Keeping ahead of the curve is as vital in retail as in any other field. So what can we expect to see as we move towards a new year and beyond? Here are 10 predictions for the future of retail that you need to be aware of.
As we move forward into a brave new world for retail outlets, the focus will be on ironing out kinks in the purchasing process at each stage.
This will include ‘frictionless’ pay; streamlined payment methods like contactless card transactions and quick mobile app money transfer.
Social to checkout
Such streamlining will not be limited to in-store retail transactions. You may have noticed the onset of the ‘Buy button’ across a multitude of social networks. Well, these are here to stay.
The idea is to remove the links in the traditional consumer chain, and to construct a more intuitive process to drive sales.
Facing up to low growth
Moves towards a more streamlined process are backed up by research and expert opinion. Modern retailers are being forced to face up to low growth in the market, and are being forced to ‘steal’ customers from other businesses in an effort to grow their customer bases.
In this cut-throat environment, the business which can offer the highest levels of convenience is the winner.
An omnichannel approach is no longer something to be experimented with. It has become a necessary ingredient for success.
Expect retailers to position themselves and their products for optimum exposure, which means connecting with customers across a diverse range of digital and offline channels.
Beyond traditional retail
The traditional department store is dying. Instead, retailers are being forced to diversify what they offer in an effort to retain customers and grow sales levels.
This means branching out into dining options, in-store WiFi connectivity, and other features which encourage foot traffic into outlets.
A focus on experience
Lifetime customer value is what retailers should be aiming for, and customer experience is key to developing this.
Retailers who focus on service, on after sales care, and on support at every stage of the consumer lifecycle will be rewarded by loyalty in the long term.
Personalization in the market
Personalized ads based on consumer data are nothing new, but personalization is evolving. Instead of interrupting a consumer with an unsolicited, targeted ad, retailers are focusing on integrating their services into the behavioral patterns of their consumers.
This includes providing streamlined ordering capabilities across different devices, or delivering intelligent support services to specific demographics.
Data as currency
The retailer with the best knowledge of its consumer base is now the king in the marketplace.
With this in mind, organizations are investing time, money, and effort into understanding their customers and discovering what they need. Data has become a valuable commodity.
Investment in bricks and mortar
The democratization of retail via ecommerce and digital marketing channels was a major game changer, but it was incomplete.
Retail sales are projected to grow by up to 4% by the end of 2016; something which organizations need to be aware of.
Retailers still need to invest in bricks and mortar shop fronts and a prominent high street presence if they are to experience success in their field.
Reflecting the fast-pace Millennial lifestyle
Millennials are the key demographic for the modern retailer. Their fast-paced, convenience-centric lifestyles – in which speed and access are prized as highly as cost and quality – will be reflected in the products, services, and purchase methods offered to them by retailers.
Next year’s retail winners will be the firms who keep abreast of Millennial trends and behaviors.