January 18, 2022
Changes in Retail for Digitally Native Brands – Wellness vs. Burnout

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The pandemic has ushered in a host of new changes to how customers interact with brands. Burnout and exhaustion have become key trends for workers everywhere, and with social distancing and many still working from home, human interaction and wellness are more important than ever. 

With this in mind, digitally native brands more than ever have had to alter their strategies and innovate new ways to create relationships with customers. Per a 2021 survey, 45 percent of workers feel emotionally drained after work, and 44 percent say they are “used up at the end of their work day”, which can affect customer activity in terms of shopping online and interacting with brands. Digitally native-brands are well-situated, however, to adapt to these new preferences and digital fatigue among their customer base. 

Because these brands—think Warby Parker, Glossier, and FaceGym, among others—were born online, they have been afforded distinct advantages in the marketplace. Through analyzing and understanding online customer behavior, brand owners are able to maximize their knowledge of their clientele’s preferences, and have an improved ability to predict potential future preferences. 

Included in this movement towards creative solutions to digital burnout for workers, and improvements in wellness, are unique pop-up shops and social media-ready experiences. Warby Parker, an eyeglass retailer, for example, has installed a “Green Room” in a number of their stores, which offer customers the chance to shoot 15-second videos of themselves in different styles of glasses. These videos are in turn easily postable to social media platforms and enhance the customer-retail experience. Moreover, digitally native brands that are able to promote wellness, and minimize the effect of digital burnout in customers, could see increased activity in the near future. Consider that 75 percent of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website or a brand’s physical location, after they’ve viewed a customer or brand’s post. 

This strategy can be classified as the decision to prioritize experiential marketing in lieu of bombarding customers with more digital content. This can also support brand’s who are trying to promote health and wellness in their customer base as well. By bringing together customers around a central idea or interest – consider how Faber created a pop-up cart to market Sally Rooney’s new novel, with bucket hats available among other items – companies can much more effectively attract interest to their brand and products without the overwhelming nature of digital advertising. 

Furthermore, customers are looking for alternate forms of marketing and advertising when deciding on which brand to buy from or interact with. Per data, 75 percent of customers believe brands could do more to ensure wellness is easier to achieve, and 73 percent expect wellness to be embraced as a part of a business’ core mission. Customers are also focused on wellness that extends past bodily health or diet, and are expecting brands to integrate wellness strategies that go beyond physical or mental benefits. In effect, customers prefer brands that offer good value for their money, while also positively impacting the environment and community in the area. This can be accomplished through a number of strategies, such as making products and services more accessible to people of color and to upper, middle and lower class customers alike. 

In conclusion, brands will have to prioritize the merging of physical and digital locations, and work to mitigate burnout in customers. Through innovative marketing strategies, such as pop-ups, social media-ready offerings, special events, and an emphasis on environmental impact and carbon footprint, business leaders can continue to attract new business and customers while supporting their clientele base.