2019 was a wild ride for retail. The year began following a rocky 2018 continued with sad news of store closings from recognised brands. But before you write it off as more proof of the played-out retail apocalypse argument, the year also saw its share of big wins thanks to strategic partnerships, re-imagined customer experiences and so much more.
In retail, things are complicated, swiftly changing and sometimes contradictory…
So what’s in the future of retail? While there’s no magic crystal ball that can predict what will really happen in the coming year but there is research and trends that can help innovative retailers gain an edge on the competition. Read on to discover our take on what's to come.
It’s all about experience: In today’s retail climate where everything can be purchased with just a click of a button you have to offer both convenience and value – a unique experience. Online and brick and mortar stores that offer shoppers something more than just a product will win attention and loyalty while creating a buzz around their brand. Things like fast deliveries, click and collect and easy returns will become more and more important.
Payment flexibility is paramount: Customers are looking for more convenient and flexible ways to purchase. While retailers can’t be everything to everyone, offering flexible payments creates more value and personalised checkout experiences.
Subscription e-commerce is a thing: Subscriptions are an increasingly common way to buy products and services online. Although streaming media subscriptions like Netflix have been popular for some time, research shows that 15% of online shoppers sign up for subscriptions for products. Subscription e-commerce services offer these consumers – often younger, affluent urbanites a convenient, personalised and often lower-cost way to buy what they want and need.
The rise of Instashopping: Retailers should leverage social media’s 2.65 billion users for their marketing strategy. This is why social media giants are now testing ways to load payment information into the platform itself. Instagram is one of the first to do this, though it’s still experimental. In fact, 60% of Instagram’s users (or 600 million of their total 1 billion users every month) already use the platform to find and purchase products.
Time is money: Most retailers know that time is the biggest currency they have, so they use tools to automate their back-end and other administrative processes. What they’re just starting to realise is that consumers are also time-sensitive. Differentiating your business from the crowd means going the extra mile to make your delivery fast, efficient and free.
Retail is a volatile industry and the rapid and widespread adoption of technology just makes it more so. Also, as the market becomes populated by a younger demographic, companies are finding it hard to abandon traditional modes of thinking. The ‘retail apocalypse’ that has seen store closures is proof that businesses quickly need to adapt to a change in consumer behavior to survive.