a random consumer. This is even more important given the evolution of contactless payment and facial recognition (which is starting to be adopted in the United States,) both of which de-humanize the act of buying. More than offering just a boutique, the customer experience must give the impression of taking place in a space that is alive and kicking, providing a good reason to leave home to go to a boutique. And perhaps that is the definition of the retail of tomorrow?
Know how to present itself
Retail is by definition linked to a brand’s image, more so than ever when the future of retail is evoked. The idea is to highlight the brand’s values and manufacturing process, but also use images and digital tools to talk about its point-of-sale. Instagram, Pinterest, influencers, etc.; so many platforms and means that allow a brand to increase its visibility, as well as incite the desire to buy its products, or to go and feel the customer experience on-site. If retail must constantly reinvent itself, the next few years will be all about transparency, the consumer, and the fun aspect of the customer experience. In short, a new world to (re)invent!Photography : HAST / JAGVI / OCTOBRE / RAFFINEURS / BASUS