Consumers are driving just about everything at retail today, and some companies are building a robust digital presence and developing innovative concepts to keep them engaged.
At the WGSN Futures Summit in New York last week, industry members came together to address retail’s uncertainty and how companies can lock in consumer loyalty amid store closures and Amazon’s dominance.
Despite retail’s uncertainty, both beauty e-commerce site Glossier and Levi’s are cracking the consumer code with their out-of-the-box business strategies.
Glossier gets consumers
Glossier’s entrance into the online beauty market wasn’t just about sales—the e-tail company that started as a beauty blog went directly to the consumers themselves to understand their individual skincare and makeup needs. By tailoring its website with curated products and a “trust us, we’re you” approach, Glossier was able to tap into consumers’ unique beauty routines—without the conventional “one-size-fits-all” approach.
“If we go direct to the consumer, we can get something to them quicker, easier and cheaper,” said Glossier COO and president Henry Davis. “It’s about engagement, brand experience and what can you do to make your experience for a consumer better.”
Glossier is aiming to reach more Millennials—who over the years, have mostly been dictated to by brands about which makeup and skincare products they should use. Rather than tell consumers what their beauty routines should be, Glossier enables its consumer base to discover new products on its social media platforms and beauty website Into The Gloss.
Turning from the blog to social, on Glossier’s Instagram, consumers can find out about new Glossier products and see favorite picks from various celebrities, like Solange Knowles. As a beauty editorial authority, Into The Gloss also provides consumers with in-depth makeup and skincare information—including weekly columns about current developments.
“E-commerce doesn’t mean selling online, everyone has lost that game,” Davis added. “As brands we need to think about, how can we use that digital opportunity to give consumers something they can’t get from Amazon or a store.”
[Read more on consumer efforts: Why Brands are Bolstering Direct-to-Consumer Efforts And Redefining Wholesale’s Role]
Levi’s turns to collaborations
A rich denim history comes along with Levi’s market presence, and the retailer has developed new innovative initiatives, including wearable technology products and designer collaborations, to keep consumers part of its story.
“It’s up to my generation to leave Levi’s in a better state than we found it. We are putting all our heart and minds into it, but changing it as well,” said Levi’s head of global design Jonathan Cheung. “We know the future isn’t the same and we have to jump the wave and just not get overwhelmed at the same time.”
Levi’s recent dabble in wearable technology is an example of the brand’s stay-ahead-of-the-curve commitment. In September, Levi’s and Google launched a new Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket—a smart denim jacket woven with conductive yearns that connect to mobile phones—for its tech-influenced consumer base. This partnership enabled Levi’s to not only be viewed as a denim authority, but a denim authority with a mission to drive innovation in coming years.
Collaborations have also been key to keeping Levi’s heritage alive. Last month, the brand celebrated the 50th anniversary of its iconic 1967 70505 Type III Trucker jacket by partnering with 50 influencers from around the world to create their own versions of the jacket, and consumers can choose the Trucker jacket that fits with their personal style aesthetics.
“We’ve got to disrupt ourselves and not think as traditional fashion school designers,” Cheung added. “You have to have a real voice and connection—having all this knowledge and data, you need to use this in a human way.”