New York retail or the balance between experimentation and profitability

New York is a playground for innovative retailers. Emerging trends include NFTs, recommerce, community building, personalization… but also a focus on profitability. Let’s take a look at the world’s largest retail event with a look at some of the most important store concepts.

Evolutions, not revolutions

The NRF Retail Big Show in New York, the annual meeting place for retailers from all over the world, has just concluded. What are the emerging trends and what can European retailers learn from the New York shopping scene? Let’s take a look back with Nino Bergfeld, retail consultant at Salesforce.

“It had been three years since I had visited the stores in New York and, frankly, I didn’t feel like much had changed. We haven’t seen breakthrough innovations, but improvements that streamline the customer journey. Retailers are improving omnichannel processes: integration of the physical store with e-commerce platforms, in-store delivery, in-store order pick-up… These are evolutions, not revolutions. In Whole foods market OfAmazonia, we saw a new payment method: pay with the palm of your hand, which is linked to your credit card. »

NFTs attract young customers

“You notice that New York is a kind of ‘bubble’ that companies see as a privileged playground for testing innovations, even if not all innovations are successful. NFTs (non-fungible tokens, or unique digital files, ed) Will they be successful? No one knows, but they try and it’s interesting to see. For example, it could be a way to increase consumer engagement. We visited the new shop of the luxury shoe brand Salvatore Ferragamo in SoHo. They have an NFT builder in the shop, just like a photo booth – you take a photo and receive your own personalized NFT in your crypto wallet. This is how Ferragamo wants to reach a new, younger audience. »

Sustainability is also a recurring theme in many retailers. But how do you bring this to life in the shop? The shoe brand Golden goose has an in-store “repair shop” where customers can have their old shoes, including those from other brands, cleaned, refurbished, and customized. In short, the shop as a hub of sustainability.

The shop as a meeting place

The conclusion is this: in the age of digitization, the physical store must find a different interpretation. It is often easier to buy online: you have more choice and convenience. Retailers have to offer something you can’t find online. Building communities will be one of the new roles of physical stores. In New York, retailers are ahead of their European counterparts in this regard, Bergfeld notes.

“A prime example is the boutique PetCo’s Reddy in SoHo: caters specifically to dog owners and dog lovers. The pet food manufacturer uses the shop not only as a point of sale, but also as a meeting place for dog lovers. Here you can organize birthday parties for your dog, even for free. You notice that the store employees know the name of every dog ​​that enters. They invest in the relationship, in the close bond with their customers and between the dog owners themselves. Then they use the store to create unique experiences that you can’t get online. »

Focus on retention

At the NRF exhibition, Mr. Bergfeld has found that retailers are focusing heavily on efficiency in all aspects of the business. “In e-commerce, for example, you’re seeing more and more retailers looking to charge shipping or returns to become profitable online. They guide consumers towards business-friendly and margin-friendly behaviors: for example, by linking a loyalty program to returns. For example, you can reward consumers for returning the product to the store instead of sending it. It is also more resistant. »

Bergfeld also notes that many companies are moving away from customer acquisition to focus more on retention. They are starting to use data for activation and to advertise in a smarter and more targeted way. “If a customer is not satisfied, he has just bought or returned something, why spend a euro on retargeting when he risks not converting? Personalization works: an anonymous shipping notification is not a good experience. If you customize it, with detailed updates, you can improve customer retention. »

Maintain credibility

In the fashion industry in particular, retailers talk a lot about sustainability and renegotiate or second hand. This “reverse logistics” presents a major challenge; it is a different business model than buying and selling. ‘You want it to be meaningful and transparent, but also to preserve credibility: no’greenwashing‘, but really think about recycling, repairing and reselling on your platform. This way you keep the entire ecosystem in your hands, otherwise you lose it anyway Won. Zalando the fact, Patagonia even for some time. »

Salesforce itself was able to announce a partnership with walmart during the NRF event: together, the two companies will optimize the omnichannel approach of the American market leader, with transparent solutions for click&collect and local delivery from stores. The IT company also introduced new tools to personalize the shopping experience and deliver retail media in a more targeted manner based on customer data.

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