The Ephemeral Future Of Fashion
Retail as we know it is changing, yet brands are struggling to keep their doors open.
Let’s see if I can help…
To start off, the TOP TWO reasons why people even visit retail stores are to immerse their sensory modalities (eyes, ears, nose and touch) in the world of a brand, and second to bond amongst friends or meet people with similar interests or values. So why does it feel like as e-commerce expands and more stores are closing, the end of retail is nigh?
Truth is the retail revolution we’re going through isn’t focused on permanent physical structures, but permanent space in consumers’ minds. Brands have drastically shifted their focus to align with millennials and gen z consumers who will soon hold over half the world's buying power. Hence the prevalence of small-batch, direct to consumer business models. (I would also like to mention these consumers are just as interested in luxury as they are in resale.)
The “see now, buy now” business model has an edge on retail due to limited amount of products for a limited amount of time. And because the internet makes acquiring these products so easy, more consumers are making well-informed purchases. Brands with purpose or that focus on community provide value to consumers and are less likely to face extinction.
Furthermore, brands making well-informed decisions and releasing new product based on demand can affirm consumer’s identities as a byproduct of keeping up with the times. And if you can occupy a place in their minds, you can increase the likelihood of someone returning in the future to buy new products. So how can brands struggling to maintain their business turn things around and encourage people to shop in real life?
Allow me to introduce the ephemeral, yet engaging shopping experience, the POP UP.
Pop ups have been around for quite sometime and they’re a feasible answer to retail's immediate issues lacking relevancy and evolution. Pop ups can be small incubators, testing various products and services to be scaled for a larger audience without large investment and waste. (Can we say eco-friendly?!) Pop ups can also be engineered for a specific consumer demographic, making the shopping experience even more specialized.
Now a successful pop up is geared towards the consumer from inception to execution! There are big payoffs for considering consumer values when planning a pop up'; in addition to having something for shoppers to takeaway. Whether it be new aspirations or merch. Enticing consumers with something novel, exciting and temporary sparks both urgency and interest.
The reason why pop ups are so important for the proliferation of any brand, old or new, are because millennials and gen z consumers crave adventure and fluidity, and going some place unfamiliar makes them more receptive and open-minded to new perspectives. A pop up is a brand’s opportunity to create a meaningful connection with consumers in a nontraditional fashion.
IN SHORT: Consumers are drawn to pop ups because they're temporary in nature and stimulate the senses. They provide a brief escape from repetitive retail environments with an immersive and interactive experience, marrying consumer and brand. Spontaneity also primes consumers to be optimistic about shopping, increasing the likelihood of leaving a lasting impression.