Friday Five, August 21: A Quick Summary Of The Top 5 Articles From This Week

08.21.2020 Articles

In the luxury retail space, the shopping experience is almost more important than the high-ticket products themselves. That’s why brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci are vying to incorporate machine learning, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality into their e-commerce strategies. Speaking of technology and experience, many retailers across the country are looking to offer wayfinding software as a way to provide a more efficient shopping experience and boost consumer confidence in the wake of COVID-19.

In today’s “Friday Five” blog from BDS, we explore all of that, plus the reality of back-to-school retail ad campaigns, the future of Manhattan’s status as an international shopping destination, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced consumers to switch brands and re-think relationship loyalty. Read below for a quick summary of the five top news stories from Forbes, Retail Dive, National Retail Federation, The Guardian, and Retail Touchpoints. And don’t forget to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

1) Relationship Goals: Luxury Retail And Technology Make A Perfect Combo For Customer

Forbes – August 15, 2020

For many years, luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci have been coveted not for practical or material purposes, but rather for emotional satisfaction and a sense of prestige. According to Forbes, “in most cases, having a luxury brand gives the consumer more satisfaction than the product’s economic value.” That said, the overall experience of shopping with a brand like Louis Vuitton or Gucci is just as important as the products themselves, if not more so. With about 80% of luxury sales happening online today, it’s essential for top brands to create an extraordinary e-commerce experience, and technology such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality is a huge part of that equation. By investing in industry-leading e-commerce technology, luxury brands can continue to create ultra-personalized shopping experiences in the digital space.

2) Retailers’ Back-To-School Ads Resonate By Empathizing With Uncertainty, Study Finds

Retail Dive – August 17, 2020

Although back-to-school plans vary state by state, many kids across the country returned to the classroom in some capacity this week. According to a new study from Ace Metrix, “Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney are among the brands running back-to-school campaigns that empathize with, but do not dwell on, pandemic-related uncertainty.” In past years, back-to-school ads focused primarily on a positive and lighthearted return to normalcy after a long summer away from friends and teachers, but “normalcy” has been thrown out the window in 2020. Instead, “this year, brands are facing a different scenario where depicting something as simple as returning to school or showing kids gathered in crowds can be perceived as insensitive.” Despite the ongoing uncertainty, this year’s retail sales are still expected to break the 2012 record of $30.3 billion.

3) How Wayfinding Technology Could Reduce Time In Stores And COVID Risk

National Retail Federation – August 12, 2020

Consumers have a need to feel safe and comfortable while shopping in-store, which is why mask requirements, social distance signage, and delivery and pickup options are becoming more popular. Another innovation that’s also on the rise is wayfinding technology that helps shoppers quickly find items and expedite their shopping experience without any social interaction. One such option? SIRL, an indoor GPS system that makes stores searchable with step-by-step guidance. According to NRF, “SIRL’s wayfinding system can navigate customers within 12 inches of a product and provide optimized routes for shopping lists so they can find products with the shortest path through the store.” Not only does wayfinding technology provide a more efficient shopping experience, but it can also help retailers obtain real-time actionable insights and visualize shopper behavior and product performance.

4) For Manhattan’s Retail Industry Normal May Never Return

The Guardian – August 15, 2020

Once a major international shopping destination, Manhattan is facing a crisis as retail stores struggle to attract shoppers and pay sky-high rent prices. According to The Guardian, “in June, data research group Zenreach forecast that visitors to the shops, restaurants and bars, event venues and so on that keep Manhattan, and other prime retail and entertainment areas, alive, would return to close to normal by September 2020.” However, as the virus continues to spread, experts agree that New York City’s famous shopping scene many not make a comeback until 2021, at least. According to The Guardian, many industry experts argue that COVID-19 didn’t cause the demise of NYC retail, it just accelerated its inevitable doom. To make a real recovery, stores need to focus on creating unforgettable experiences that can’t be replicated online.

5) Exclusive Q&A: Customer Loyalty Expert Shares New Realities For Brands

Retail Touchpoints – August 17, 2020

Winning and keeping customer loyalty has been a long-standing challenge, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced consumers to switch brands for new reasons: price, scarcity and availability. Robert Passikoff, Founder and President of Brand Keys, a brand loyalty and customer engagement consultancy, recently sat down with Retail Touchpoints to discuss how the loyalty space is evolving, what new factors consumers are considering, and how social issues may impact brand perception in the future. Notably, Robert said that the “Rule of Six” still applies in today’s uncertain market. In other words, “the greater the emotional engagement, bond and loyalty a customer has with a brand [makes them] six times more likely to behave better toward the brand.” Additionally, “they’re also six times more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt in uncertain circumstances.”

We hope you enjoyed this weeks “Friday Five”! Did we miss any big news developments? Let us know in the comments below, or on any of the BDS social media channels such as Instagram or Twitter @BDSmktg. We love to hear feedback from our community of industry professionals. Until next week!