Retail

OWIU Goods sells experiences not products

Tomoko Imade Dyen’s tea omakase was detailed and intimate and elegant and while she is not a designer nor a potter, she became a “main character” that night in telling the “story” of OWIU Goods. Without characters helping tell the story and show how to use the products in new and interesting ways, you can limit growth and miss out on reaching potential consumers. Sometimes finding those characters is obvious. In this case, Tomoko is an expert in elevated culinary experiences, helping to market to those who appreciate them too and can use OWIU Goods to enhance their own everyday culinary experiences.

How ‘zero’ consumers are driving business

A new cadre of consumers are emerging: the “zeros.”
These shoppers have zero boundaries, zero interest in middle-market goods, zero loyalty and zero patience, according to a report from global consulting firm McKinsey published in its McKinsey Quarterly journal.
But brands, retailers and designers who understand their motivations and priorities could cultivate these consumers, adding zeros to their bottom line.
Let’s take a look at their traits, one by one:
Zero boundaries
Consumers continue to favor an omnichannel retail model, moving frequently (and hopefully seamlessly) between in-store and online shopping. When they choose to shop through which channel depends on a host of factors, including what they’re buying, their mood, how much time they have, and if they happen to be near a store or cozily ensconced on their sofa when they remember they need something. McKinsey notes that “even grocery, once a stubbornly store-based category, is becoming solidly omnichannel, with nearly 40% of U.S. consumers saying they do at least some of their grocery shopping online.”
Overall, about three-quarters of consumers still prefer to purchase furniture in-store, but that’s driven by older consumers and a desire among all ages to feel/lie down on big-ticket, comfort-focused items like sofas and mattresses, according to new Consumer Insights Now research. (Consumer Insights Now research is conducted on behalf of Decor News Now and its sister publications to provide actionable information for furniture buyers ahead of the High Point Market each fall and spring.)
But if you dig into the CIN numbers, you’ll see that younger shoppers are more likely to buy all categories of furniture online, and home furnishings shoppers of all ages more evenly split their shopping between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores when they are buying smaller items like rugs, lighting and decorative accessories.
Today, omnichannel retail extends beyond the typical brick-and-mortar/e-commerce dichotomy and into shopping via social media and relying on influencers and celebrities for product information, McKinsey notes. CIN research shows more than one in 10 shoppers relies on social media posts from influencers/celebrities for product guidance. That figure doubles to two in 10 shoppers when considering just adult Gen Z shoppers (ages 18-26) — and they are helping to define the future of retail.
Zero interest in the middle
We’ve been seeing a bifurcation across consumer product markets for some time, with consumers, as McKinsey puts it, “either scrimping or splurging.” The report notes that the total share of consumer dollars spent on midpriced goods and services has dropped nearly 10% in the past five years. The trend is being accelerated, in part, by economic realities. Consumers on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder are getting hit harder by inflation, with wages that aren’t keeping up, and are looking for bargains. Consumers on the upper rungs often want the quality, durability and prestige that can come with higher-priced goods.
Concerningly, it appears that more consumers may be in that first group. McKinsey notes that last spring, 80% of U.S. consumers said they were “trading down to lower-priced options.”
To help cover the costs of furniture that might be immediately out of reach, about one in four shoppers plans to use financing options (such as personal or retailer-branded credit cards) that allow for monthly installment payments to pay for big-ticket furniture like dining tables, sofas, recliners and mattresses, CIN research found. And about four in 10 are more likely to buy from a store that offers financing options — and that’s a way retailers can step shoppers up to higher-end goods.
One group that has money to spend is older consumers with disposable incomes. I wrote about these vibrant mature consumers recently.
Zero loyalty
There was a time when one way many families identified themselves was by the car brand they favored. There were Buick buyers and committed Cadillac owners. (Truth be told, I have a Honda habit.) In some ways, the same was true of furniture. My family was a fan of Ethan Allen, and I still have inherited pieces from that brand in my home.
But brand loyalty is waning. “About half of consumers reported switching brands in 2022, compared with only one-third in 2020,” McKinsey notes. “What’s more, about 90% said they’ll keep switching.” That doesn’t mean companies can skimp on brand-building efforts, but it does mean they can’t rest on their reputation. Instead, brands, retailers and even designers need to continually innovate and offer new products and services that meet consumers’ evolving needs and give them a reason to return.
Zero patience
Consumers want what they want — and they want it now. We see this most clearly when it comes to free standard shipping, an expectation driven by Amazon’s next-day and same-day delivery service, as well as buy online, pick up in-store services offered by many retailers. “A plurality of customers today report that three-day shipping is the slowest they’ll tolerate before looking to other retailers,” McKinsey notes.
Consumers shopping for larger furniture pieces are a little more patient, CIN research shows. For instance, 37% of those in the market for dining room furniture are willing to wait two to three weeks for their purchase to arrive. But more than one in 10 expects delivery in less than a week, and two in 10 want their furniture in a week. The expectations are similar when it comes to delivery of reclining chairs, according to CIN.
Thankfully, supply chains once bottlenecked by pandemic closures have returned to almost normal. Bringing production back to North America is also helping many brands deliver orders more quickly to both retailers and consumers. Such improvements are helping designers better meet the needs of their clients, too. Some designers are also offering smaller, preset design packages that allow clients to enjoy a speedier makeover of a room or two.
These zero consumers don’t have to be thought of negatively. Success is just a matter of calculating how you can best meet their needs.

