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We’re making a list and checking it twice – it’s time for our inaugural roundup of which retailers are sleighing the holidays and which ones could use a revamp. Join us weekly through the end of 2019 as we celebrate the most joyous time of the year… unless you are working in retail, that is.

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To help you both save time and savor the magic of the holidays, we’re here to keep you updated on the top holiday trends in retail. We’re tracking 20 retailers across industries and categories and monitoring each of their marketing activities on a weekly basis through the lens of our 6D’s of Brand Experience.

Magic is clearly in the air and it’s only getting stronger with each passing day. Stick with us as we start to dive into the heart of holiday and stay tuned for the next installation in this seasonal series.

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6 Dimensions of Retail
  • Intuitive
  • Human
  • Meaningful
  • Immersive
  • Accessible
  • Personalized
View All Dimensions
Dec
03

Consumers dumping Black Friday for mobile.

With stores offering deep discounts and promotions throughout November, Black Friday itself was a bust when it came to excitement and newness.

The real winner? Mobile. According to Adobe Digital Insights, “this year’s Black Friday broke mobile shopping records with $2.9 billion spent through smartphones alone.”

Justifying the above stat is the trend we noticed of consumers physically going to stores, only to get in line, place their order on mobile, and then dump their stuff and leave. While better than the alternative and still bringing shoppers across the lease line, it’s apparent for 2020 that retailers will need to create an incentive, or pay-off of sorts, to keep shoppers in line and finalize their purchases in-store.

Retailers who caught our eye this past weekend include Patagonia, Anthropologie, and Pandora.

Patagonia bucked the trend and opted out of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead of discounts, Patagonia encouraged shoppers to donate to their Action Works program – an organization fighting the environmental crisis – and promised to match any donations made throughout the month of December.

Anthropologie capitalized on the trend toward mobile, offering uncharacteristic deep Black Friday discounts, but only through their app.

Pandora offered a 35 percent off discount but only in-store. Shoppers had to go the store, make a reservation to shop, and were notified via text when their shopping slot was available.

Nov
29

Brands doing Black Friday differently.

Happy Black Friday! Whether you’re recovering from a food coma or actively shopping the deals, take a moment and relax while we take a look at some brands who are doing this unofficial shopping holiday a bit differently.

Avoiding the holiday mayhem and preaching the practice of less over more is DECIEM, a beauty brand who is closing their website and stores today to protest the idea of hyperconsumerism. The brand has been offering a month-long deal of 23% off to encourage consumers to “shop slowly”.

Christopher Raeburn, a UK-based brand, has closed their stores today to offer a free repairs event under the slogan “Buy Nothing, Raepair Something.” This completely booked event includes on-the-spot garment alterations and they’re accepting items from any brand.

Everlane and REI are continuing their pattern of ignoring the “holiday” altogether with Everlane discounting nothing and instead putting a monetary amount from each order toward charity and REI continuing their celebrated #optoutside campaign.

Nov
26

Pets dominating gift guides for 2019.

As you’re finishing up, or just starting, your gift shopping this month – don’t forget Fido and Fluffy!

We’ve been tracking retailer’s gift guides this season and the biggest trend we’re seeing is curated guides with a heavy slant toward pets.

The pet market has been booming in recent years with 95% of US pet owners considering their pets to be part of the family (Nielsen, August 2015), and those pet owners are spending $125bn a year globally (Euromonitor, 2019).

Retailers with notably pet-friendly guides include Kohl’s Ellen DeGeneres collaboration with curated festive pet supplies, Walmart’s blog-style gift guide sorted by “puppy personality”, and Nordstrom’s boutique-style Gifts for Pets section.

And finally, though not a gift guide per se, we couldn’t end this post without shouting out what’s topping our personal pet wishlist this season: Moncler’s new collaboration with Poldo Dog Couture!

Nov
18

Food retailers go full-on festive.

Hidden Valley Ranch holiday sweaters? Yes, they’re a thing – and just one example of how non-traditional retailers are tapping into the holiday spirit.

Stores and brands that aren’t normally gifting-go-tos, like Dunkin’, Hefty, Hidden Valley Ranch, Jimmy Dean, and even the plant-based Tofurkey, are stealing the social media spotlight with their quirky product assortments.

These brands are embodying the Meaningful dimension with clever holiday integrations that break through the seasonal clutter and connect with consumers by making light of an often-stressful season.

Nov
11

A new spin on a classic Christmas countdown

What do days, doors, and chocolate all have in common?

They’ve become the retailer’s trifecta in the last 50 years when it comes to transforming the season of advent into a profitable market.

That’s right – today we’re addressing the meteoric rise of the advent calendar.

If you still think of advent calendars as a nostalgic, perhaps chocolate-filled way to count down to St. Nick’s arrival, think again. Advent calendars are the new “it” item when it comes to building brand loyalty while also inciting whimsy and a definite treat-yourself-you-deserve-it mindset. Just look at Aldi – they almost broke the Internet when they introduced their wine calendars to the US market in 2018.

