Stores of the future in the digital space - trends, strategies and customer expectations by Elli Vlachou

Automatic Summary

Surviving the Cancel Culture: Mastering the Digital Future

Good day! In this era where the digital realm is highly influential, businesses and individuals are threatened by the growing phenomenon called cancel culture. The fear of becoming irrelevant or being "canceled" is rampant—spurred on by swift technological advances and a pressure to keep up with innovation. Today, we will discuss best practices to ensure your brand embraces the opportunities that technology offers, grows with the changing times, and remains relevant.

Understanding Cancel Culture: A Brief Overview

Cancel culture is becoming more and more pervasive. This alarming trend refers to public figures or brands being ostracized or boycotted on social platforms, and consequently, in the real world—a result of perceived or actual wrongdoing. For enterprises, this means keeping up with the game or risk being rendered insignificant in the face of advancing technology.

In a time where time really does equal money, the rapid advancement of technology is promoting greater commercial capabilities and increasing the average shopper's digital literacy, resulting in more sales in shorter periods.

The Power of Digital Technological Avenues for Brands: Cases in Point

Let’s put the spotlights on two brands that championed the digital wave with considerable success: Kat Von D and Fenty Beauty. Launched at different times on Sephora's 'Candle' platform, both significantly disrupted retail norms. Kat Von D generated 1 million in retail sales within two weeks of its launch, a monumental achievement considered groundbreaking at the time. However, fast forward to 2021, and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna managed to hit 100 million in retail sales in less than a week, primarily through online listings—a clear testament to the ever-growing digital influence.

An Ultimate Toolkit for Retail Business

This brings us to the crucial points for any retail business or professional aiming to stay relevant and competitive. These points are critical for survival and, ultimately, consistent success in the burgeoning digital future.


  • Redefine the supply chain: Brands must rethink their entire business model and how goods are produced and delivered.
  • Redefine ownership: As non-tangible goods gain traction, the traditional definition of ownership could change entirely.
  • Reevaluate branding: Branding now extends beyond physical products as digital products become increasingly relevant.


  • Redesign hierarchies: Provide digital training from bottom to top, equipping your entire workforce with the needed skills.
  • Reevaluate job scopes: As technology changes, so should the expected roles of employees—start the work of adjusting the expectations.


  • Digital CX: Craft a flawless customer experience seamless, whether it's on websites, apps, or social platforms.
  • Revised segmentation methods: The modern shopper demands a better understanding—not the traditional demographics but more of a digital persona.
  • Broad product distribution: A successful retail brand can no longer rely on a single channel for distribution.


In conclusion, to weather the storms in the digital world, brands must possibility-proof themselves by being prepared for digital ambiguity, translating their brand identity into an E-commerce identity, upskilling their brand ecosystem, and planning for the new age shopper. After all, the digital world is here to stay, and adaptation is key.

Video Transcription

All right, good morning. So imagine if you woke up one day and you got canceled for those of us that they are not generation Z cancel culture is the action of becoming ostracized from the public eye or as we would say in everyday language become irrelevant.That is an ongoing fear for industries, companies and individuals and with technology accelerating innovation and change, this is something that all of the above should forecast and plan for the companies if they want to exist tomorrow. And if the people want to have jobs tomorrow and as proven by corporate history, fear alone does not work usually for change to happen, money or the loss of should be considered. And in no other time in history, time equals money. More evidently, the acceleration of tech related commercial capabilities and the increase in digital literacy of the average shopper results into more sales in a short period of time. Also, consumers are becoming more and more comfortable shopping virtually as we all saw during COVID where 97% of smartphone users bought something online and also in categories that previously required testers and physical retail presence. And because this is the women's step. We're gonna talk about makeup.

We're gonna bring uh the attention in two brands. The fi the first one is Kat Von D and the second one is Fenty Beauty by Rihanna. Both brands were launched in um a difference of period of five years by Sephora uh own incubator called candle. So, Kat Von D was one of the first influencer launch brands launched in 2016 and when they reached a 1 million of retail sales in a two weeks uh frame since their launch with three stores, distribution and ecom presence, they were considered the best thing since Slice Bread.

Fast forward to 2021 when Rihanna launched her own brand and reached 100 million of retail sales in less than a week just with online listing that tells us that brands that they have managed to communicate their value v technological avenues will win in sales market share and people's hearts that brings us retail folks and shoppers into a sudden realization unless technology implementation and upskilling is brought to the main strategy of career and corporate opportunities for business and professional growth will be cut short probably by another shinier slicker and more tech version of our offering.