Is the luxe market losing its luster?

Late last week, RH released its second-quarter financial results, which included a 19% drop in revenue compared with the second quarter of last year. Even while giving its annual revenue guidance the tiniest of bumps — now estimated at $3.04 billion to $3.1 billion from a prior forecast of $3 billion to $3.1 billion — the company noted the difficulties that lie ahead.

Porsche teams up with Backdrop to bring an array of colors to your home

About Backdrop

Created by husband and wife duo Natalie & Caleb Ebel, Backdrop is The New Way to Paint. The company has transformed the whole process of painting from start to finish – from curating the perfect color palette to sourcing the highest quality supplies. Backdrop offers premium, Green Wise certified, and low-VOC paints that come in beautifully redesigned, award-winning paint cans, 12×12’’ removable adhesive samples, the highest quality supplies, and a perfectly curated palette of 75+ colors – all quickly delivered to your door. Since its launch in November 2018, each Backdrop sale has contributed to the International Rescue Committee, which helps displaced families in some of the most challenging places in the world, and in 2020 Backdrop became the first Climate Neutral certified paint company.

In 2021, Backdrop was acquired by renowned luxury design house F. Schumacher & Co (FSCO) and joined the company’s stable of global design brands, which includes Schumacher, the legendary textile and wallpaper brand founded in 1889; Patterson Flynn Martin, the luxury rug and carpet brand; and Frederic, Learn more at www.backdrophome.com and @backdrop.

Taking a page from a booksellers’ playbook

You remember Barnes & Noble, right? It’s that category killing bookstore that helped drive a lot of small independents out of business and then got its own comeuppance when people started buying books online and turning to e-readers for e-books.

Joseph Altuzarra brings luxury fashion to new West Elm Kids collection

Global design company, West Elm, a portfolio brand of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE: WSM), the world’s largest digital-first, design-led and sustainable home retailer, announced today the launch of a new collaboration with Joseph Altuzarra, the founder and creative director of luxury women’s ready-to-wear fashion brand, Altuzarra. The Joseph Altuzarra for West Elm Kids collection features furniture with elevated finishes as well as textiles and decorative accessories that are infused with Altuzarra’s own hand-drawn motifs. Created as a love letter to his two daughters, the sophisticated collection celebrates the signature artistry of Altuzarra while maintaining kid-friendly functionality.

Macy’s launches first small-format stores as part of ongoing expansion strategy

Macy’s smaller stores feature elevated fitting rooms with larger spaces, lounge areas, full-length mirrors, and selfie moments, creating an inviting atmosphere. The rooms also offer “styling carts” that help customers explore the latest trends from head to toe and provide a seamless and personalized experience.

SmithHönig combines texture and updated traditional design 

Inspired by the time-honored ikat dyeing technique where dye penetrates unevenly and creates a blurred, hazy effect, the 18”x18” pillows in the collection feature a printed ikat design in double-sided, soft-sueded velvet with a concealed zipper. The pillows are available with or without a luxurious down-alternative vegan insert. All SmithHönig pillows are hand-sewn and made-to-order in the company’s Dalton, Ga. facility.

We are living in the ‘phygital’ world

Consumers who wanted to shop in-store sometimes and online at other times forced retailers to become omnichannel, offering their wares through brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce sites. But omnichannel is not enough. Consumers increasingly want to shop in the “phygital world,” where technology speeds and improves the in-store browsing and buying experience.

PAR KER Made x Ayara makes boho line work for your walls

A match-made-in-heaven partnership between Parker Heath and Ayara was born from a chance meeting at Las Vegas Market, where Parker was exhibiting to gain further exposure for his own brand, Par Ker Made. What blossomed was the Par Ker Made x Ayara luxury removable wallpaper collaboration.