The retail industry has evolved a great deal in recent years. With online shopping reigning supreme, and consumers increasingly preferring experiences over possessions, retailers must continually adapt to changing tastes and preferences.
What can you look forward to in 2019? Let's take a look at some emerging trends.
Time is money and customers don’t want to sift through irrelevant deals and products. The rise of big data is paramount here, as customers are increasingly favoring retailers who tailor shopping experience to the them.
Through data science tools like advanced analytics, retailers of all types will be able to get more from their customer data. This enables them to tailor customer experiences, which ultimately leads to more happy shoppers.
2. Outward Image, Inner Heart
More and more, consumers are understanding the massive environmental impact they have, and that what we buy makes a big difference.
Brand values are increasingly a motivator for shoppers, and attitudes on corporate responsibility and social consciousness are impacting the ways brands present themselves.
As the environmental impact of the consumer sector becomes more apparent, buyers are asking retailers for more than just a good price. For example, millennials will likely choose an environmentally sustainable product over a less expensive one.
How brands position themselves as socially responsible is increasingly important. Companies will need to take a hard look at how their products impact the earth and its inhabitants to ensure their outward image is in step with their customers’ shifting values.
3. Retail as an Experience
Millennials have altered the consumer landscape. Recently they’re making more environmentally friendly choices, and they’re also changing how we perceive consumerism. Today’s youths value experiences over material things, and retail is rushing to keep up.
In response, stores and retailers have introduced mobile apps and “pop-ups” that feature products, but aren’t tied to making a purchase.
What’s key here is innovative technology; as virtual reality, augmented reality, and mobile technologies continue to emerge and improve, retail brands will have to push the envelope even further to create nontraditional experiences for their customers.
4. Faster Shipping
Services like Amazon Prime have made two-day shipping the norm, and today’s customers want their goods faster. In fact, the average time customers will wait for free shipping has dropped in recent years from 5.5 days to 4.5 days.
In 2019, e-commerce retailers must improve shipping speeds if they hope to compete with online giants like Amazon.
Fortunately, innovative shipping solutions have emerged, so it’s increasingly possible for customers to have brand-direct shopping experiences without compromising delivery speed.
5. The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things connects over 11 billion everyday products, and retailers can use that data to understand customers’ product usage.
Today’s consumers wants speedy, streamlined shopping processes and in 2019 we’ll see a rise in smart products, i.e. refrigerators that can tell you when you’re out of milk, or it’s expired etc.
What’s more, companies can leverage this modern network to help their customers find the best deals and products, for example the best place to replace that milk by location and price, making shopping easier and more convenient.
6. The Importance of Data
Perhaps the most significant retail trend in 2019 will be a continuation of a previous one; the importance of data.
In 2018 we saw data science become crucially important to the consumer sector, and as we move into the new year data will continue to be one of the most critical factors for retail growth.
Fortunately, data science tools like AI-powered analytics are increasingly accessible to retailers across the industry, enabling businesses of all sorts to gain consumer insights, boost sales and create lasting customer relationships.
Seeing the Future of Retail
Retailers may think they need some clairvoyant ability to see the future of retail, but that’s not true. By staying apprised of current trends, while also keeping an eye out for emerging technologies, savvy retailers can do more than just keep up with trends in 2019 — they can set them.