2017 was an eyeopener for a lot of retail markets. Based on Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales, 20% of transactions happened online and almost $7 billion was spent during Cyber Monday. With these numbers, online sales are increasing with the ease of convenience of mobile devices. In-store traffic has become less of a concern for a lot of retailers. With the exponential increase of technology, what type of retail trends in 2018 should we expect?
Enhanced Shopping Experiences
Consumers are becoming more tech savvy and are online more than ever. In 2018, retailers need to compete digitally and take advantage of the technology around them. It is because customers want a unique experience personalized and in the moment. At any given time, a consumer can research and purchase so retailers need to adapt to this consumer need. “Companies are already doing this. Urban Outfitters rolled out what they are calling ‘lifestyle experience centers’ where not only can you purchase their clothes, but you can dine at multiple food concepts,” says Kevin Gregory, creative director at AllDay Industry, a restaurant consulting firm.” Creating a unique experience is what will retain consumers on 2018.
For example, we just got our first glimpse into augmented reality this past year, with Apple & Google giving developer kits out for people to test and code. Digit-Capital forecasts that 900 million AR-enabled smartphones will exist by the end of 2018. The possibilities are endless for retailers. Augmented reality adapts more to consumers need for “in the moment” experiences. With that in mind, retail stores will eventually be able to virtually display and try on products. With this convergence of digital and real, consumers are in need of that unique consumer experience. It is up to retailers to commit and adapt to this change to gain and maintain consumers.
Artificial Intelligence and Analytics are Key
AI will become a standard in gathering information on consumer journeys, merchandising, & marketing, providing better insight and analytics on consumer behavior. According to IDC, 30% of retailers in two years will adopt a retail omni-channel commerce platform, integrating data analytics. Not to mention, there are retailers that have already adopted this.
Amazon is a great example of a retailer currently leveraging analytics. For example, their mobile app captures purchase history and tracks prime purchases to replenish and encourage recommended sales. This gives insight into consumers’ shopping habits and cycles products through emails and the app for potential purchases. Of course, this new layer of of analytics built into retailers is enabling real-time insights to reach consumers.
Social Media Marketing is still important
And it always will be. Time and time again, we have shown that social media is a key part of the marketing plan of any serious retailer. Not only that, retailers used to see a product launch after test groups and then being publicly released. Now, social media is the initial phase into a product release. “This year saw Arby’s successfully launch their venison sandwich on social media, the sandwich generated plenty of buzz online which led to it selling out in 15 minutes in Minnesota, and 90 minutes at an Arby’s in Atlanta,” says Paige Leidig, chief marketing officer for NetBase, a global social analytics platform.
According to the Standard Media Index New Zealand agency ad spend for 2016/2017, digital advertising was one of the highest growing media types, seeing a 20.8 percent growth ($363,768,282 million). Social media helps consumers fish out the better retailers that will gain consumers’ trust. This rotates back to creating that unique experience. Consumers want to create relationships with retailers that are willing to put in the effort to build and retain it.
As 2018 comes around, a new generation of consumers are coming in. With more and more businesses popping up across the world, it’s up to smart retailers to deliver on experiences and study new habits. Consumers need more unique experiences If you’re a retailer that wants to stay competitive in the market, you must understand these retail trends in 2018.