There is no doubt that the world of retail has been evolving at a crazy, rapid pace. Though there are some innovations in the outdoor sport industry, it’s always refreshing to take a look outside our niche and see what other industries are doing. We’ve rounded up four trends that we’re witnessing successful retailers adopting, and it begs the question: how can these be applied to your brand?
Transparent retailers are flourishing
As a frequent shopper at Everlane, I’m drawn to their transparent ecommerce experience. Founded in 2010, Everlane was one of the first brands to prioritize ecommerce and supply-chain transparency. Now, online retailers that cut prices by eliminating middlemen are a dime a dozen—but Everlane has figured out how to leverage their first-to-the-party experience. In 2016, Everlane debuted a number of new shoes, with 6,500 shoppers adding their names to the Modern Oxford waitlist before the item even went on sale. Their belief in “radical transparency” is certainly part of the equation.
Who’s doing that well in our industry? Patagonia, of course. They’ve built their brand on sustainability, and their transparency model is particularly easy to follow when shopping online.
Consumers are craving unique in-store experiences
Crate + Barrel is a frequently quoted example. They recently tested a program called “Mobile Tote” in which shoppers browse the shelves using store-provided tablets. Customers can use the tablets to scan barcodes and learn additional information about products, add items to wishlists, and enlist the help of sales associates in gathering those wishlist items.
In our industry, National Geographic is in the process of developing “Museum Retail” locations in China. According to a National Geographic press release, the Shenyang and Hengqin centers (with the former set to open in Summer 2017) will “offer a unique opportunity to play and explore through themed attractions, interactive demonstrations, and hands-on workshops in a fun and immersive environment that ignites kids’ curiosity about the world.”
The National Geographic-branded “Museum Retail” locations will fuse education with retail, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the National Geographic Society’s nonprofit work.
Bigger is not better
Evolving consumer preferences are pushing “big box” retailers to focus their attentions on smaller-format stores. When it comes to store size, less is more. Analysts are already reporting a shift here, with retail giants such as Target, Best Buy and Ikea investing in smaller-format stores to accommodate consumers’ desires for more curated selections.
In our industry, FGL Sports is also following the trend. Earlier this year, the corporation’s largest banner, Sport Chek, opened a women’s-focused concept store in Calgary—a first for the brand. The smaller space allows the brand to connect with their core female consumers and give women a new, more personalized experience. Merchandised by category and activity, the store also includes a dedicated team sports area, bra destination and women’s only footwear wall.
Same-day shipping is the new standard
A recent study by Temando found that “80% of shoppers surveyed want same-day shipping, while 61% want their packages even faster—within 1–3 hours of placing an order.”
Obviously, same-day shipping isn’t always the most practical option for retailers and there are many logistical factors to consider. However, shoppers’ demand for lightning-fast delivery is here to stay, so retailers will have an increasing need to find ways to meet that demand.
Who’s doing this in our industry? Not a lot of you. REI is offering same-day shipping and a handful of retailers are starting to get on board, but there’s room for many more players to venture into this new, unexplored space.
Interested in more retail insights? In an upcoming article, we’ll interview outdoor sport participants around North America about their retail preferences, expectations and dreams.