US retail winners during 2018
By Frank Weil, Chief Customer Officer, KWI
There’s no question that retail had a big year. We’ve seen exciting new brands come to market, while blue chip legacy retailers closed their doors. There’s been new innovation in the way we shop, search and pay, and technology has pushed the envelope in terms of new experiences, customisation and overall customer service.
Here’s a look back at the biggest winners in retail in 2018 that will likely continue to prove successful in the year ahead.
It’s impossible to talk about retail without mentioning Amazon. While much has been written about the company killing retail, we need to recognise how much it has accomplished to push the industry forward to refocus on customer service, product offering and perhaps making smaller retailers realise that it’s OK to not be a one-stop-shop for everything.
It has done some really interesting things with its own product lines, doubling down on its own brands to create products that it knows customers are searching for. And the Alexa products continue to evolve and be at the forefront of voice and video. It has also spent time to refocus on building out individual brand shops to create a more curated experience, with retailers like Lego and Samsung creating their own storefronts on the site.
Open your Instagram feed and guarantee you’ll be met with new specialised brands being pushed through advertising or paid influencers. Direct-to-consumer brands like Away, ThirdLove, Allbirds and Brandless have been garnering attention for their innovative marketing, niche product selection and a focus on quality and community.
It’s been interesting to watch as these brands grow from DTC to opening pop-up shops or permanent physical locations, with some setting their sights on global expansion.
Having just been crowned Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year, Nike has been winning accolades for its dedication to brand purpose and its risk for having Colin Kaepernick as its narrator for its 30th anniversary of “Just do it” TV spot.
There’s no doubt the brand takes risks in its marketing, but it also had a good year in products and retail. New reports that the Nike Vaporfly shoe may help its wearers run faster and the launch of the Nike House of Innovation in Shanghai show a commitment to technological innovation and customisation.
Bricks and mortar retailers large and small are finding that mobilePOS improves their customer experience offering. With reduced wait times, enhanced security, freeing up of floor space and paperless receipts, more and more sales teams will become mobile. In fact, Walmart recently reported it is rolling out mobile PoS devices to all supercentres in the US after a successful pilot at its US garden centres.