Retail is an ever-evolving business that never stands still. Retailers are continuously implementing new techniques to ameliorate the customer experience or to improve their workflow. Again and again, they are looking for new ways to further improve their business and to become one of those iconic creat. Many companies are planning on going full digital. Others are trying to go off the beaten track by choosing for a pop-up store. There is not one way to achieve retail success. You might ask yourself, ‘What are they doing differently? And how are they doing it?’. Apt remark that we’ll further investigate in this blogpost. We’ll provide you with some disruptive techniques and some explanatory examples. Ready to follow in the footsteps of these five creative retailers?
(Source: Rebecca Minkoff)
One of these creative retailers is Rebecca Minkoff. The retailer’s regular customers are millennials. This generation grew up as digital natives and they use their smartphone constantly. “In the store, the majority of them immediately pull up our app or pull up our site. Then, they start looking for that exact product to read about the ratings and reviews and they might see if it isn’t in-store” says Emily Culp, SVP eCommerce & Omni-Channel Marketing at Rebecca Minkoff. The fashion retailer has created an experience for their customers to save their fitting room sessions.
For example, a customer walks into a fitting room with two or three dresses. She can then save her fitting room session to her smartphone, so she doesn’t have to make a purchase immediately. The customer can go back home, and can buy the items she tried on during her fitting room session from her phone. Because the fashion retailer implemented this technique, they’ve seen “a six to seven time increase in ready-to-wear sales in a period of time of five to six months”. Extraordinary results if you ask us!
The next on our list of creative retailers is Everlane. Michael Preysman, the company’s CEO, founded the online fashion company in 2010. The core of the business? Create high-quality basic apparel like soft cashmere sweaters, cotton T-shirts and solid denim jeans. And all of that for a reasonable price. In addition, the brand partners “with the best, ethical factories around the world. Source only the finest materials. And share those stories with you—down to the true cost of every product we make. It’s a new way of doing things. We call it Radical Transparency.” This Radical Transparency is an essential part of Everlane.
Last February, Everlane focused its efforts on an additional channel: the fashion retailer opened a minimalist pop-up store. Its message, however, is still the same across all its channels – social media, website, or the brand’s pop-up store. Everlane communicates with radical transparency.
Moreover, this communication happens on an extremely personal basis. Whenever customers want to order a product, but that product appears to be sold out, they add their name to a waiting list. When Everlane introduced new ballet-inspired heels in 2017, 28,000 people added their names to the waiting list. And Preysman was involved with drafting every single email. Clear, straightforward and personal communication is thus of the utmost importance for Everlane.
Retail is not just about selling products or services anymore. The industry has much more to offer and Jeep understood this completely correct. Last year, the car dealer made clear that selling vehicles isn’t restricted to certain routes. How did Jeep go off the beaten track? With an AR app.
Together with Accenture, Jeep developed an Augmented Reality application, called the Jeep Compass visualizer. The app allowed customers to discover the latest Jeep model before it was available in the physical showroom. Visitors could walk around, look at the interior of the new model and could even customize their virtual vehicle. Moreover, when visitors moved in the showroom the virtual car moved on the app as well.
This is an incredibly creative and smart way to direct the attention to products that aren’t available yet. By introducing the Jeep Compass model in AR, customers can already get excited to see the upcoming model in the showroom. And, above all, this app is an alternative and creative channel to communicate with customers in a different and disruptive way.
(Source: Stitch Fix)
Creative retailers are not only innovative in the way they design products. They also disrupt the industry by using different techniques such as data collection and personalization. Stitch Fix, the online subscription company, does both. The retailer been growing and growing over the years and now has more than 2 million users worldwide! Stitch Fix is your personal stylist and helps you pick out new clothes and accessories. How does an online brand even know what my style is like, you might ask. Through algorithms.
Stitch Fix business model is fairly simple. You fill out a style profile, completely with your size and personal preferences. Then, Stitch Fix delivers your tailored package to your doorstep. And the last step is easy. You decide what you like and what you didn’t. Send back the mismatched items – for free – and the algorithms employed by Stitch Fix will slowly learn what your style preferences are.
What makes them different from other retailers? “We’re not upselling you belts that match that blouse you just added to your cart, or touting a certain brand because you’ve bought it before. Instead we make unique and personal selections by combining data and machine learning with expert human judgment”, says Katrina Lake, CEO of Stitch Fix. And, Stitch Fix keeps on underlining the fact that a human touch is essential to the business. People are the core of any successful retail business and with Stitch it’s no different.
This brand might be the odd one out, but hear us out, LEGO definetly deserves a spot in this list. The brand recently launched some inspiring initiatives, combining creativity and the latest innovative technologies. One initiative, for example, called LEGO Boost, lets children bring their designs to life through an app. The children, for instance, build a robot in LEGO and can use the app to let the robot move. An amazing interactive experience to get children excited about technology!
The other idea that LEGO implemented is LEGO Life. Again, an app, but specifically designed with children in mind. “It’s the place for all your LEGO builds. The place to be inspired, informed and challenged. The place to see LEGO stuff. LEGO Life is more than an app for your smart device it’s the place for a safe and friendly community of LEGO fans”, says LEGO. In short, a social network for children where they are able to express their creative in a safe environment.
Creative retailers are winning the game.
Retail is a tough business. But some retailers are extremely good at what they’re doing and there’s one common factor that’s helping them win. The answer? Technology. If you want to win over new customers, or convince existing customers that you are creative, you must – in one way or another – implement technology. You can choose to go full out like Rebecca Minkoff with interactive mirrors in their store. Or, you can opt for Stitch Fix’s technique to use customer data for the perfect, tailored online shopping experience.
Whatever technique you choose, it’s important as a retailer to stay up to date. Implement the latest technologies in your retail business like data, smart mirrors, augmented reality or an app. Use these technologies to improve your business and to convince customers. Ready to win?