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What's In Store? October 2020

Red Ant's regular look behind the headlines at retail and lifestyle brands' challenges and conversations, with expert views and actionable insight.

Hot topics

Top retail trends and headlines

The future of retail depends on consumers feeling like they have a personal shopper

The future depends on consumers feeling like they have a personal shopper

The Harvard Business Review focused on connections in its look at the future of retail – one of the key ‘actionable visions’ for brands was the need to use technology to ‘make every consumer feel like they have a personal shopper… The longer retailers wait to integrate these types of features into their design flow, the more opportunities they will miss.’

Red Ant says: It’s becoming increasingly clear that retailers who want to stay connected with customers need to embrace a new way of offering them a personalised experience – virtual consultations with built-in shopping features will be vital to retail success in the future.

Employee engagement is the key to improving both customer and employee experience

Three ways to evolve the store associate experience

According to Strategy + Business magazine, three things need to happen in a ‘digitally enabled and deeply collaborative’ way if retailers want to meet the challenges of a post-pandemic world; they need to embed employee health, safety and well-being into their DNA, be transparent with employees to build and reinforce a more trusting relationship and re-evaluate how they measure employee performance and success.

Red Ant says: The simple truth is that retailers cannot improve customer experience, whether it’s in-store or at home, without first taking care of employee experience. It has never been more important to recognise the value of store associates and take steps to turn them into ambassadors.

Product news

Our latest market-leading developments

Virtual consultations and remote services are elevating customer experience to a whole new level

We’ve elevated the shopping experience to the next level and delivered a whole new way to connect with customers at home – clients are calling it 'incredible', 'amazing' and 'groundbreaking'. Take a look at virtual consultations with in-consultation shopping facilities.

Our new remote sales facility for customers who use personal shopping and concierge services has been welcomed by some of our highest-profile clients and has an instant effect on ROI.

One moment with…

Helen Bridge

The answers to five essential questions, from a leading retail expert

Helen Bridge is an experienced retail design and virtual merchandising project manager

Helen Bridge is an experienced retail design and visual merchandising project manager, with over 15 years’ experience in the retail and beauty sectors www.HelenBridgeConsultancy.com​

One retailer who has got it right:

All retailers have had to adapt during this time. For me, Selfridges have nailed their messaging, in-store experience and new services within COVID19 restrictions. They’ve launched virtual beauty appointments, leading to home deliveries; this type of seamless experience will persuade even the most hardened bricks and mortar shopper to interact online. For customers that do venture into a store, testers have been replaced with colour chips and brands have adapted to socially-distanced consultations. Additionally, the uplifting 'Thank You' window scheme has brightened Oxford Street, and echoes the public message to the NHS, volunteers and friends and family closer to home.

One thing you’d change about shopping:

Makeovers and one-to-one consultations are a traditional part of the beauty in-store experience and the format has remained largely unchanged for years. While personal interaction remains important, I hope to see a rise of virtual tools and applications to make this experience more dynamic. Charlotte Tilbury lead the way on this, with their Magic Mirror providing instant virtual makeovers in-store and a variety of tutorials and product finder tools online.

One prediction for the next five years:

The rise of beauty subscription boxes over the last few years is set to continue, with retailers now creating their own services (Selfridges leading the way again). Birchbox and Glossybox kick-started the trend back in 2010, with customers paying a monthly fee to receive a curated selection of products to their door. There are now subscriptions for every category and trend within the beauty market, ranging from organic skincare to fragrance discovery kits. Customers will expect more personalisation, faster delivery and consideration of sustainability factors too.

One person’s opinion that you always listen to:

COPRA (Cosmetic & Perfumery Retailers Association) is a fantastic insider resource for all things beauty. Check out their Instagram Live Beauty Industry Legends interview series, shot through lockdown, for insight from leading professionals.

One item that’s always on your shopping list:

ELEMIS Pro Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 is a must-have!

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Retail news from Red Ant
Red Ant, 14th October 2020
Employee engagement is key to evolving both customer and employee experience

Related resource

Retail convergence: the key to the future of shopping

Understandably, the press has devoted many pages to the future of retail – experts from all parts of the industry have shared their opinions and proposed their solutions. What they all agree on is that, now more than ever, online and physical stores need to come together if retailers want to be in a solid position to deliver for their customers.