News | 13/01/2022

The changing face of retail: why pandemic playbooks are here to stay

Posted by Lisa Seymour

We are all aware of the challenges the retail sector faced over the last two years. Bricks and mortar shops closed, online demand was sky high, and for many businesses, infrastructure was playing catch up. Two years in, some of the world’s largest luxury retailers are taking lessons learned through the pandemic and putting them into practice for 2022.

Has consumers’ e-commerce habit changed?

According to Bloomberg, European and US luxury brands are feeling bullish heading into 2022, and sales of luxury goods are expected to grow as much as 25% this year, compared with 2019.

There has been a change of pace when it comes to consumers’ e-commerce habits. Previously only used for smaller, lower-value items, people are now more confident in cyber security and online practices and so we’re seeing a rise in luxury goods being purchased online, something the pandemic has certainly accelerated. Whilst brands like Farfetch Ltd. and Bally have capitalised on this, brands like Chanel have not expanded to offer e-commerce, something that is attributed to the brand’s concerns about being unable to create the same experience online as they do in store.

Last year not only increased e-commerce interest and sales, but some brands were also quick to capitalise on selling virtual versions of their products so users can dress their online avatars across platforms like Roblox. Gucci and Ralph Lauren both reaped the rewards of this, opening their brand up to new audiences whilst allowing them to experience the brand in a new immersive way.

How can a digital strategy help?

So, what does all this mean for retail businesses in the UK? How can a digital strategy help you make the most of these new and emerging opportunities?

Here at Fox&Bear, we’re big believers in data-led storytelling. What we mean by this is not doing something for the sake of doing it, or because you think you should be doing it because someone else is. Do we think selling virtual products is right for everyone? No. But we do think it’s likely that your audience’s habits have changed over the last few years. If you’ve already got a marketing plan in place, here’s what we think you should do:

1. Review what you think you know!

When was the last time you truly delved deep into Google Analytics? Take time to review the data, see if there have been changes and see if there are new opportunities. Is there a new audience engaging with your brand? How are these potential customers engaging with your content and what would they like to see?

 2. Take this information and use it!

Sit down and re-visit your strategy. If it still all makes sense then crack on, but if you think there are improvements to be made based on new findings, make those changes.

3. Think big!

Where could your brand be in the next 12, 24, 36 months? What learnings can you take from the last two years that will help you improve your business or the way it runs?

There’s nothing we love more than analysing data (no, really, we’re actually telling the truth) so if you’re stuck with where to begin, or just need a little help dissecting the information, pick up the phone and say hello.