Playing Catch Up. Shop ANZ Report

Shop! ANZ Trends Report, September 2019

Written by Zita Watkin

Let’s start by thinking positively. Physical stores are not dead. How else can we have authentic product experiences? We are human after all and being social and connected is more important than ever in this digital time and space.

In 2019 I see the state of the nation like this; Rather than thinking 'Physical Retail is Dead', think of it as if we are 'Playing catch up Retail' after physical stores have fallen behind todays' super tech savvy and well researched shoppers.

So, we ‘like’ physical stores because they enable us to be social and connected but enticing today’s shoppers into physical stores requires more than a chat and an instagramable moment.

There are 2 points to keep at top of mind when improving todays retail experience;

1.       Content; make sure what is being sold is highly desirable and unique.

2.       Experience; make sure how it’s being sold is a fun, easy and seamless experience.

The expression Content is King has never been more relevant or important. An empty Instagrammable moment won’t pass the test for today’s consumer.

I feel in recent years, it was more Instagram story, and less sustainable and repeatable. And for today’s customer who is sophisticated and looking for authenticity, Content is King.

Following are 6 retail trends to keep an eye on when understanding the changing retail space. Keep these trends in mind when thinking what can we do better as retail designers and marketers.

1.       Artificial Intelligence & POP with Purpose

We know that shoppers want stuff on demand & have zero tolerance for inefficiency, but embedding tech is far more than tech for consumer efficiency.

Improving the shopper experience:

  • Can make the experience for immersive and memorable
  • Builds a stronger emotional connection
  • Makes the experience more exclusive

Improving store performance:

  • Allows the retailer to focus on customer service and product knowledge and quality
  • Making sure shelves are always stocked
Left: Voice activated Bottle Genius for ‘BottleRocket’ Wine and spirit store. Right: Digitalisation in Russian supermarket Preakrestok by Coca Cola.

2.       Personalisation

From targeted ads and personalised recommendations, to optimising convenience across all channels and fulfillment models, successful retailers are those wholly committed to fitting seamlessly into shoppers’ busy and complex lives.

‘More brands to consumers’ innovating brands, with services like personalisation being key to their offer.

Bite Beauty Lip Lab allows shoppers to create their own shade of lipstick from start to finish by choosing from over 200 pigments, 4 finishes and a variety of scents in about 15 mins.

3.       The Art of Occasion

With more occasions than ever in the growing marketer’s calendar, keep the end goal of the activation in mind rather than simple ‘wow’ moments.  Displays that succeed at retail are the ones that keep that end goal strongly in mind. Get the perfect mix of content and occasion and you are on your way to having a winning activation.

Stella Artois Summer Patio looks like its been plucked from a traditional country village; the Occasion of relaxing and the simple life.
Ruffino Orange Bubbles create a strong connection for Christmas Prosecco shoppers. Cazadore Tequila display wanted to own the off-premise market during the 2018 Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) season.

4.       Building Partnerships

Shops simply get boring without change! With so many brands selling direct to consumers, it’s important to establish relationships with as many as possible to drive traffic, conversation and engagement in physical stores.

Macy’s is redefining its in-store strategy with new smaller store formats after acquiring STORY in 2018.
The Renaissance of retail is transforming the lack of excitement when visiting department stores.

5.       Reinvention and Adaption

Retail isn’t dying, but rather traditional consumers have changed leaving designers and marketers in this space to play catch up.

It’s interesting watching retailers (many of which have similar customer bases) trying to evolve to meet the needs of today’s shoppers.

Breakfast at Tiffany's Café; new take on how luxury brands present in the market. Permanent Blue Box cafés, pop ups outside traditional stores.

6.       Come for the Experience

This is a growing area especially when we talk about the number of new brands who are not happy with the approach that traditional retailers have taken over the last 10 years.

Many companies are trying to create deeper human connections to improve the value of the physical store experience.

Come for the product, stay for the experience! Glossier has fast become a cult-favorite with celebrities and beauty obsessives across the world alike, thanks to its minimal packaging, aesthetically-pleasing stores and standout products.

In conclusion, stay positive about physical retail. Not only do we need shops to Educate, Play and Discover, but importantly we need them because we are human and need to be social. 

If you are interested in having a 'Retail Trends and Inspiration Presentation' at your office, please email us on for your member exclusive in-house presentation.