A classic model for partnerships has been the high-low pairing, epitomized by H&M collaborating with designers like Moschino, Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld on accessible collections. But lately, partnerships are crossing product lines and services, bringing in non-retailers, uniting competing brands. Young brands are frequently collaborating with established brands to expand a customer base, and established brands are using the partnerships to freshen their product offerings. Digitally-native / pure-play e-commerce brands can partner with stores with large footprints to quickly get their products in front of the consumer with less up-front investment, which then generates more foot traffic and residual sales for the host store.
While the aim of any retail partnership is more exposure, the relationships are moving beyond access to a new mailing list. From celebrity-filled events, performances and pop-up shops generate press mentions and social media buzz, they also offer a new opportunity for consumers to connect with a brand. While the partnerships are typically one-offs, the end goal is for the brand to use the opportunity to generate a new lifetime consumer.
Brands that target a similar customer base are increasingly collaborating, creating opportunities to sell a lifestyle. Service-focused retailers—like a fitness studio or a salon—are now collaborating with product-focused retailers. These partnerships allow the brands access to new consumers, but they also provide new touchpoints and channels through which to sell their goods and services.
Retailers are poised to collaborate more than ever, with increasing opportunities to reach consumers across formats and channels. With a focus on convenience, integration will continue to allow brands to provide seamless service to their consumers.