The first edition of Saint Glinglin, France’s new retail holiday, will be celebrated on 21 March 2022 with events kicking off on 15 March. Aimed at national brands as well as small local shops, shopping centres and communities, the aim is to unite all these entities around a single purpose: to celebrate the precious link that exists between the customer and their retailer.
Saint Glinglin’s Day was entirely conceived and designed by the Altavia agency. Although 2022 will be the festival’s first year, it has existed in the mind of Raphaël Palti, Altavia’s Founder and CEO, for many years. “The idea is to put the very essence of retail – its joyful character, its capacity to unite, and create links within society – back to the fore, and to underscore the importance of local retail for inhabitants”, explains Ariane Zenker, the project’s manager at Altavia.
This is a role that cannot be ignored, confirms Nathan Stern, sociologist and director of research at Altavia Shoppermind: “Retail is an inseparable element of France’s heritage and retailers play a major social role within society, the need for which has been further exacerbated by the two years of pandemic we have just experienced. These last two years have seen them close their doors for many months. And yet, far from weakening the link the French had with retailers, it’s actually had the opposite effect.” Demonstrating solidarity between retailers and unprecedented support from consumers for their shops, the French have indeed shown their attachment to commerce, well aware of the central place it occupies in their lives and daily routines despite the explosion of e-commerce.
“The strength of retail is that it is a catalyst for connection. It gets people to meet, cross paths, leave the bubble or solitude of their homes, and have experiences,” explains Stern. Which is precisely why Altavia has designed Saint Glinglin’s Day to highlight this precious and irreplaceable relationship. “Living together in the physical world, bringing people together and allowing them to express their spontaneity, that’s what Saint Glinglin’s Day is all about,” says Zenker.
But how do you make it happen? On the agenda for St Glinglin’s Day: celebrating rebellious, daring and joyful retail. “The holiday’s mission statement meets the expectations of consumers”, explains Zenker. “It’s devoted to madness and letting go, and to celebrating a more living and surprising retail experience”. It’s about enhancing in-store experiences beyond the purely transactional and differentiating itself from operations such as Black Friday, which are based solely on promotional mechanisms with huge discounts. Shops will be able to create their own Saint Glinglin event based on their customers and their offers: blind tastings, photo competitions, in-store challenges, role-playing games, etc. The range of activities can be vast – with a heavy dose of surprise.
To think that St Glinglin’s Day was conceived as an antidote to the two years of pandemic that have just passed is certainly understandable, as French people need to rediscover spontaneity in their daily lives. “With the erosion of the bond between consumer and retailer, the loss of authenticity, the rarefaction of our physical contacts and the multiplication of everyday constraints, etc. Faced with all these deprivations, the French want a new spark of madness once again”, explains Nathan Stern, sociologist. However, although Saint Glinglin’s Day will, of course, bring a breath of fresh air in this month of March 2022, the holiday has, on the contrary, been shaped in such a way as to become a permanent fixture in the landscape of the big retail dates in France. “By offering an opportunity to intensify everything that makes up their DNA: physical encounters, involvement, festivities, connection with the customer or the local resident for small local retailers, it reminds us of the essential role of shopkeepers and retailers and highlights the employees, who are an essential stakeholder in the event. This is something to celebrate every year,” explains Zenker.
All these experiences and activities will be held in participating shops and stores from 15 March until 21 March: Saint Glinglin’s Day. A date carefully chosen by the Altavia agency. The day of spring and the equinox, it is a symbol of renewal and celebration, reinforced by the zany name of the holiday (there is no Saint “Glinglin”), which hints at many surprises to come. “Saint Glinglin’s Day is about non-procrastination, being daring, in the spirit of ‘you only live once!’. A Saint Glinglin’s Day where anything can happen,” concludes Zenker.