I recently watched WGSN's Stores in 2024 webinar, which was absolutely fascinating! As per WGSN fashion, the webinar was a well-thought-out exploration of what is to come in 2024 in terms of in-store experiences and what brands should consider for their brick-and-mortar operations in the new year.
WGSN's retail industry overview notable mentions:
- Building brand awareness in wonderful, out-of-the-box (pun intended) ways, as in the case of Documents Perfume’s Yuyuan Study.
- The museumification of brick-and-mortar locations (which I’m here for).
- Tech being used in On’s NYC outlet to help store associates provide shoppers with a more personalized (remember, 2024 buzzword!) experience.
-lululemon’s recent dupe trade-in.
All the upcoming trends and insights were exciting but I kept thinking to myself, do retailers even have their in-store basics down pat before getting into all this fancy stuff?
Most large stores I go to in London’s high streets make me want to jump out of a window because of the overwhelming amounts of people, lack of staff and basic customer-service resources, and the tired, overworked cash wraps (tills) with lines that wrap endlessly with two sad people (not their fault) behind a wall of 15 cash registers.
Going into a large store in London at the moment feels more like a chore than an experience that would peel me away from my computer unless I have the luxury of shopping at a super high-end store. From The Business of Fashion’s Imran Amed’s recent op-ed, I believe luxury customers are dealing with similar woes. Photo of a massive line (queue) outside of Louis Vuitton in Paris as a case in point.
Like, I walked into a Sweaty Betty store recently in my local high street and they did not sell gym towels. I can get a glittery sports bra but nothing to wipe my brow. I can’t fit into their stuff anyway.
As retailers, let’s get the essentials down before we go all out on splashy stuff!
Repeat to yourself:
- Quality, well-thought selection, easily accessible and neatly presented.
- Simple and clear store signage to the cash registers, fitting rooms, bathrooms, you get it…
- An adequate amount of store associates who are not overworked, who feel valued and properly trained to do their jobs, cause tech breaks and often!
- A simple, easy, seamless checkout process. Yes, Uniqlo is a good example here, with fancy stuff working properly.
- And a straightforward method for both online and offline returns that don’t make the customer feel like crap. An environmentally friendly method is preferred. Please and thank you.