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The Experience Brands Weekly #199

2018: How we’ve shopped

Last week John Lewis released their annual retail report – their look back at the last 12 months of retail, what we’ve all been buying and how we’ve been buying it. Big events shaped the year, along with the weather, with the arrival of Love Island boosting sales of Elemis Tan Accelerator by 51%, the World Cup helped TV sales rise by 49% and the Sarah Chapman beauty products used by Meghan Markle are up 57% since the Roy al Wedding. We’ve had a read and other than learning that rainbows are in, yellow dresses were up by 401% and DVD players are most definitely on their way out (down 40%) these are out top three take outs.

1. The Shift to mobile is gathering pace.

The number of orders placed on smartphone were up 35% last year on John Lewis. While shoppers still like to make bigger purchases that have more research behind them using a desktop, mobile is catching up on these sales with 21% of sales made on the move up from 16% last year. Smartphones now account for the biggest share of John Lewis’s website visits at 42% compared with 22% via tablet and 30% on desktop.

2. The desire to be more sustainable is changing shopper behaviour.

This time last year, Blue Planet II hadn’t hit our screens, but it’s impact and the wider drive towards living more sustainably can be seen in what we are buying. There was a 1700% increase in searches for sustainable coffee cups in October last year, water bottles are up 37% and the overall food storage category is up 15%. While having less environmental impact and living more sustainably have been ambitions for many for a while, this is year we have started following through with purchases.

3. Destination retail with services and experiences is good business.

When we are not looking for hyper-convenience, buying on the go with quick delivery times, there is a desire for shops to be more of an experience offering more services, so we want to spend time there. Footfall to the rooftop of the John Lewis Oxford Street stall was up 23%, the Fever Tree mini masterclasses sold out in 72hours and their Poolside activation – a highly Instagrammable collection of inflatables with live music in two shop engaged 35,000 customers and generated over 400,000 Instagram posts. Meanwhile, of customers who used their personal styling service, 97% go on to make a purchase and over the next year after their appointment they spend an average of 30% more than customers who haven’t used the service. In the new White City store, six stylists are currently driving 1/5 of the total womenswear trade across the store. Services are a good investment.


So while we may not know what the next rainbow and yellow is going to be (maybe llamas and green, but don’t hold me to that) these three trends are here to stay.


Other Bites:

Fanta Twisted Carnival:

Fanta have released two new flavours to coincide with Halloween. Blood Orange Zero and Pink Grapefruit Zero. To help launch these flavours, they’ve created a spooktacular travelling Twisted Carnival.The interactive experience toured shopping centres in 4 locations across the UK. We popped into the one in Westfield and had a frightfully good time. Not only did we get our heads pickled in a jar but we were sent into a pitch black room and had the bejeezus scared out of us, before being rewarded with a can of Fanta.  



Lidl House of Hortus

Lidl launched a touring pop-up gin bar. The Lidl House of Hortus, inspired by its Hortus Gin range guarantees visitors an ‘immersive and Instagrammable’ experience. The taste journey be’gin’s in the Pink Gin Liqueur Lounge where tastings are on offer, continues in the Botanical Garden where mixologists will be on hand to create customised gin and botanical pairings and ends at the Spirits in the Sky bar where, if you’re not sozzled by then, you can fill your boots with Lidl’s wider range of spirits.




Glenrothes Honesty Trail

Whisky that you can pay what you want for. Need any more convincing? Glenrothes are taking their whisky honesty bar up and down the country to different bars who will all be serving up drams (neat, or on the rocks) of the 10YO and 12YO whiskies from The Glenrothes’ Soleo Collection (aged in sherry-seasoned casks for a sweeter finish).