Videos of post-lockdown life in Israel’s second largest city Tel Aviv started to make their way onto Twitter a few weeks ago and the wave of positivity has been pretty impossible to ignore ever since.
Tel Aviv! ????????????
What life looks like post-lockdown and post-vaccines.
— Xavi Ruiz (@xruiztru) March 16, 2021
It’s not the sun, fun and freshly poured beers that fill us with hope though: with most of the guys at Green Room now looking like members of The Bee Gees, it’s the promise of a freshly cut head of hair that really gets us excited.
Fortunately here in the UK, we don’t have to live vicariously through videos on social media for too much longer, with only a few weeks to go until lockdown restrictions begin to finally lift.
And it won’t just be bars and barbers that will be busy, as non-essential retail also opens its doors next week, on April 12th.
Consumer Confidence is High
All major outlets are now reporting on the widespread consumer confidence: The Times, for example, touch on the fact that household confidence has surged to its highest level since March 2020 – a trend which only looks set to gather pace in one direction.
No matter where you’re based in the world, lockdown measures are incredibly likely to begin to lift at some point over the next few months, with increasing consumer confidence in-market to follow.
Given the widespread positivity, brands face a very exciting climate to work in now. With some forms of restriction likely to last into next year, a few creative solutions will be perfectly placed to help capture the moment.
Here are three of the activations we think will dominate retail in the post-lockdown world.
1. Transportable Formats
Even before last year, travelling retail activations were a growing topic of conversation with the brands we work with across the globe.
And it goes without saying that the transportable activation route is even more appealing now than ever before.
Ice Cream trucks have been rocking up and creating excitement on every street of almost every town in the Western World for years, and the idea for brands to be able to do something similar in the year ahead isn’t just a practical one, but it’s also very, very cool.
Louis Vuitton, one of the earliest adopters of pop-ups, are one of the first to invest in a new transportable format this year with LV By Appointment, a traveling brand capsule.
As the name suggests, this activation is also bookings only: another trend we may see more and more of over the coming months. Not only does this offer exclusivity and a far more personal experience, but this also serves to make even the most hygiene-conscious of consumers feel safe.
While our appetite for experiences has grown significantly due to the year-long fast we’ve all been on, brand’s appetite for long-term leases will no doubt have shrunk.
And on that note, the flexibility and agility pop-ups offer will be much more appealing to brands of all shapes and sizes in the year to come.
Like their transportable counterparts, pop-ups are more than practical activations, making use of one key psychological principle in their deployment: scarcity.
Knowing that a new brand is in town in one thing, but knowing it’s only going to be there for a number of weeks or months can drive a serious amount of traction.
Given the fact that many brands will be looking to diversify their market split now too, pop-up retail formats make perfect sense for new territories.
3. Sensorial Experiences
Sensory retail is nothing new: the old bakery technique of using alluring smells to butter up passersby has famously been a core part of the retail strategies of brands including Starbucks, Lush and Abercombie & Fitch.
Now though, with a pent-up demand not just to get back to the shops and spend, but also to experience the world through our senses, sensorial retail experiences will be perfectly placed as a way for brands to bring moments of unexpected excitement into the lives of consumers.
Of course, one of the challenges will be tactility (or a lack of) given the nature of the current climate, presenting brands with the opportunity to go touch-free. Depending on the nature of your products, motion-sensors and haptic technology could be used to fuel your brand experiences in the coming months.
Got an exciting new project you’d like to discuss? Or figuring out what your next move should be? Get in touch today – we’d love to talk about your plans and ambitions.