Pops of Pink and a Dash of Taylor Swift: Resolutions Retailers Must Make for 2024

Resolutions Retailers Must Make for 2024

A few years ago, many consumers focused on enhancing their beauty routines, setting up home offices, and engaging in at-home fitness activities, with companies like Mirror, Peloton and Tonal gaining popularity due to the pandemic.

The trend prompted brands and retailers to emphasize health and wellness, whether through specialized skincare selections or savvy takeovers. Lululemon, for instance, flexed its retail muscles by snagging Mirror.

However, as COVID restrictions eased, consumers returned to traditional gyms, challenging the survival of at-home fitness solutions. Now, as we approach the end of 2023, a year marked by inflation and fluctuating consumer spending habits, the question arises: What resolutions will brands and retailers adopt to navigate the challenges and evolution of consumer preferences?

Here are some suggestions from PYMNTS, drawing inspiration from retail developments in 2023.

When Grocery Sales Are Not Enough, Make a Romcom

The latest statement from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon indicated a cautious outlook for 2024, prompting Walmart to turn to shoppable videos reminiscent of the Hallmark Channel for a boost.

The retail giant collaborated with TikTok and Roku to introduce its inaugural shoppable series, announced in November. Mirroring the classic Hallmark holiday movie formula where a professional woman discovers love during Christmas in her hometown, the 23-part series titled “Add to Heart” allows viewers to follow the storyline while also providing an opportunity to buy the products featured on screen.

“When customers find something they love during an ad break, they can simply press arrows on the remote to browse the interactive onscreen product carousel and scan a QR code to easily checkout on Walmart.com,” Walmart said in a statement at the time.

Unbox in-Store Experiences

Even with some relief from inflation, consumers are still exercising caution in their spending habits. This has led to challenges for direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, prompting them to reconsider and update their once-successful strategies. Consequently, many of these brands are exploring opportunities in traditional retail.

Caraway, a cookware seller, is one such D2C brand that has made the shift to traditional retail. Its products are now available at The Container Store, marking a transition from its online-only model. Caraway’s complete range of pots, pans and bakeware can now be found in approximately 80 The Container Store locations.

In 2022, the brand began its collaboration with The Container Store by unveiling its cookware set in five stores. Building on the success of this initial introduction, Caraway sought to expand and deepen the partnership.

While the move appears beneficial for the brand, it also proves advantageous for the retailer. Specifically, in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, The Container Store reported consolidated net sales of $207.1 million, reflecting a 21.1% decrease compared to the corresponding period in FY22. As a result, the retailer has purportedly been exploring ways to revitalize its product offerings to attract more customers.

Find a Way to Include Pink and Taylor Swift

Even though a collaboration with Barbie hasn’t completely turned around Gap’s profitability, as shown in a recent earnings report, it has generated momentum. In June, Barbie was everywhere, and according to PYMNTS, it took over retail marketing.

Richard Dickson, the recently appointed president and CEO of Gap, said he remains optimistic about the brand’s competitiveness. According to Dickson, Gap has effectively shifted to a more profitable model and improved its retail presence by closing several stores. Moreover, the brand has adopted a capital-light international franchise approach, establishing partnerships in both the Chinese and European markets.

In September, PYMNTS reported that Taylor Swift’s attendance at a Kansas City Chiefs game to watch football player Travis Kelce wasn’t just a hot topic online; it became a point of discussion during Nike’s earnings call in September.

While the Nike team didn’t provide a direct response, it is noteworthy that, according to sports apparel and fan merchandise retailer Fanatics, Kelce’s jersey ranked among the top five in NFL jersey sales that Sunday. A spokesperson for Fanatics shared with the Associated Press that Kelce experienced a nearly 400% surge in sales across the Fanatics network of websites, including NFLShop.com.

Focus on Customer Value

If you didn’t pick up on an echo in the current retail landscape this quarter, you might not be fully tuned in. The dominant theme for the quarter has been centered around delivering customer value, and that’s precisely the sentiment echoed by Dollar General (and many others) throughout its most recent earnings report.

“We are getting back to the basics here at Dollar General,” CEO Todd Vasos said during the retailer’s latest earnings call earlier this month.

Other retailers to harp on customer value included: Best Buy, which looked to become more intentional with its retail experience; Nordstrom, which has been progressively exploring discounts as a strategic approach; and Kohl’s, which is finding that customers value the retailer’s partnership with Sephora.

In the realm of luxury, namely Farfetch and Matchesfashion, both platforms have encountered challenges in delivering value to customers. Consequently, both eCommerce platforms are seeking financial assistance and guidance from investors.

When All Else Fails, Rebrand

Navigating the realm of rebranding can be precarious, but Overstock.com identified an opportunity to align itself with a retailer possessing enduring consumer brand recognition: Bed Bath & Beyond.

In June, the online home furnishing seller concluded its $21.5 million acquisition of Bed Bath & Beyond’s intellectual property. The move not only involved adopting the name but also embracing the iconic big blue approach and coupon strategy associated with Bed Bath & Beyond.

“We’ve taken a name that’s beloved and a business model that wasn’t working to bring Bed Bath and Beyond to the 21st century where brick and mortar is tougher, online is better and mobile is a way that people want to shop,” Jonathan Johnson, then CEO of Overstock, said during an interview with Karen Webster on the heels of its Q2 2023 earnings call.

He added that if customers want name brands, that’s what they’ll get.

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