Want People in Your Stores? Create a Connection, Not Just a Product

Retail is staring in the face of a massive transition. Before the pandemic, retail was already locked in competition with online sales, forcing brands to navigate a nimble balancing act. But when stores shut down, either temporarily or permanently, during 2020 and 2021, online shopping emerged as the de facto victor. And now here we are, almost three years later, in the throes of an unpredictable holiday season, trying to woo customers back into our brick and mortar.

Maybe it’s a hangover from the pandemic or frustration from the tightrope of online versus in store—probably a combination of both—but retail shopping, especially for luxury items, seems to exude intimidation, exclusion and impatience these days.

So how do retailers get the consumer experience back on track?

Be bigger than what you’re selling

Too often, companies laud their product or even their brand identity as their North Star. Products change, brands evolve. We choose to operate differently based on our founder Kendra Scott’s business architecture built in a way that supports corporate philanthropy.

The Kendra Scott Foundation was established to empower women and youth in the areas of health and wellness, education and entrepreneurship. Inspired by her late stepfather’s encouragement to “do good” and deeply impacted by her close friend passing from metastatic breast cancer, our founder strives to change the world in meaningful ways for women and children.

As a working mother, Scott herself knew the ways that women needed dedicated support to thrive in the professional world, which contributed to the brand’s ongoing commitment to female entrepreneurship initiatives, including the founding of the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (KS WELI) at The University of Texas at Austin. Having seen the strain families endure when facing pediatric emergencies, we launched the Kendra Cares program, bringing mobile jewelry-making units to pediatric hospitals, giving kids and their caretakers the chance to create something beautiful, at no cost and without having to leave their care facility. To honor Scott’s friend and address a disease that largely impacts women, we developed a partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Fund, funding thousands of hours of research through grant partnership and hosting dozens of retreats for families facing a terminal illness through the Inheritance of Hope organization.

People can buy jewelry anywhere. Over 78% of Americans say that a company needs to do more than just make money and we’ve seen that bears true most especially for Gen Z audiences, who are willing to pay a premium for brand products that support causes they align with.