Although a few retailers are creating kid-centric calendars – most notably Target and its expansive offering of toy- and game-filled ones – the intended audience is trending older. Capitalizing on the dimension of Human, retailers are leaning into the novelty of these gifts, using them to bring consumers closer together and create a sense of wonder and excitement toward the season in general.

From a shrewd marketing standpoint, it’s an ingenious way to boost pre-season sales and ensure that the brand stays top-of-mind with shoppers throughout December.

If you’re looking to test your willpower, check out some of the season’s most hyped calendars.

Tiffany & Co. doesn't do things small-scale. Their "calendar" comes in at $112,000, stands close to 5 feet tall and weighs about 355 pounds. And of course is exclusive, with only 4 in stock.
Never one to be left out of the trends, Amazon has released a 25 Days of Spice set – aka a hot sauce calendar – to delight even the most discerning of spice lovers.
ALDI nearly broke the internet with their U.S. release of the respective wine and cheese advent calendars last year – ensuring a healthy heaping of hype for this year's editions.
Last year the beloved grocer released an advent calendar just for dogs – and this year they made another version just for cats.
Nov
04

Family jammies.

What’s cozier – and more ‘grammable – than chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Matching family jammies!

When it comes to keeping with traditions and getting every family member – even the four-legged ones – involved, retailers have been putting their best foot(ie) forward with festive PJ collections.

Old Navy had their family PJ’s out on the floor in early October – and were among the first retailers to get the pajama party started. Closely following were Target, Kohl’s, Walmart and J. C. Penney, all of which had their collections on display well before the start of November. Almost every retailer listed – with the exception of Old Navy – also features a wide selection of doggie PJ’s and bandanas, ensuring that the whole family can participate in the fun this season.

Nov
02

Frozen mania.

Tired of Disney’s Frozen content yet? Hopefully not, because when it comes to capitalizing on the hit film’s sequel – retailers are having an absolute snow day.

Target is getting buzz with their collection that houses many exclusive toys and games. Exemplifying the Human dimension, the celebrated retailer is hosting in-store events where families listen to Disney Frozen stories, demo new toys, take fun photos and participate in giveaways.

A classic mall staple, Claire’s has released an 82-piece Disney Frozen 2 collection with 67 of the products being exclusive to the retailer. The store’s offering boasts the largest Frozen collection outside of licensed Disney retail stores.

Claire’s and Disney are also launching a limited-edition “Frozen Friday” assortment with one new item hitting stores each Friday, starting November 22 and going through December 20.

S’well is showing that the brand as appeal outside of the toy category with themed water bottles and food storage containers, creating moments for branded magic throughout the household.

Flurries of Frozen items are continuing to heat up retailers across categories and it’s not expected to let up anytime soon.

The magic of Disney is coming to a Target store near you, including a Disney Story Time event on November 23rd.
Claire's limited-edition Frozen merchandise features jewelry, hair bows and cold weather accessories.
Oct
30

Hyping the holidays.

Halloween isn’t officially over yet, but that’s not stopping category leaders from surging ahead into this critical spending season. In today’s post, we take a look into who’s making the seamless switch from ghosts and ghouls to merry and bright – and who’s skipping tradition entirely.

We’ve noticed that within each product category there are clear trailblazers – retailers that are unafraid of launching holiday early and are seemingly monopolizing the early bird position. Sephora, Lowe’s, and Michaels are three retailers that are winning their categories so far when it comes to setting the stage for seasonal cheer.

The loud cacophony of jingle bells, ho ho hos, and the crisp crinkle of wrapping paper will be here before we know it – but for now, soft launches are key to laying subtle groundwork for a successful holiday season. Target and Lululemon are two brands that are excelling in generating excitement across audiences.

Target launched Target Circle, a new loyalty program that awards shoppers more benefits than ever on those impulse purchases and even offers opportunities for consumers to have a voice in how and where Target gives in their communities – an effective combination of both the Meaningful and Personalized dimensions.

Lululemon is looking to extend beyond the screen and embody their brand essence with the debut of their experiential store in Chicago. The space succeeds in the Immersive dimension, giving brand enthusiasts access to two fitness studios, a meditation space, and a full-functioning restaurant.

While neither Target nor Lululemon are in the news for holiday yet, these new initiatives are exciting existing and new customers and ensuring both brands a rapt following once they begin to roll out new products and collections.

As for Black Friday, not too much is on the horizon yet with the notable exception of REI. REI was the first brand to officially begin Black Friday messaging, but with a vehement anti-Black Friday sentiment. Similar to campaigns from past years, REI is getting ahead of the pack with seasonal messaging and pushing their #optoutside campaign to drive home their brand essence and emotionally connect with consumers.

We anticipate the Black Friday content to start pouring in come the start of November, and we’re eagerly await the onslaught of enticing deals and offers to come … for research purposes only, of course.

Stay tuned as we delve into a little Black Friday history next week and its ever-expanding definition – because we all certainly know it’s no longer limited to just the Friday after Thanksgiving.

