From the editor

Stores: A Survival Guide

The “big” story coming out of this last holiday shopping season was, not surprisingly, smartphone apps. Everyone was talking about the mainstreaming of these technologies and the ways they were aiding shoppers in their purchasing decisions. 

The “big” story coming out of this last holiday shopping season was, not surprisingly, smartphone apps. Everyone was talking about the mainstreaming of these technologies and the ways they were aiding shoppers in their purchasing decisions - most often in the form of deal-finding.

It would be easy to believe that, going forward, shoppers are going to be beholden to price. But even while 2010 marked the tipping point for tech-enabled purchasing, and had the “new frugality” as an ongoing storyline, the year saw consumer spending trends all over the board.

What this indicates is that-even in tough times-shopping is about more than just price. There’s also the experience to consider. This month’s cover story, A Future in Store, looks at the way physical retail spaces are using elements of the online world to enhance in-store experiences. But it also makes the case for the “touch and feel” tangible and social elements that can only be afforded by physical stores and, of course, the packaging within them.

And that’s the “white space” for our sector: the reinvention of the retail experience. It’s understandable in these economic times for brands to be cautious about making new investments and going down new paths. But if technology is empowering consumers and ushering in a new world of price transparency, how many retailers and brands will hold up under that kind of scrutiny? The answer, of course, is not many - the rest will simply have to find innovative ways to survive. I’m putting my money on the warm and fuzzies of physical spaces.

For one, online retailers are seeing value in opening physical, bricks and mortar counterparts. The eBay of the craft world, Etsy, opened Etsy Labs, a work and “social space” adjacent to its Brooklyn headquarters to give its online community a decidedly offline way to interact. The edgy, online t-shirt retailer Threadless now has two retail stores in its hometown of Chicago.

Then, there’s the go-to example of the Apple store. The company recently reported setting a new quarterly foot traffic record in its 300+ stores, hosting 74.5 million visitors. It’s a figure that The Atlantic found to surpass the number of Disneyland and Disney World visitors combined. Of course, not all 74.5 million Apple visitors made purchases. But, clearly, the brand’s stores have earned the status of must-see destinations. Can there be anything more convincing in the advocacy for more engaging retail experiences than that?

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to BRAND PACKAGING Magazine. 

Recent Articles by Pauline Hammerbeck

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

10th Annual Packaging That Sells Conference, Chicago, October 2012

Posted Date: October 29, 2013

BRANDPACKAGING’s packaging conference returned for a tenth year with a focus on a single message: Make It Matter.

2/24/15 2:00 pm EST

Packaging Matters™ — Packaging Satisfaction: Why it’s on the Rise, and How to Continue the Momentum

Packaging Matters™ is MWV’s annual study of the role of packaging in product satisfaction. We study packaging because it matters to brand owners, retailers and consumers around the world. This year’s research focuses on Brazil, China, France, Germany and the U.S. In the third year of the study, we will share global trends associated with packaging satisfaction, product safety, and the effect packaging has on consumers when shopping in-store and online.

Brand Packaging Magazine

march cover

March 2015

The March 2015 issue examines the idea of Branded by Color plus much more. You can also read the issue at the Digital Editions.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


BRANDPACKAGING Design Gallery Volume 12

Design Gallery is a design annual with a global perspective on the best consumer packaging turned out in 2014.

More Products


facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png  youtube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.pnggoogle plus  

Consumer Insight

Interesting tidbits on specific demographics and consumer packaged goods in expanded infographic form as well as articles on new industry research and trends.

consumer insight