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Marketing to Cult Brands

March 12, 2020

Retail Reinvention

Applicable Trends

April 1, 2019      |      2 Min Read

Pulse detected where IRL Retail was once considered D.O.A.

The cultural strategists at Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve—the future-focused strategic consultancy—are sharing updated signals of where retail is heading. Aware of the reports of the death of bricks and mortar, the Trendspotters actually found signs of life, and how vibrant IRL retail experiences can be.

A few examples proving the future will not be store-free:

  • The prototype for the Westfield Mall 2028 will take the Egonomics Trend to a new level, with biometric bathrooms that can analyze your health as you freshen up, retina scanning will allow access to previous purchases and steer you towards items of interest, and magic mirrors will show you how you look in potential purchases, without the hassle of try-ons. The shopping center will create a futurized hyper-connected and uber-personalized experience where sharing and socialization flourish because the friction of shopping is surpassed.

  • Cactus Store, a pop-up that set up shop in NYC’s Chinatown, hails from Los Angeles, and presented nature- and plant-loving Millennials with a way to bond amidst 1,000+ plants. Adding to the eclectic mix: horticulture education, a clothing collaboration with Guess, screenings of movies set in the desert, and an Instagram feed with 30k followers. This kind of curated, whimsical experience is what makes turning up worthwhile and helps consumers connect with a new kind of tribe (evidence of the Clanning Trend identified by Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve.)

  • The Line Friends store in NYC’s Times Square shows how a collection of emoji-like characters, made popular in Asia on the mobile messenger platform Line, has become a cultural phenomenon. The success of the characters and their heavily trafficked store points to the escapist interest consumers have in Down-Aging, the Trend that tracks the urge to avoid the harshness of everyday life by indulging in childlike activities. It reminded our Trendspotters of the Museum of Ice Cream pop-ups—a place to go to feel carefree and happy. When shopping can offer real-time stress relief and a distraction from our burgeoning Anxiety Epidemic, it’s golden.

  • Reform, an Ikea hacking company founded in 2014 in Copenhagen offers a mass-class service that captures our Egonomics (or personalization) Trend in action. Consumers today want everything tailored to what Faith Popcorn calls an “N of 1”—something that is as unique as the individual. Reform takes the utility and accessibility of Ikea cabinetry but allows people to combine that with higher-end touches to make it totally their own. For example, Ikea cabinets can be faced with more expensive and interesting materials, creating a one-of-a-kind kitchen that expresses the client’s personal style without the cost of entirely bespoke work. When one visits Reform, one sees the possibilities for self-expression that were otherwise unknown, creating a sense of discovery.

New retail experiences allow self-expression & escape

These retail experiences have experiential value, of course, but look at the other signals: they allow self-expression and an escape from the intensifying pressures of daily life.

Tech is used—be it AI, AR or VR—to enhance every facet of the user experience. Visitors are bonded to new communities that allow one’s individuality to feel validated.

What can the Walmarts and Krogers of the world learn from these examples? Faith knows.

Why Not Ask?

Article Updated from Original December 2017 Post

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