The retail industry is experiencing rapid change, and retailers today have to innovate to find success or get left behind. The rise of e-commerce, new millennial spending power and shopping behavior, among other factors, have contributed to the shifting retail landscape.
Thriving in this retail environment takes a high degree of innovation. But for those who are able to distinguish themselves from the masses, there’s enormous potential to win over loyal customers and drive higher revenues.
The Most Innovative Retailers in 2018
Only the most innovative brands capture the attention of today’s consumers. Leading the way into the future of retail, there are 7 companies that stand out:
Nordstrom is constantly testing out new retail strategies and are innovators in many different ways. In Los Angeles, they have a store that carries no inventory – all orders are picked up at the Nordstrom Local store within two hours of placing an order at the store. They also have personal shoppers and allow for product pick up 24/7. Nordstrom goes above and beyond the typical retail experience in a number of ways.
Brideside sells dresses for bridesmaids, but differs greatly from other dress stores. Rather than investing heavily in real estate, Brideside invests in expert stylists that give fashion advice to brides and bridesmaids. This may occur at a studio owned by Brideside, or at may even happen in the comfort of the bride’s own home where the stylists will be available virtually. Brideside facilitates the process of buying dresses from start to finish with very little investment in real estate, using technology in the place of stores.
It may be strange thinking of Walmart as a retail innovator, but recently they’ve been making great strides in attempting to compete with Amazon. Walmart recently unveiled “Scan & Go” technology for self-checkout. It’s developed a technology to predict the shelf life of products, and it’s even introducing a cashier-less store, just like Amazon’s. These technologies have repercussions throughout the retail industry.
Aerie, a subsidiary of American Eagle selling beauty products, has been an innovative brand in the retail space. A few years ago, they stopped using the stereotypical models for their ads and began using untouched photos of real woman. This was part of a hard push to promote body-positivity and natural beauty in advertising. This innovative branding has worked out well, with the parent company reporting 15 consecutive quarters of positive growth.
Sephora, the seller of beauty products, is a perpetual innovator in the retail space. One of their latest innovations is the use of a revolutionary new augmented reality (AR) mobile app that allows potential customers to try on make up before they go into a store to buy it. This same app also lets these customers find new, daring looks outside of their comfort zone. Sephora is a quick adopter of new technology and constantly staying ahead of the game.
Amazon is anything but a traditional retailer – nearly every industry they touch is disrupted in one way or another – and all retailers today must compete with Amazon. Prime Wardrobe, along with a few other clothing retailers, addressed the biggest problem in online shopping by allowing customers to select, receive, try-on, and then pay for their clothes. This made online shopping far more appealing – previously you had to pay for items before receiving them and hope to be able to get a refund if the items didn’t fit. Beyond revolutionizing online shopping for clothes, Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, and addition of Whole Foods groceries to Prime Now with two-hour delivery, has further pressured retailers to innovate. Amazon Go, the cashier-less store, is one of the most impressive innovations in retail yet. Amazon is a major disruptor in the retail sector.
Previously an online only seller of mattresses, Casper has begun opening brick and mortar stores and they’re completely changing the way we shop for mattresses. With unique store designs and engage spaces for customers to sample products, Casper stores are far different than what most people imagine when they picture a mattress store. This in-store experience is an innovative step for an online seller of mattresses.
Today’s retail environment requires innovation to stay ahead. The seven retailers above have all found creative new ways to win market share, attract loyal customers, and separate themselves from other retailers.
The retail industry has been changing for some time, and navigating this shifting landscape can be difficult. One of the best ways to ensure you’re making sound business decisions is by having access to a detailed database of retail data. Having reliable data to inform decision making reduces risks and helps uncover new ways forward – a major asset for retailers looking to be innovators in their industry.
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