Keep Up With Consumers: A New Age of Department Store Revolution

Keep Up With Consumers: A New Age of Department Store Revolution

Keep Up With Consumers: A New Age of Department Store Revolution 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

When people think of today’s department store, flashes of soft, plush carpeting blanketed beneath unorganized racks of clothing usually comes to mind. Conjured memories of expensive cologne and perfume lay under a bland, fatiguing hum of music, which seems to mask itself as a soundtrack to an outdated experience.

Seas of branded partnerships encompassed by white-washed aesthetic is no longer the answer to getting shoppers off the phone and into the store. It’s instead, the relationship between retailer and product that holds the real power. The evolution behind environment design is instilled with the idea that a space requires enough flexibility to adapt to changes within the market. Retailers, restauranteurs, grocery stores, and big-box chains have transferred this kind of thinking to produce partnerships that keep the environment­–and brand itself–at the cutting-edge of what’s new, relevant, and wanted for decades after conception. The definition of today’s department store is a blend of every brand doing an injustice to its consumer, propelling retailers into deep holes of bankruptcy and demise. It’s time to redefine the market and to focus on the brands doing what’s necessary to evolve.

“We compete with everybody who sells in beauty, our job is to play our offense and do it better than anybody else.”

-Mary Dillon | Forbes Interview


Large retailers such as Ulta have begun to camouflage themselves as hubs for product predominately living online and within sparse, pop-up stores. Because today’s market is living in a world where beauty and celebrity seem to coincide, stars and influencers all over the globe have latched on to industries, promoting their own personal brand in ways endorsements never had the ability to do.

The exposure on each end of the partnership has drastically elevated the mindset and perception of Ulta, Kylie Cosmetics, and KKW Beauty shoppers. Combined, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian-West have a cult following of roughly 260-million followers on social media. This kind of promotion of the Ulta brand through Jenner’s and Kardashian West’s products has pivoted the brand to new and existing shoppers. Over the last year, each brand has powered the other forward, showcasing what can happen when brand promotion through multiple shopping channels occurs.


In an effort to enhance brand loyalty and increase experiences within a branded space, department stores will take purposeful steps toward building partnerships that help exemplify their overall perception–take the Target and Google partnership. As one of the premier destinations for home, bath, produce, toys, and tech, Target has made strategic steps to making the shoppers’ experience easier, better, and faster.

“[Target strives to] offer consumers a high quality seamless, end-to-end shopping experience . . . creating innovative, digital experiences using voice and other cutting-edge technologies to elevate Target’s strength in categories such as home, apparel, and beauty.”

-Target and Google Press Release

By partnering with Google, the brand has given itself the opportunity to revolutionize the shopping journey. From online to in-store, guests have the ability to use voice commands on Google Assistant, iPhone, and Android devices to begin the shopping experience. Early 2018 broke the mold when orders from any device to a Target store were ready in just two hours, pushing the Target brand into over “500-million devices” thanks to Google’s voice command software.It’s imperative that retail brands begin to address what partnerships could drive the brand not only into new heights, but also into current and potential shoppers’ daily lives.


The cornerstone of a dynamic partnership starts with brands that have the ability to surprise their target customer. Standing out amongst the competition is just the way today’s business thrives; if your brand is missing an offering that shoppers can find elsewhere, then it’s time to figure out unique ways to attain it.

Kohl’s is not a location many people over the age of 35 think to venture. Its offering, audience, and store experience helps define an older era of shopping. Its newest CEO, Michelle Gass, was hired on to bring the brand into the future of department store shopping. It was a genius move to keep up with competitors such as Target and Walmart, each of which described as “significant players in grocery.” Instead of transforming the entire Kohl’s business plan, the brand took a step into partnering with a globally-established grocery chain, driving loyal Aldi customers into Kohl’s stores for heightened visibility into what Kohl’s has to offer.

Cognizance surrounding an audience–and the needs they have–could illustrate changes a brand must make in order to evolve. With the joining of two forces, brands can produce offerings and experiences with the ability to tackle markets. It’s time to address the needs of shoppers alongside what your business is doing to keep up. Is an innovative collaboration just the thing your brand needs to impact new and established audiences like never before?

Want to learn more about how industries are changing the game? Read our latest report to learn how beauty is exciting the market and making sales in today’s climate.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


A collection of insights research and observations across retail, restaurant, c-store and grocery. Helping brands provide a better experience for their customers. Enjoy.

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