Retail Trends and How Your Brand Can Capitalize on Them

Uncover effective retail strategies, from pop-up shops to personable branding, that drive customer engagement.

People shopping and networking at a retail tradeshow

Written by

Robert Woo, Writer @ Endear


Like with everything, the internet has sped up the pace of trends in retail. In the past, serving fresh coffee to shoppers may have been a unique thing for trendy stores to offer, but once you slap a hashtag on it, the next thing you know, even used car dealerships are greeting customers with a cup of joe.

So in today's fast-paced retail environment, staying ahead isn't just about keeping up with trends (an almost impossible feat...) - it's about leveraging the right ones to enhance your brand's relevance and consumer appeal. Recently, we’ve come across some examples of how some brands have nailed certain trends in retail - and they’re worth learning from.

Let’s explore these trends and the brands doing it right to uncover how you can apply these strategies effectively.

Pop-Up Partnerships That Just Make Sense

Collaborations between brands can open up numerous opportunities to enhance foot traffic and invigorate consumer interest. Take the example of Bode's partnership with Nordstrom, which brought an exclusive Bode-themed corner to Nordstrom’s bustling NYC flagship. This partnership allowed Bode to significantly expand its reach and capitalize on Nordstrom's established reputation and foot traffic, while Nordstrom benefited from offering a buzzy, young brand with a cult-like celebrity following that offers unique, differentiated products to draw in more customers.

While pop-ups themselves aren’t new, the strategy of dedicating a large part of the showfloor was a unique way to really showcase the collaboration. The Bode space took up 2,000 square feet, which is less a pop-up and more of a takeover for a limited time. Nordstrom is going out of their way to highlight a partner that has a different aesthetic than their core brand in order to reach new audiences.

How To Make It Work For You

For your own brand, consider partnering with brands that share a similar customer base but push the aesthetic boundaries of your collection. Whether it's a temporary pop-up in a high-traffic retail store or a co-branded product launch, these collaborations can create buzz, extend your reach, and introduce your products to new audiences.

This strategy is particularly effective if you can find a partner whose products or services align with your brand values and your customers’ price point, thereby enhancing your brand's visibility and appeal through association. And like Nordstrom, don’t be afraid to have your partner do more of a takeover than a small pop-up. Shoppers want something out of the ordinary, and it’s not a bad idea to swing for the fences.

Being Out-of-Touch is Out of Style: Approachability Is In

We talk a lot about personalization at Endear, but we don’t talk about personable nearly as much. That’s because being a retail brand that’s personable at scale can be a difficult task. But it is a part of how we think about clienteling, because the more personable your brand comes across, the more intimate that relationship with the customer feels.

McMullen exemplifies this approachable and personable vibe with the owner and founder, Sherri McMullen, literally trying on her own products on Instagram. Called her #dressingroomseries, Sherri puts her face and body out there, creating an incredibly relatable brand as she interacts personally on social media. How many of your CEOs would be comfortable modeling your apparel?

How To Make It Work For You

Even if you can’t get your boss to try on that one-piece, you can absolutely showcase your brand’s approachability by putting real employee faces alongside your products on social media like McMullen does. Showing a willingness to put yourself out there not only boosts customer confidence in your products, but it also puts a relatable human face that isn’t another model or influencer; rather, it’s your own team really working on the brand and store.

Ecomm Brands Venturing Into Physical Retail

As much as ecommerce has changed the way we shop, there’s still something unbeatable about the in-store experience. In fact, 31.5% of shoppers immediately purchase an item when discovering a new brand in-store, as opposed to just 19.1% on retail sites. It’s just easier to fall in love with something new when you’re right there to experience it. So it’s no wonder why so many ecommerce brands are looking for more of a physical presence.

31.5% of shoppers immediately purchase an item when discovering a new brand in-store.

Wayfair's decision to open a large-format store reflects a broader trend of ecommerce brands establishing a physical presence to enhance their customer relationships and build brand loyalty. This move recognizes the benefits of an omnichannel approach, where the tangible elements of shopping, like touching and feeling a product IRL, are combined with the convenience of online shopping.

How To Make It Work For You

For ecommerce brands looking to expand into physical retail, start small with pop-up shops or limited-time events to test the waters and gather insights about your customers’ offline behavior. These physical locations can serve as showrooms or experiential spaces that complement your online presence. Use these opportunities to strengthen customer relationships through exceptional service and interactive experiences that can't be replicated online. This strategy not only broadens your brand’s tactile appeal, but also provides valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviors that can inform both your online and offline strategies.

By examining how brands like Nordstrom, Bode, McMullen, and Wayfair are effectively navigating current retail trends, other retailers can glean valuable strategies that may be applicable to their own businesses. Whether it’s through smart collaborations, gaining approachability through a smart social media strategy, or embracing the tangible benefits of physical retail spaces, the key is to remain adaptable and customer-focused. In doing so, you can ensure that your brand not only survives but thrives in the ever-evolving retail landscape.

More Retail Trends For You To Explore

Download our free guide to the trends your brand needs to know to stay ahead.