“Our guests are at the center of everything we do, and we’re always looking for new ways to create even easier, more rewarding shopping experiences that give them another reason to choose Target more often,” says Rick Gomez, EVP and CMO, Target.
These days, most shoppers are “looking for more than a transaction,” when they seek out retailers, Celeste Burgoyne, EVP of Global Guest Innovation for Lululemon in the Americas, said in an interview.
Oct
28

Which retailers are sleighing holiday?

We’re making a list and checking it twice – it’s time for our inaugural roundup of which retailers are sleighing the holidays and which ones could use a revamp. Join us weekly through the end of 2019 as we celebrate the most joyous time of the year … unless you are working in retail, that is.

Seriously though, the hectic pace of the holidays can get to all of us – making it hard to keep track of all the exciting seasonal trends happening across retail. And if this season feels shorter than usual to you – it’s not just you. The official holiday season is typically measured from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, meaning the shopping season can last anywhere between 25 and 31 days. This year, due to a late Thanksgiving, the shopping season is six days shorter than in 2018 – forcing retailers to get creative to account for almost a week’s worth of volume.

To help you both save time and savor the magic of the holidays, we’re here to keep you updated on the top holiday trends in retail. We’re tracking 20 retailers across industries and categories and monitoring each of their marketing activities on a weekly basis through the lens of our 6D’s of Brand Experience.

We’re making it our unofficial job to become experts in these retailer’s holiday launches. We’ve downloaded their apps, followed them on social media (even creating TikTok accounts!), and are frequently walking their stores to keep track of every joy-filled move.

JLL is predicting solid growth in holiday sales this season. Although online shopping will continue to be big, only 26.7 percent of consumers who prioritize having a fun shopping experience named an internet retailer among their top holiday shopping options – highlighting the importance of a strong omnichannel experience.

Magic is clearly in the air and it’s only getting stronger with each passing day. Stick with us as we start to dive into the heart of holiday and stay tuned for the next installation in this seasonal series!

Nov
03

Target Shines

Seriously though, the hectic pace of the holidays can get to all of us – making it hard to keep track of all the exciting seasonal trends happening across retail. And if this season feels shorter than usual to you – it's not just you. The official holiday season is typically measured from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, meaning the shopping season can last anywhere between 25 and 31 days. This year, due to a late Thanksgiving, the shopping season is six days shorter than in 2018 – forcing retailers to get creative to account for almost a week's worth of volume.

To help you both save time and savor the magic of the holidays, we're here to keep you updated on the top holiday trends in retail. We're tracking 20 retailers across industries and categories and monitoring each of their marketing activities on a weekly basis through the lens of our 6D's of Brand Experience.

Seriously though, the hectic pace of the holidays can get to all of us – making it hard to keep track of all the exciting seasonal trends happening across retail. And if this season feels shorter than usual to you – it is.
Nov
02

Macy's Window Magic

Seriously though, the hectic pace of the holidays can get to all of us

Seriously though, the hectic pace of the holidays can get to all of us – making it hard to keep track of all the exciting seasonal trends happening across retail. And if this season feels shorter than usual to you – it's not just you. The official holiday season is typically measured from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, meaning the shopping season can last anywhere between 25 and 31 days. This year, due to a late Thanksgiving, the shopping season is six days shorter than in 2018 – forcing retailers to get creative to account for almost a week's worth of volume.

Nov
03

Target Shines

Seriously though, the hectic pace of the holidays can get to all of us – making it hard to keep track of all the exciting seasonal trends happening across retail. And if this season feels shorter than usual to you – it's not just you. The official holiday season is typically measured from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, meaning the shopping season can last anywhere between 25 and 31 days. This year, due to a late Thanksgiving, the shopping season is six days shorter than in 2018 – forcing retailers to get creative to account for almost a week's worth of volume.

To help you both save time and savor the magic of the holidays, we're here to keep you updated on the top holiday trends in retail. We're tracking 20 retailers across industries and categories and monitoring each of their marketing activities on a weekly basis through the lens of our 6D's of Brand Experience.

Seriously though, the hectic pace of the holidays can get to all of us – making it hard to keep track of all the exciting seasonal trends happening across retail. And if this season feels shorter than usual to you – it is.
Nov
03

Target Shines

Seriously though, the hectic pace of the holidays can get to all of us – making it hard to keep track of all the exciting seasonal trends happening across retail. And if this season feels shorter than usual to you – it's not just you. The official holiday season is typically measured from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, meaning the shopping season can last anywhere between 25 and 31 days. This year, due to a late Thanksgiving, the shopping season is six days shorter than in 2018 – forcing retailers to get creative to account for almost a week's worth of volume.

To help you both save time and savor the magic of the holidays, we're here to keep you updated on the top holiday trends in retail. We're tracking 20 retailers across industries and categories and monitoring each of their marketing activities on a weekly basis through the lens of our 6D's of Brand Experience.

Seriously though, the hectic pace of the holidays can get to all of us – making it hard to keep track of all the exciting seasonal trends happening across retail. And if this season feels shorter than usual to you – it is.
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