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Now, New, Next: New approaches coming into focus

As we move into 2020, brands are re-examining how they are building long-term relationships with their customers. Some are dusting off playbooks from years past, giving a fresh spin on everything from loyalty programs to audio branding.

In the Winter/Spring Retail Trends Update, we take a look at how some of the trends we identified in our annual Now, New, Next retail trends report have evolved, driving the retail landscape forward.

1. Brand loyalty rebooted: Making loyalty simpler

Brands are revamping their approaches to their customer loyalty programs, creating more streamlined experiences that encourage engagement and provide new value to the customer experience.

  • Responding to guest feedback that their multiple loyalty programs were difficult to navigate, Target simplified the experience into one program, Target Circle. Circle offers a mix of emotional and transactional benefits and appears to be resonating with consumers: 40% of 2019 holiday purchases came through Circle members.

2. Secondhand for good: Embracing the circular economy

Consumers have welcomed innovation in the secondhand market, attracted by both the value and environmental benefits. Brands looking to create socially conscious images are testing resale opportunities as well as the use of upcycled materials. 

  • Aerie is targeting their eco-conscious consumers with a new swim line made from recycled plastic water bottles. The Real Good Swim line is designed to get people talking about sustainability, and demonstrates that consumers don’t have to sacrifice functionality and design for sustainability.

3. Making the right play with consumers: Meeting customers where they are

Gaming has exploded into the mainstream and many brands have taken notice. From mobile games to recorded streams and more, consumers in all demographics are participating in e-sports and gaming. Brands are engaging with consumers and establishing relevancy through sponsorships, advertising, and making IRL (in real life) connections.

  • Recognizing the importance of gaming to their younger consumer base, Five Below is rolling out gaming centers connected to a select group of their stores. The 3,000 sq. ft. e-sports centers can accommodate 30–50 gamers, and will host leagues, tournament events, and training camps.

4. Crafting an audio identity: Tapping the power of sound

With new opportunities in audio, many brands are taking a branding approach to what they sound like. From custom Spotify playlists to sonic logos, experimentation in audio is giving brands a fresh way to connect with consumers.

  • In order to create a deeper connection with their empowered female consumers, jewelry brand Kendra Scott launched a series of playlists on Spotify. The playlists feature up and coming female artists. For a limited time, listeners who show a store associate they are following the playlists can receive a 15% discount on their purchase. 


For more on these trends and for access to the full 2020 Now, New, Next report, please visit




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