Your Next Retail Trip: France!
You already know France is ahead of the US in fashion, but did you now they are ahead of us in retail too?
These days, retailers are doing everything they can to get an edge on the competition—this includes in-store events, partnerships with community groups, slick ads and even retailing trips to other cities to get inspiration and find new trends. On a recent vacation to France, Brad Gullion, our vice president of sales and marketing, wondered why retailers can’t kick retailing trips up a notch? Instead of taking a weeklong trip across country to find trends a few months ahead—why not, take a weekend trip across the globe to find trends a few years ahead?
Are you sure this is a good idea?
France sounds amazing, you say, but how can I be sure that a trip will be worthwhile from a business perspective? First, we all know that France is ahead of the US in fashion trends and that home trends follow fashion. Therefore, what’s in style in France now, will be trickling down to the US in a few years. Why not see tomorrow’s trends today and really get out ahead of the competition? Second, as we mentioned in last week’s Je ne se quoi blog, window-shopping is practically the French national past time. Since your storefront, specifically your window, is your number one driver of new customers, why not get first-hand inspiration from the best?
Je ne parle pas français?
When you don’t speak the local language, shopping can be difficult. And, the French are not known to be overly friendly to Americans who can barley bonjour. But, thanks to new translate tools, that no longer has to stop you! On his trip, Brad used Jibbigo: a translate app for Apple and Android that can be used offline (read: no expensive phone charges) and offers French to English and English to French translations among other languages. In Brad’s experience, shopkeepers were excited to talk to him about their store, their style and the shopping culture of the country when they could see he was making an effort to speak their language. Using translation tools like this will free you to leave the tourist areas of town and enjoy the real France.
How do I find the real France?
While you might just stumble out of an alley into a picture perfect Parisian square full of trendy shops–staking a business trip on a “might-just” is never a good idea. So how can you find amazing shopping outside of the tourist areas? First, do a little research; try Eat.Shop.Paris a highly edited picture book for shopping like a local. Then get online with Plnnr. Just choose your trip length, interests and destination and Plnnr will create a walking itinerary for you complete with recommended stops for food and shopping. Lastly, check out Pinterest and see if any stores come up consistently—these could be must visit stops to plan your trip around.
We hope you’re feeling inspired about planning a retailing trip outside of the US. We know we’ll be headed back to France again to gain new ideas so we can continue to bring you the best possible merchandise. And, if you’ve already traveled abroad on a retailing trip and have advice for other store owners, please share in the comments below.