A Quick Glance Back, Then Full Steam Ahead: Our Year-End Recap

It’s been a busy year at Randal Retail Group, and we’re ready to take some time off over the holidays with friends, family, and loved ones before kicking it back into gear in the new year.

We’ve been so fortunate for our many clients and business relationships over the past year. We’re looking forward to some very exciting projects in 2020 and can’t wait to share more! Here’s a quick look at some trends we’ve noticed in 2019, and a few things we’re anticipating in the coming year:

Sales through the Thanksgiving weekend continued to be strong among retailers, as expected. Some popular companies like Costco struggled to keep up with consumer demand, with slow load times, delayed transaction times, and even website outages. In most cases, sites were back up and running, with sales extended through the next day or while supplies lasted.

“We know how stressful it can be to keep up with production during those peak periods of demand,” said Chuck Bray, Director of Marketing for Randal Retail Group. “Any successful company will go through times like that. The key to growth is being able to respond to customers quickly and get back up and running as soon as possible. Responding well in stressful situations can make a world of difference.”

Some retailers like Kohl’s have really been struggling this year in the women’s wear and home furnishings departments, while others are killing it in the retail space. According to CNBC, the luxury brand sector could soon take a hit as sales of French luxury companies like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Gucci have fallen off after the U.S. announced the possibility of heavy tariffs, which could begin in January 2020.

Experiential design continues to be a strong marketing tactic. Buyers want in-store experiences that tell a compelling brand story and actually show how products work. We love what Canada Goose is doing with their latest concept store in Toronto. In a bold move, the store holds no inventory, but instead takes shoppers through a multisensory experience so buyers can feel for themselves why the iconic outerwear is worth its hefty pricetag. While the brand has used the “cold room” model in other locations, the Toronto store offers an experience like no other: it snows daily. How’s that for experiential design? The tactic seems to be working for the Canadian retailer, as revenue from its retail operations grew 47% in its fiscal second quarter of 2019.

Other retailers focusing on experiential design include indoor trampoline and activity parks, escape rooms, and adult gaming stores. Restaurants continue to offer full dining experiences that can only be appreciated in a relaxed, sit-down environment, with Chicago-area restaurateurs continuing to lead the pack with inspired drink options, farm-to-table adventures, and delicacies from around the world.

The legalization of marijuana in several states in 2020 is top of mind for many retailers. As recreational marijuana became legally available this month in Michigan and goes into effect January 1, 2020 in Illinois, shoppers and retailers alike are scrambling to make sense of this strange new world.

Marijuana franchisors are setting up stores with a very clinical look and feel as they recognize the need to educate customers in this new, “wild west of pharmaceuticals.” Consumer education has become paramount for marijuana retailers, as the product comes in a wide variety of strains and uses including edibles, concentrates, creams, and vaporizers. Dispensaries are scrambling to install overhead menu boards, educational kiosks, and reading stations to help educate consumers on various product descriptions and pricing. Most shops will employ fully trained staff who can help answer questions on products that might be a relatively new experience for many shoppers.

Wherever your holiday travels take you, we hope you’ll be safe and surrounded by loved ones. Here’s to a wonderful holiday season, and much success in the coming year!

Sources:

From CNBC: Canada Goose Toronto 

Touch Bistro: The 25 Most Unique Restaurant Concepts in Chicago

From CNBC: It’s a Make-or-Break Holiday Season for These 6 Retailers

From CNBC: Record Cyber Monday Online Sales and Costco’s Website Goes Down on Thanksgiving

The status of marijuana sales in Michigan and Illinois

From CNBC: French Luxury Stocks Drop As Trump Threatens New Tariffs

 

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