EDITORIAL boohoo, Burberry and buymie: ways retailers are rethinking engagement

Keeping consumers engaged is the name of the game

Keeping consumers engaged is the name of the game

Boohoo is, like many retailers, making a foray into the metaverse to engage its consumer base. The fast fashion brand is releasing its second collection of NFTs for what it charmingly calls “the boohooverse”, its first set selling out in under three hours and crashing its website. This time it has enlisted a roster of metaverse artists to create a thousand pieces of NFT fashion and accessories based on its real-world ranges.

The move sees the company not only tap into the metaverse, but also making it something much more friendly to the non-geeky and ultra-luxury market. It also reflects the first tentative moves towards the mainstream retail market making significant inroads into using the metaverse.

Naturally, it is more of the same in terms of innovation, but has opted to democratise this new virtual world and make it something appealing to its clientele of young women. This in itself is quite radical. To date, much of what has been found to buy for avatars in the metaverse has been from luxury brands and has commanded both an appropriate price, but also attracted a certain user base. The fact that boohoo is now in the metaverse, just as it is at its end of the high street, starts to carve out a new niche for mainstream retailers to play in the virtual world. And this, surely, is the opening of the door to the true potential of the metaverse to sell everything?

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Burberry has seen its sales rise in 2021/22, with revenue growing for the first time in five years. Part of this turnaround has been attributed to the company becoming a real powerhouse among luxury brands when it comes to using social media.

Tipping the 1 million follower mark on TikTok, while seeing increasing sales through Instagram, have been landmark events for the retailer and again demonstrate the power of using new channels to engage with consumers.

However, not all of Burberry’s growth has been down to using new, digital channels; some of it is down to how it revamp physical retail, with hybrid shops that include in-store digital experiences, as well as leveraging the return of live fashion shows.

What Burberry has done so expertly is linked all this together to create a live, physical and social triumvirate that is truly omni-channel in the most modern sense of the world.

The other act of reinvention this week comes from the expansion in the UK of Irish grocery delivery platform Buymie. Following its tie up with Asda in the UK, the company is looking to replicate its personal shopper approach to one-hour large basket grocery delivery here in Leeds and Bristol.

This adds a whole new spin to the grocery delivery market. While the big four have seen huge success with large basket delivery over the lockdown, the rise of one-hour local convenience food delivery is inspiring many new customers to look again at how they shop for food online. They want the rapidity and convenience they get with small scale delivery, but for their big shop.

And why not? Anyone who has got used to using standard online grocery will be wondering as I do why it takes so long and is so hard to get a slot. Entrants such as Buymie – and, as we reported last week, Motatos – are hitting a market ripe for change. While neither may be the success they deserve to be, the customer will still win, as the competition seizes upon these new models to shake up the sector.

In fact, all three examples this week – boohoo in the metaverse, Burberry on live, social and physical and the new ways of doing online grocery – are the shape of the next six months in retail. With inflation at a 40 year high, retailers are going to have to pull out all the stops to find ways to stand out and be the ones that win. These three examples are certainly something to take inspiration from in that regard.

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