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Retailers, Have We Forgotten Something?

Line (queue) of several people wearing lot of black clothing outside of Louis Vuitton's flagship store in Paris.
Line (queue) outside of Louis Vuitton's flagship store in Paris.

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.

Contact me if you want to chat - I have 26 years of this stuff!
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