Still deep in winter and with New Year’s resolutions firmly left behind in January, we are all in need of some inspiration to get back on the wagon in time for the summer months.
Yet it is not just consumers who feel the pressure to deliver. Retailers, especially in the leisure-wear sector, also feel the heat during the winter months to stay ahead of the competition. How do they remain relevant and fresh?
We expect 2017 will see retailers take more time to find out what makes their customer base tick, finding the sweet spot which will make them spend
In recent years, the sale of workout clothing has seen exponential growth. Retailers such as Lululemon, Sweaty Betty and Nike and high street names like H&M and Primark have capitalised on health-conscious individuals who not only want to talk the talk but also walk the walk in their gym kit. For high street names, incorporating these lines into an existing offer has been a way in which to appeal to new and existing shoppers and, in turn, encouraging the likes of JD Sports to work even harder to retain their core customer base.
Despite fierce competition, a wider range of price points means that there is something for everyone and explains just why this trend is growing so quickly. This, coupled with a consumer statement about lifestyle and practicality, means that we will expect to see this attract more consumer spend.
Another trend that is set to grow this year is that of the concept store. Consumers continue to search for shops that offer something a little different and retailers are implementing a myriad of techniques to engage with them. With online retail becoming increasingly quotidian, retailers need to create a space which cannot be replicated online.
Taking the experiential approach in its stride, athletic apparel store Lululemon has been offering yoga classes in-store for a number of years now, though we expect it’s 2017 that will see it really take off. Complimentary lessons are another way for the retailer to engage with its customer base and a way to get across that their clothing is more than something to wear to the gym – it’s a way of life.
According to them, they wanted “to create more than a place where people could get gear to sweat in, we wanted to create a community hub where people could learn and discuss the physical aspects of healthy living [, and] to create real relationships with our guests and understand what they were passionate about.”
Another example of this is Nike, who organise running clubs across the UK. Starting and finishing at the store, this is a subtle way of engaging the customer with its brand. To change for your run, you will walk past their products on the way through. Much like Click and Collect, the temptation to buy something whilst you are there is much higher.
This is great news for landlords with developments in locations with high footfall and an affluent consumer demographic like Canary Wharf, which benefits from housing multi-use operators which are maximising their space.
One stop protein shop
Supplementing the growing number of healthy eating cafes and juice bars, has emerged a major player in the form of Protein Haus. Founded by Carli Wheatley in 2015, this one-stop shop for health foods slims down the offer available and now has four sites across London. Taking the tried-and-tested juice bar model to a whole new level, Protein Haus offers a unique, tailored experience and is doing a roaring trade in central, office-dense locations like Moorgate, Westfield and Canary Wharf.
As we progress through the year, we will see retailers and leisure operators combine their thinking more strategically about how to engage with their customers.