Pacsun, Puma and Timberland to Share Connected Commerce Priorities at Retail Innovation Conference
Brands across the retail realm, such as Walgreens, Walmart, Liquid Death, BUXOM Cosmetics and many more, will gather at the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo to discuss how they’re navigating new shifts in customer behavior and are evolving their connected commerce experiences to better foster brand loyalty.
Shop Eat Surf readers who want to learn from these and other notable brands can redeem a special offer below to attend the show.
Recent research has found that most consumers (66%) would switch from a brand they know and trust in order to try new or lower-cost alternatives. This should come as no surprise as consumers navigate the pressures of a volatile job market and constant price hikes.
But research from Brand Keys found that recent customer behaviors have trended away from “rational values” and have aligned more closely to “emotional” and “subconscious” motivations, according to Brand Keys founder Robert Passikoff in an interview with The Drum. Consumers are emotionally assessing and adjusting their behaviors by looking inward at what they value and whether a brand can meet their expectations. For a growing number of consumers, those values aren’t just tethered to financial measures, such as cost savings, but social and emotional ones, as well. Brands with higher-ticket items have an advantage to tap into these social and emotional drivers to better connect and resonate with customers.
There are three key trends driving this new era of loyalty, and they are taking center stage at the event, which is taking place June 13-15, 2023, at McCormick Place in Chicago. While these trends are largely powered by technology, their power lies in their connection to consumers’ innate needs and values.
Trend 1: Culture, community and commerce come together
Because brand loyalty is increasingly influenced by emotional factors, brands need to consider the role that culture and community play in their decisions. For instance, many consumers are looking at the contributions brands make in social, environmental and community causes to dictate their purchase decisions.
While access to brand and product choice is making the barrier to switching lower than ever, consumers will feel an intimate connection to brands that are intrinsically linked to the causes, cultures and communities they value. This connection will drive brand recall and, eventually, brand love.
Executives from Reebok are going to share how they connect with local communities and nurture emerging talent during a thought-provoking, and incredibly transparent, discussion. The brand has collaborated with MARTK’D to develop hyper-local programming and activations that give emerging creative talent access to education and new career opportunities. The result is an innovative approach to product development and community building that also sets a powerful foundation for long-term loyalty.
Trend 2: Digital communities help cultivate and amplify brand fandom
Consumers, especially Gen Z and Gen Alpha ones, are embracing digital apps and platforms to “find their people.” A survey from Accenture found that most consumers joined a new community over a six- to nine-month period. Of course, many of these communities are online.
In some cases, these communities are found through social apps. For example, PacSun uses a combination of emerging and tried-and-true platforms to create spaces for their brand fans to connect and share. While influencers have been key orchestrators of these community spaces, PacSun is also increasingly leveraging store associates to share their ideas and insights with their peers. PacSun is prioritizing authentic brand connection through individuals who have extreme love for the brand — and Tyler MacDonald, PacSun’s Associate Director of Brand will share some lessons he’s gleaned activating these initiatives.
Even heritage brands like PUMA are exploring new spaces for communities to congregate. The brand has been lauded for its work testing new spaces in the metaverse, with its Roblox game combining the best of brand immersion, self-expression and gaming in a virtual space. Ivan Dashkov, PUMA’s Head of Web3, will offer detailed perspectives into how he keeps the heritage of the brand alive in these new spaces to forge customer loyalty.
Trend 3: Sustainability becomes an extension of brand values and customer experience
A staggering 79% of consumers have changed their purchase preferences based on social responsibility, inclusiveness and/or environmental impact, according to a Capgemini survey. These issues connect deeply to consumers’ values and what drives their emotional decision-making, which means these issues also influence their brand loyalty.
As a result, brands and retailers are setting firmer ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) goals. Moreover, they are thinking more strategically (and holistically) about how different teams and functions support these goals.
Even store design teams are getting in on the action. Retail TouchPoints’ annual Store Design and Experience Survey found that 68% of executives are prioritizing sustainability in their projects this year. Timberland is aligning its store concepts and material decisions to larger corporate goals and ensuring that the store experience aligns with the brand’s broader mission and values. Director of Global Retail Design, Amber Bazdar, will join a dynamic panel focused on the actions store design teams can take to design experiences with sustainability in mind.
Learn more about how brands and retailers are adapting to new customer loyalty realities by registering for the Retail Innovation Conference and Expo. Shop Eat Surf readers who use the code SES50P will receive 50% off their All-Access Pass, which provides access to even more programming and learning experiences, including the D2 Summit: Retail Edition and in-depth brand cases studies. Register by May 18 to reap the value of this exclusive, limited-time offer!