Are fashion trucks the next big thing?
Keith Austin considers the latest trend hitting the U.S. – retail truck tours – and how this new take on retail could be the next big thing on this side of the pond. More than 60,000 high streets shops are predicted to close and 164 retail chains to go into administration, according to the recent Retail Futures 2018 report from the Centre of Retail Research.
There’s no doubt that the high street is struggling as bricks and mortar give way to the online world. But it’s not all doom and gloom and those that are offering an immersive shopping experiences, using new technology and techniques to engage customers are prospering. It’s simply a matter of survival and one of the latest trends hitting the U.S. is the use of retail trucks to better reach and engage shoppers.
Going mobile is proven to be one of the most effective ways to get brands and products directly in front of customers. Fashion is everywhere and so it makes sense that this concept has made its way into the retail arena.
‘Fashion trucks’ or ‘mobile boutiques’ are now making their way around the States from East Coast to West, the Mid West, South, and so it goes on. Both small niche designers and big name brands have jumped on board with New York designer Cynthia Rowley and Aether Apparel among them as well as Madewell, which recently embarked on a 14-city roadtrip.
The phenomenon has grown so popular over the last few years that it even has its own association, The American Mobile Retail Association, and code of ethics which caters to both mobile retailers and their communities.
For on-line retailers it’s an opportunity to establish a real physical connection with their customers. People can interact in a way that is impossible on-line. Of course, the use of social media will make the truck ‘phygital’ and attract a much larger audience.
So why do roadshow truck tours translate so well to the retail environment?
Impact – Nothing makes a presence like a truck, especially when fully branded and packed with a creative retail experience. A mobile pop up store is a sure way to draw a crowd.
Personal experience – It allows brands to take products direct to customers, providing a branded/immersive experience in a captivating environment gives the impression of a more one-to-one exclusive experience, delivering personal service that shoppers expect.
Mobile billboard: Not just about the event itself, while on the road you are a mobile billboard advertising your products and brand.
Fashion forward: Capitalising on nature of shoppers; this is a new trend/innovative, this group is receptive to creativity and new ideas.
Direct contact: You take your brand and products to the customer, you aren’t waiting for them to arrive in store. Opportunity to move to a new location daily and use social media so shoppers can find you.
Convenience: Part of the lure of online shopping is the convenience. By making your store mobile, taking products to customers, it’s a much more convenient way to shop, taking fashion to time constrained people.
You would be in good company too, Aston Martin, Hugo Boss and Samsung are already getting ahead here in the UK with the use of mobile retail truck tours, what’s more it’s giving them a USP and a powerful retail edge over their competitors.