It’s been an interesting 10 months for the retail industry. Impacted severely by the coronavirus pandemic, retail leaders had to throw out their 2020 playbooks and start from scratch under immense pressure. Fresh off the heels of the holiday shopping season, retailers need to look deep to determine the 2020 trends and strategies they should embrace as we embark on this new era of retail.
During episodes of the Retail Remix podcast this month, host Alicia Esposito sat down with heavy hitters to touch on topics like retail pride, the future of marketplaces and Instagrammable shopping moments. Subscribe to the pod here to access these candid conversations on a weekly basis.
Redefining Company Culture
After the pandemic hit, frontline workers suddenly found themselves in a unique situation. When stores slowly reopened, they faced a world of new challenges, both in how to successfully engage with customers and how to keep themselves and their stores safe. That’s a lot to ask of a worker, especially one who didn’t sign up to be on the frontlines during a pandemic.
During the January 11 episode, Ron Thurston, author of Retail Pride: The Guide to Celebrating Your Accidental Career, shared powerful ways that employees at all levels can make a positive impact on the business. If you can create a culture of pride, one where employees are respected and championed, you’re one step closer to achieving passion and loyalty at all levels of your retail organization.
“Every part of this business requires us to understand what’s working, how to pivot, how to navigate a year like 2020 — but still create pride in what you do,” Thurston said.
Digitizing the Marketplace Model
One question has popped up consistently over the past year: How will COVID-19 change the in-store shopping experience? Safety restrictions and social distancing have drastically changed the way we shop in person, but that doesn’t mean customer engagement needs to take a backseat in the new in-store shopping experience.
During the January 18 episode, Mark Bollman, Founder and President of American Field (AF), gave an in-depth look at how his brand is expanding the magic of the marketplace shopping experience across all channels. While evolving in-person experiences for digital channels isn’t an easy feat, it’s a surefire way you can help keep community-driven commerce alive.
“It’s not just consuming,” Bollman said. “The act of shopping and exploring and touching and feeling — it’s something you do. So, I don’t think that’s going anywhere.”
Mastering the Instagrammable Moment
Social media, though imperfect, has allowed us to stay in contact with one another and feel a sense of community throughout the pandemic. Tons of experiential retailers rely on word-of-mouth and “Instagrammable” moments to build a community. When the pandemic hit, they had to quickly pivot to somehow keep the “social” aspect of social media alive when stores were closed or employing strict safety guidelines.
During the January 25 episode, Yasmeen Tadia, founder of Make Your Life Sweeter, discussed how she adapted her event business to create a luxury candy brand that brought experiential retail to the next level. She also shared her thoughts on the future of in-store events and experiential retail.
“When it comes to creating things that are Instagrammable, it’s about creating that memory for people,” Tadia said. “It’s more than just that photo that you’re taking.”