Today, of course, is the day after Thanksgiving. After all the turkey and stuffing … if you live in the U.S., you could be gearing up to buy gifts in store or online. The deals might be intriguing – and the quantities may be limited.
Rather than standing in line at the checkout counter, here’s a thought. In a season where tradition is key, retailers are setting new ones with the help of emerging products and services on this Black Friday.
Perspective is key, and we’ve got plenty of perspective for you to chew over, right alongside the extra turkey and fixin’s left over from the holiday.
You may have missed our coverage of a few of the retail innovators that are summed up below, arranged in no particular order, or perhaps you’ll want to revisit them anew. And maybe you’ll see insight flashing as bright as any fireplace you’ll see today, with the benefit of returning to the grind with a new perspective.
Wellness In A Subscription
Vitamins need regular restocking, and The Vitamin Shoppe has been offering them via subscription for the last two years. In a recent PYMNTS interview, Stacey Renfro, the company’s chief customer and digital experience officer, discussed why the merchant jumped into subscriptions and how it meets the unique challenge of bringing together physical storefronts with online subscription services.
Rethinking Conventional Retail Wisdom
It was hard to pick up any article about retail and not end up reading an obituary for a mall in 2014. In a recent conversation, b8ta founder and CEO Vibhu Norby told PYMNTS that the conventional wisdom, however, was misguided — something that think-piece writers started to realize by 2017 or so. The physical store wasn’t dead — at least not entirely. Shoppers weren’t done with physical retail; they just wanted something different.
Making Retail Into A ‘Live Instagram Account’
Physical retail may be going through some tough times, but it still has some life – if it can change with the times. In a recent PYMNTS interview, Co-founder Katie Hunt of SHOWFIELDS said when describing the company’s ideal experience, “It should almost feel like you are walking in a live Instagram account.” Hunt said, “You really want to experience a moment of time with the brand and their story. It should feel [like] you are just in their moment.”
Catching Counterfeits With Layers Of Technology
Sales of counterfeit goods, particularly on third-party sites that facilitate transactions between individual sellers and buyers, have increased with the dawn of online shopping. Vestiaire Collective, an online luxury fashion marketplace, has sought to resolve this challenge. In a recent interview with PYMNTS, the firm’s CEO, Maximilian Bittner, said, “Counterfeits affect less than 0.5 percent of all pieces sold on the site because we have several layers of verification before we even receive the item.”
The Strength of SMBs In Innovation
Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have both less capital and less room for error when it comes to a proposed upgrade, while most don’t have dedicated IT teams. While smaller retailers have those limitations, as Bulletin Co-founder and CEO Alana Branston noted in an interview with PYMNTS, they tend to be quite a bit more wired to move faster and more spryly, which can be a powerful drive to innovative approaches.
Shoes As A Currency
Shoe Bank lets users exchange shoes they no longer want to get a different pair from another user. With the company’s reCommerce platform, consumers can upload pictures of the shoes that they don’t wear and get credit for a new pair. “So every pair you upload will entitle you [to] another pair of shoes that you want,” Roni Harel, the company’s CEO and co-founder, told PYMNTS in a recent interview. If a consumer has a pair of Gucci shoes and a pair of Zara shoes, she can upload them both and receive two credits in exchange.
Customizable Eyeglasses Meet eCommerce
Pair Eyewear allows children to personalize their glasses — with the help of top frames that they can swap out. The company has built a page on its eCommerce website where kids see what the different colors look like and essentially build up their perfect pair. The exciting part about those products, Nathan Kondamuri, the company’s co-founder and CEO, said in an interview, is that “we’re building this relationship with families and kids,” where children are excited to come back to see the company’s new designs and styles.
Retailers know their relationship with customers is important. Get this relationship right, and consumers will be lining up at a retailer’s physical (or proverbial door) again and again – and not only on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.