So today we're gonna tap into the toolkit that is required for any retail business or professional to become ready for the digital future. And right now we are at a crossroads and web 3.0 will either fly or die for those that they are not aware of. What 3.0 is is considered to be the future of a retail experience amongst other things that everything happens in a virtual format. Everyone should be ready for survival and ultimately success. If it's not web 3.0 that will bring the future of retail, it will be something else.

And when speaking with offline first companies, the main question that comes up is where do we even start since they are not yet best practices to share. The businesses are asking for a prior prioritization of directions. So the following slides aim to notify the areas to consider.

While creating a strategy. We're gonna talk today about brands, employees and shoppers and how these are changing in the digital future. So the first one is brand brand and company should look internally first and start redesigning their supply chain, redefining ownership, re evaluating branding and rethinking digital infrastructure that filters down to the fact that we're talking about non tangible goods. The sense of ownership changes completely since you do not have a good that you can pass on to your daughter or branding does not define is not defined by the longevity of good materials. So what exactly is a brand when we're talking about digital? And for this, we're gonna talk into Nike. So Nike on the first, uh on the left hand side, we have Nike Jordans, which is the fastest selling and the best selling uh item of their portfolio. And on the right hand side, we have the sneaker of the future. Nike launched Nike Crypto Kicks uh last month, which is a completely customizable NFTS sold from 4000 to 100 and 86,000 in their first drop. They're rare, completely personalized and can be used in video of a metic reality and gaming formats. So Nike, first of all look into their supply chains, they didn't want to close down their stores and they knew their digital sneakers cannot be sold in physical stores.

So they created a partnership with RT FKT, which is in the roadblocks almost like uh a Nike store when it comes to ownership as proven by popular demand price increase and the overall uh increase in search ownership of non tangible goods has a place in early adopter hearts and wallets.

So we're moving away from owning something physically to owning something that you could only use digitally. And finally, when it comes to branding, quality of the material and longevity is no longer in question, but that takes place is personalization that you can do more than once.

Pride of recognition and maintenance of the branding elements. As we can all see the Nike was on the side of the shoe. Then we're gonna move on to employees because the company is only as good as the people it can attract and maintain. And here we're not only talking about the employees that belong to a company, but the whole ecosystem that company is working with. So we're looking in redesigning hierarchies, re evaluating the role scopes and needs of each title and finally retraining the workforce. And here there is no perfect example, but l'oreal is doing a pretty good job. So during COVID, when the Cosmetics market almost crashed, Loreal managed to report a 16% company growth and a 30 plus percent growth in Ecom sales. L'oreal is one of my past employers that I have served both as an employee but also as a retailer. And I know from personal experience that that kind of results, they do not come by accident, but that is a safety net. That was years in the making. Lal since 2016 launched a global digital training for all employees from stop. So stuff all the way to leadership, everyone should be able to speak digital. In the same year, they extended their digital training to retail partners. So when Ecom was the only avenue to reach consumers, it came as no surprise that the over prepared l'oreal staff and partners delivered an increase in sales profitability and market share across all geographies and divisions.

As the next step, l'oreal is expanding the professional academy with virtual trainings and social media acceleration. It's not yet in the public eye but it would be no surprise if it is l'oreal that defines what the beauty and service looks like in the roadblocks. And finally, we're gonna look into the shoppers because when you're selling to someone, you're nothing without your supper. A well designed digital customer journey that results in your brand purchase includes a flawless cx. So nothing either a digital supper understanding. So we're moving away from traditional segmentation methods into understanding what the digital shopper truly is in unexpected retail services and a wide product distribution. And why is that? Because our shopper is changing format completely. From one hand, we have the traditional female middle class shopping into a supermarket that from experience, any retail professional could tell you what he's probably buying right here right now. And on the other hand, we have the board Ape Yacht Club avatar and for those among us that they are not very familiar with NFTS. This has been the biggest NFT sale in the history of the metaphors with uh the board, a club reaching both rich but also a huge number of platforms with the little avatars. And the new age shopper is this monkey.

It's a persona that changes its taste and its needs from platform to platform. So how can we be ready to serve those new age shoppers that requires an extensive understanding of uh scenarios and agile approach to CX and definitely a clear understanding of distribution methods.

So in order to summarize in order to become digitally bulletproof, uh you need to plan for digital ambiguity if it's not web 3.0 it will be the next big thing in technology. You need to start translating your brand identity into an Ecom identity. You need to start upskilling your brand ecosystem is equally important. Your suppliers and your employees are equally trained and you need to start planning for the new age shopper and without further ado, thank you very much.