Ah, the holidays…

A season of festive cheer, twinkling lights, and increased sales potential also magnifies the broader challenges of the retail landscape. Budget cuts, tighter timelines, workforce shortages, e-commerce glitches, supply chain disruptions. Not to mention the persistent pressure to stand out.

In this edition of Yes &, we’ll delve into the changing behaviors of shoppers, examine how retailers must get creative to address evolving consumer demands, and spotlight the disruptors who are rewriting the rules.

As we brace for the holiday hustle, let’s find inspiration to elevate your retail game amidst the complexities of today’s retail environment.

Video: YouTube

John Lewis & Partners: Redefining Tradition through Creative Storytelling

In the spirit of pushing the boundaries of tradition, John Lewis & Partners has unveiled a holiday ad that captures the brand’s dedication to experimentation. Like most great marketing these days, the 2023 Christmas ad, ‘Snapper, the Perfect Tree’, is more of a mini-movie than a commercial. It introduces a storyline that challenges our ideals of holiday traditions with Venus the Flytrap tree stealing the show and captivating hearts. Bridging online with offline experience, the Snapper character will be part of the iconic Christmas at Kew light trail and shoppers will also be able to purchase a plush version of the character in store. This approach reflects the brand’s commitment to ‘alternative futures’ in a way that still feels on brand for the retailer and resonates with consumers seeking a departure from generic holiday narratives.

Yes, & tip:

Think beyond the usual sales communications and entertain with your marketing. While the department store is offering an extensive Black Friday sale, the brand resisted the low hanging fruit of sales announcements and leaned into creative storytelling that challenges expectations and keeps audience engaged and guessing.

Mox Boarding House: Transforming Retail with Experiential Stores

Mox Boarding House, part of the Card Kingdom brand, is an experiential store that goes beyond traditional retail. Centered around tabletop gaming, it not only sells popular board games like Magic: The Gathering cards and gaming supplies, but also operates as a game library and restaurant. With locations in Oregon, Arizona, and Washington state, Mox creates an immersive and social environment for gamers, blending retail with playtime, themed cocktails and seasonal dishes. While patrons enjoy a meal or wait for a table, they can play Dungeons & Dragons or Warhammer 40k. This brand knows its audience and delivers an experience you can’t get online (or anywhere else).

Yes, & tip:

Create a destination, not just a store. Consumers are more motivated than ever to stay home. Retailers that want foot traffic in a post-pandemic world need to motivate customers with a unique experience. Break the physical boundaries and think outside the shop to embrace experiential retail and provide customers with the ability to not only shop but engage in a community-centered space.

REI: Aligning Planet and Profit Goals

Continuing its bold approach to buck retail trends, REI disrupts the holiday shopping frenzy each year by closing its stores. While other stores obsess over making sales on Black Friday, the outdoor retailer gives the entire staff a paid day off not only to encourage them to get outside but to inspire others to join in solidarity. This alignment with eco-conscious values not only resonates with their core consumers but also positions the brand as a leader in sustainability – a strategy that has allowed the brand to stay relevant with younger consumers who are demanding more eco-conscious retail practices.

Yes, & tip:

There are many ways to align your business operations with your brand values. This is not an easy decision to make for any retailer, but it proves they are serious about making an impact on sustainable practices. How can your business challenge the industry-accepted standards or intentionally break with them to signal your brand difference?

Could your brand use more creative improvisation to help you out-think your competitors? Work with DENTR.