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Retail Trends & What Glossier Got Right

Retail Trends & What Glossier Got Right
January 31, 2022

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Shopify hosts a third of all e-commerce websites in the U.S., or over 3 million brands. That share makes the company distinctly qualified to speak to the trends, factors, and issues shaping retail. The company recently released its 140-page 2022 Future of Commerce Trend Report, chock-full of industry insights. We summarize the retail trends here, using the headline-grabbing D2C beauty brand Glossier as a case study. The company set trends in retail but recently announced a course correction by laying off 80 technical employees.

                                                         Glossier in-store experience

Trend #1: Digitally native brands will go IRL 
Add “online shopping boredom” to the list of new pandemic-related terms, including Zoom fatigue and languishing. People are sick of online shopping and want to get back into stores. Meanwhile, the pandemic retail sweep means leases are easier to come by, and physical retail can be a less expensive customer acquisition tool than digital advertising.

Glossier, which began as a digitally-native brand, opened stores in New York and Los Angeles before the pandemic and subsequently closed them when trying on mascara became a coronavirus no-no. The company is back with retail locations in Seattle, LA, and London.

Trend #2: Omnichannel or else
Retailers create loyalty through a seamless customer journey across digital and physical experiences. People want to see the product in-store, read reviews and order online, and have the option to return in-store. 

Glossier started with a flagship store in New York where customers could experience the brand IRL. Those customers could try out the product, compare tips with other shoppers, and get help from a hip retail staff clad in pink jumpsuits. The company’s recent layoffs come from the tech side, where the company was ambitiously pursuing an internally-robust technological capacity. It is now pivoting to leverage external partners and say the move is to recalibrate after it got ahead of itself by hiring too many people after an $80MM Series E last summer.

Trend #3: Rethinking retail staff 
Like most industries, the retail industry is seeing greater demands. Customers want happy, helpful service, and employees are tired of constantly smiling without decent pay, opportunities for advancement, and investment in their career advancement.

Glossier came under fire in 2020 for racist work culture, as described by numerous retail employees. There are no reports on how the culture has changed, but equity, inclusion, and personal development are heavily referenced in current retail employee job descriptions.

For more retail content, check out our previous Daily Stack articles: D2C Grows Up,  Gen Z approved retailers, & 2021 Retail Trends.

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