Think about that store you just couldn’t live without. It may not check off every item on your shopping list, but you can trust that it will probably tick off a few. Our relationship to our favorite retailers is built on this idea that its products and ethos embody our own values and outlook. We rely on these shops to bring our innate point of view to life through product, decor, or otherwise, and as a result, they oftentimes become a part of backstory we want to tell.
One way retailers could take a more active role in the “Lifestyle Curation” of their shoppers is by rethinking their merchandising mix and displays by placing products into fresh contexts that connect to shopper interests and needs. Whether bundling products and services into functional ecosystems or complementing mainstream offerings with bespoke selections from emerging makers and designers, this new approach to curation not only differentiates individual stores, but also creates new sales opportunities. Done well, retailers are positioned to help their shoppers ‘Imagine the Ideal’ both in-store and outside of it.
One example of this trend is “Connected Solutions” from department store chain Sears. The concept offers a tightly edited selection of smart products at three pilot shops and within a dedicated online store that walks curious shoppers through their first experiences with connected goods and how they can fit into their daily lives. Featuring goods across consumer electronics, fitness, automotive, home and mobile categories, the in-store and online experiences raise awareness of smart devices, as well as help consumers understand how they can be used to improve their lives. Staged in an entertaining and interactive environment, product curation and learning come together to help nudge even slower-to-adopt consumers on to the newest and emerging products and experiences.
In another example of lifestyle curation, as part of New York City’s Design Week, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Design Store featured popular products from crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. The crowd-funding site’s first collaboration with a retailer featured a curated line of 24 products that went on sale at MoMA design stores across the city.
The partnership was aimed at focusing on the thriving community and creativity on Kickstarter and showcasing it to the world, as well as offering consumers an all-in-one place to purchase unique products. Similarly technology retailer RadioShack Labs worked in partnership PCH International to offer special retail terms to select PCH Access startups. The special access included giving PCH startup products direct access to over 2,000 RadioShack stores, as well as having them featured on the retailer’s online store. RadioShack is also dedicating space in their stores for the products built by these PCH Access companies.
Instead of approaching retail as a set of singular transactions, retailers can begin considering it an evolving series of decisions that build on another, offering a unique and compelling point of view. By offering an expertly curated selection of products and services that connect with and complement a broader lifestyle, you can become a valuable partner in your customers’ lives. As a retailer, how can you make your products and services the answers to your customers’ needs?