The introduction of new platforms has shaken retail to its core. As a result, new industry standards are developing and informing how consumer goods businesses consider digital in their long-term strategy. While many "legacy" or big retailers are struggling to keep up with the pace of change, today's article includes a few stand-out companies who are using their already-established presence to break new ground online.
The Retail Shift
Social-first brands like Everlane, Glossier, Casper and more are ultimately reshaping the way we shop. From launching online (followed by the introduction of brick and mortar pop-up shops and experiences), brands across all industries have followed their lead and embraced these opportunities to set a new standard in retail. On the other end of the spectrum, big box or traditional retailers are working to figure out their place within the rapidly changing landscape. Below are a few examples of conventional retailers who are using their legacy status and extensive social media followings to stay in the game.
One can argue that while many of these big retailers are "outdated" the very fact that they are a household name/elicit familiarity provides a built-in audience. Look at Target, for instance. Their Instagram strategy demonstrates their understanding that the Target audience runs the gamut from families to fashionistas (as evidenced in their unique accounts including @targetstyle and universal account @target). The distinction between their brand accounts allows for them to narrow in on each subset of their customer-base, providing content and storytelling that is appropriately tailored to each of their customers' needs and interests. In turn, this approach shows Target's awareness and effort in diversifying their content offerings and connecting with different users from all walks of life. Best Buy (@bestbuy) is another excellent example that comes to mind in maintaining brand relevance. As a traditional (and specialty) retailer, one typically goes to Best Buy for a specific purchase. It is a challenge in itself to create compelling storytelling around items like televisions or kitchen appliances. However, if you look at their Instagram account, Best Buy does a great job of 1) reinforcing their brand identity (their signature brand colors are present throughout their feed) and 2) injecting an element of humor into their posts. Coupling this approachable tone with their multimedia imagery, they prove that legacy retailers can remain true to their core product/values while having a little fun in how they put themselves out there. Best Buy's approach also demonstrates the opportunity that comes with trying new things, as it allows them to reach a broader customer-base.
Our last example truly embodies what it means to be a legacy retailer embracing change. Enter Nordstrom. The department store has been serving fashion-forward customers since 1901 and has continued to provide a dynamic product assortment, and now content to go along with it. Similar to Target, Nordstrom's distinct accounts (@nordstrom, @nordstromrack, and @nordstrommen) provide tailored experiences that make sense for each particular groups of customers. More than this, what piques our interest about Nordstrom the most is their continued commitment to both community and collaboration (which is present throughout the brand's feed). Their ongoing initiative "Pop In at Nordstrom" features in-store activations in partnership with brands across different categories. Currently, they are partnering with MoMA Design Store for a curated holiday shop-in-shop. While Nordstrom posts products on their own Instagram feed, this partnership also presents cross-promotional opportunities from their partners (in this case @MoMastore) and Nordstrom shoppers. In doing so, Nordstrom is still able to maintain their traditional brick and mortar approach to retail for their core customers; however, this approach demonstrates Nordstrom's digital savvy and understanding of the importance collaboration/brand alliance means to millennial shoppers.
These are just a few examples of big retailers who are working diligently to redefine their place in an increasingly digital-first environment. As the landscape continues to evolve, retailers and brands of all sizes will be presented with new opportunities to refine their content to enhance their customer's overall brand experiences. And if in doubt, be sure to catch up on all of our Best Practices here on the PLANOLY blog for tips and tricks on how to create best-in-class content and strategies!