In an article, Forbes recently compared the retail industry to the Grateful Dead in the 1980s. At that time, a band’s success was rooted in their ability to sell records. Concerts were merely a vehicle for pushing record sales. The Grateful Dead left that model behind; their music was free, and their fans were free to spend on concerts and merchandise. As Forbes says, “They realized that the product wasn’t the album, but the experience.”
In a similar way, retailers who are making an impression and boosting their brand loyalty among customers are those who understand that just pushing product isn’t enough anymore. Instead, customers want an experience, and they want retailers to make an impression that transcends the goods in their shopping carts.
Warby Parker is one of the most significant e-commerce retailers today. While the prescription eye wear brand is young (founded in 2010), it has catapulted to the forefront of the retail industry and has begun building a brick-and-mortar presence. What is it about the business that made it such a hit with consumers? Below we take a look at three of the most significant reasons why:
1.) Their vision (pun intended). Warby Parker effectively does two things with every transaction. They recognized that almost all eye wear was produced by one manufacturer that was keeping the glasses at unnecessarily high costs. So they made the glasses in-house, cut costs, and offered their vintage-inspired frames at low prices. And when they show those prices, they do so with small, rounded numbers ($95, not $94.99), in readable type.
A 2016 study by Dotcom Distribution, Driving Customer Loyalty With Fast Delivery and Quality Packaging, has effectively surveyed consumers and found that much of what drives them, relates back not just to the product, but also to the aesthetic quality of the brand. Branding makes products more enticing to the customer, that much is clear.
“Our most recent data helps retailers identify how they can increase brand loyalty via shipping practices, as well as how customer expectations are increasing year-over-year,” said Maria Haggerty, CEO of Dotcom Distribution. “E-commerce is taking over the retail market, so brands must ensure they take advantage of the opportunity to deliver… in the most personal way.”
As the holidays approach, they bring with them one of the largest shopping seasons of the year. According to two separate retail trade groups there’s good news on the horizon for retailers: consumers are estimated to spend more, and spend it faster despite distractions like unpredictable weather and the recent presidential election.
In a press release at the beginning of October, the National Retail Federation predicated that sales during the holiday season will increase by 3.6%, reaching $655.8 billion, which is markedly higher than the ten-year average of 2.5%.
The landscape of retail is ever-evolving. There is a current tension showing that while e-commerce grows and grows, the physical storefront still absolutely matters to customers. Sure, it’s changing – brick-and-mortar stores are increasingly becoming smaller in relative square-feet – but consumers are attached to the traditional. Which leads us to wonder if perhaps entertainment and retail will become more interconnected than ever before.
On 10th Avenue in New York City, there’s a new store gift store called STORY. The store’s concept is aimed at creating and selling experience, just as much as it does tangible products. The store’s theme changes constantly, and all items within the store change to reflect that theme.