The January Diaries

A collection of the latest Retail Hive member insights
Covering international expansion, cost control, Gen Z, and other key themes…

To mark the start of the new year, The Retail Hive team has been busy catching up with our members, hearing all about their time off work and listening closely to some of their biggest goals and priorities for the year ahead. The insights shared by our members are conducive to our meetings, helping to shape several of our onsite roundtable discussions, masterclasses, keynote sessions, and more. So, we thought it would be nice to share some of the recurring themes from our conversations so far with the network…

International Expansion

Brands are becoming increasingly interested in the Middle East for international expansion. This is particularly true of our luxury community. However, new markets often come hand in hand with unique payment methods, meaning that our members are having to transition from PayPal or Apple Pay to the likes of Tamara. In France, Lydia is the go-to payment app, whilst in Italy, customers seemingly have a preference for cash on delivery.

Adapting to different markets and keeping the customer front of mind is essential. In addition, offering customers the option to pay in instalments can be hugely helpful from a loyalty perspective.

The US and Asia are also popular retail destinations for our members, but with sky-high costs, market saturation and the ongoing Red Sea crisis, tapping into these markets is no easy feat.

The Cross-Border Benchmark

Our friends at TransPerfect are commonly asked about the pitfalls and opportunities of global eCommerce, which markets other brands are navigating, and how much resource brands should dedicate to international. So, we teamed up to create The Cross-Border Benchmark—based on an industry survey of 31 international leaders, and supported by interviews and insights from a hand-picked group of retail experts at varying stages of their global eCommerce journey. Take a look…

Cost Control

After a costly year and due to not hitting their forecasts, some brands are reassessing their growth plans for 2024 and adjusting their stock to drive profitability. This has led to members looking at in-house solutions to their common challenges, as opposed to always working with third-party providers. Striking a balance is key. In-house solutions may allow for greater control and freedom when it comes to your brand, but third-party knowledge and guidance can be vital for long-term success and financial stability.

More specifically, some members are currently trying to keep their cloud AI costs at bay. Many brands are now investing in AI to better manage and harness customer data insights, and as AI advances, warehouses are also expected to see improvements in their AMR capability.

From A to Z

We have long heard how Gen Z are influencing the shopping experience—from high street to luxury brands—but Gen Z also form the internal teams of many retail organisations and are integral to their success. As a result, members are looking at ways to retain their staff and build resilience. This has involved brands exploring different generations and their unique motivations or ways of working, such as the attitudes of Gen Z vs. Gen X. Is working onsite the key to success, or is the 5-day office week a thing of the past? Conducting thorough research can help you to answer these questions with confidence and retain top talent. 

Some luxury members are seeking to create experiential moments in their office space, similar to those that customers might experience when walking into their favourite shop. Location can be pivotal to creating the right look and feel for your brand. At 5 Carlos Place, Matches Fashion have perfected a luxurious, but lived-in feel for their Mayfair store.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

With sustainability becoming a growing concern for retailers, our members are now turning their focus to accurately mapping and reporting on their carbon emissions for logistics activity. Not so much around warehousing, but rather around transport and then integrating this data into their own decision support tools.

Some members have reported the feeling of hitting a brick wall; they are doing all of the things you’d expect them to do, such as trialling electrical vehicles and using alternative fuels, but with the weight of the freight they’re working with, electric vehicles simply aren’t the answer. Can hydrogen vehicles better support the sustainable transport of goods?

Another core area of focus is ‘green’ packaging and having sustainable, same-day delivery options, but these often come at a cost to the customer or business.

Baby Boom

Since COVID-19, members have reported a consequent baby boom and the revival of this retail sector. Fashion and beauty providers are now leaning into this increase in purchases by tailoring products to new mums. Influencers can also play a key role here through their glamorous portrayal of motherhood on social media platforms, namely Instagram and TikTok.

Some may argue that timing is everything. Having a great product, stellar marketing team and brand awareness is one thing, but high demand is critical to effectively tap into your target audience.

What’s Next?

We’ll be touching on these topics and so many more at our upcoming Retail Hive meetings, so make sure you register your interest via the buttons below.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and fabulous year, and we hope to see you in person soon!