It’s an exciting time in retail. While we at Miller Zell always feel that way, 2023 is going to bring so much change that it feels like the slow climb of a roller coaster to the top just before the first plunge.
This week, I get to sit down with nationally recognized retail expert Carol Spieckerman, who recently invited me to her podcast. She’s hosting a panel of experts in Miller Zell’s offices to discuss high-impact themes, trends and topics hitting retail in the coming year.
Some of the things we’ll explore include:
- The right balance of experience vs. efficiency. People expect fast and seamless purchasing experiences — “in and out and back home.” But in others, they want the focus to be on the experience, and the buying happens as an afterthought.
- Which tech is the right tech? With so many experts touting “the experience,” it’s easy to want to use the latest tech to wow customers. But what is the right tech vs. the latest tech?
- Smaller footprint, bigger impact. Store footprints are shrinking. Some brands are creating smaller stores but are planning for bigger impact by using technology and a few other practical tactics.
- In keeping with smaller footprints, pop-up shops, store within stores and other variations on the standard store, we’ll talk through how some brands are using dual brands in shared space.
- Rise and fall of flagship store. Brands are now trending to spend across all store sets vs. all-in-one for a single location. How are some brands tackling it both ways and what are the ins and outs of it?
- Consumer expectations of brick & mortar/digital cohesion. Although retailers often track digital and stores sales separately — and often need to — consumers are increasingly blurring the lines that separate digital and in-store. What do they expect and what will they not tolerate?
- Elevating the employee experience. With the great resignation and the slower than expected return to work, the employee experience is as important (and related to) the customer journey.
- Direct-to-consumer (DTC) changing strategy. Some brands are closing their store within stores (ex., Ralph Lauren) to have their own direct-to-consumer stores, following the online to brick & mortar tracks of brands like Allbirds, Warby Parker, etc.
- New buying patterns and how that affects store planning. Delivery/pick-up/curbside have all changed the way consumers expect to shop from stores. Brands have adapted in various ways to account for the massive shift in store visit purpose.
- Rethinking shopping mindsets. What are new and powerful influences for buying behavior now — sustainability, convenience, experience, DE&I, purpose and corporate presence are the new core of influence factors.
I’m looking forward to getting to solid ground on these and more so we can have a spring in our retail step going into 2023.
Panelists will offer points of view from an environmental design lens (Miller Zell SVP & Creative Director Tom Ertler) and how business development can plan accordingly (Miller Zell SVP Sales & National accounts Michael Larkin), as well as ways strategy can plan now while also ensuring they are guiding brands on the road ahead.
We’ll be sure to share some of the highlights of our discussion over the coming weeks.