ULTA SHIFTS ITS ECOSYSTEM
Have you been to an Ulta lately? Visually, popular products are grouped by trend, and individual brands are equipped with how-to's and vivid imagery. Once a store with a prestige beauty focus, Ulta is shifting its store dynamic to a more mass brand positioning.
One of its latest brand launches includes ColourPop, a social media bred cosmetics brand specializing in matte lipsticks selling for $6 each. New products from the young brand sell out instantly, prompting Ulta to reconsider its shopping ecosystem.
In an extremely competitive digital and physical beauty landscape, Ulta provides insight for fashion retailers to consider. It's honing on the customer, offering a tailored product mix by monitoring purchasing behavior from its Beauty Enthusiast loyalty program “It’s so important we offer an elevated, consistent customer experience across categories and price points in our stores,” says Monica Arnaudo, SVP of merchandising at Ulta Beauty.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CUSTOMIZATION
Customization and personalization have become more relevant in premium and luxury fashion as brands respond to customers’ desire to own original, one-of-a-kind pieces. “Businesses that embrace personalization have a differentiated proposition that could lead to sustainable growth,” said Celine Finch, Deloitte’s consumer business research lead.
Product customization provides deeper customer insight, since those who design customized products online or in stores are prompted to submit more information than they would for a typical purchase. Companies like Tapestry use its customer database, artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive its restructuring initiatives across Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Waitzman.
For high-end brands, recognizing that experience and a heightened level of exclusivity are what luxury customers want is going to prove profitable in the long run.
VALUE DRIVEN SHOPPING IS THE FUTURE
In a retail report by Cowen, the two youngest demographics - Millenials and Gen Z - are poised to make up roughly 70 percent of the global population by 2028. That's a lot of purchasing power - and it's going directly to Amazon.
Today's modern consumer is digitally savvy, equipped with an endless flow of product information in the palm of their hands. Over half (58%) of millennials cross-check pricing on Amazon before making purchases. Value-driven shopping will dominate shopping trends and habits amongst this digital age group.
With 90% of consumers claiming Amazon as their preferred shopping channel, off-price retailers including Burlington Stores, TJMaxx, Ross Stores, as well as Walmart and Costco, can offer value to Millenials and Gen Z with unique product deals.
AMAZON'S EXIT: AN ENTRY FOR COMPETITORS
Realizing the potential of its own search options via Amazon.com, the digital giant has made an exit from from Google Shopping auctions. Now that more than half of shoppers begin their product searches on Amazon, its need for Google Ads is diminishing.
Nevertheless, the departure will open up positioning opportunities for other retailers, since 76% of paid search budgets are devoted to the visual search format. As Google expands its shopping options, retailers will garner more face time with potential buyers.
Programs like Google Express and Shopping Actions will create a seamless shopping experience for customers. The program provides more reach for retailers with a universal shopping cart amongst omni-channels, from online and mobile searches to the Google Home speaker.
Religious dress and fashion are two distinct entities, but both rely on complex ideas to convey identity. This year, the Met Gala explored the relationship between Catholicism and fashion. The theme: "Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" called forth provocative interpretations of the Roman Catholic Church.
While celebrities paid homage in divine garments, we expected Dolce & Gabbana to dominate, as the brand has built its foundation on holy tributes. Surprisingly, Coach was the most mentioned brand of the night, as reported by Instagram. Data rankings based on the total global number of IG mentions were calculated by either tagging or including the name/title in captions or comments on photos or videos posted to Instagram.
The has brand repositioned itself amongst young shoppers as a full-fledged fashion house, veering away from its handbag roots. A win for Coach indeed.
THIS WEEK'S BRIGHT SPOT
After Tommy Hilfiger’s suggestion during the board meeting to include Kardashian West, it was a unanimous decision from the CFDA on the socialite's impact on the global fashion community. Last year, the awards garnered around 100,000 views, and with Kardashian West's clickability, CFDA's President and Chief Executive Officer, Steven Kolb, expects that number to climb.
There's no doubting the influence Kim Kardashian has. Congrats!