You don’t need me to tell you retail is changing fast, but with so much happening at once, it’s difficult to get real advice about trends you can start following today.
Here’s your go-to guide to help keep you on top of retail developments while they’re happening so you too can be at the front of the pack.
David Rich, CEO of ICC/Decision Services outlined his top 3 retail trends and the effect that they can have in the results your organization can have. These three retail trends in the customer shopping experience are critical going forward as organizations learn to balance the digital and in-person shopping experience to deliver business results.
1. The Rise Of The Mobile Wallet
Consumers are always looking for easier ways to pay, and while credit cards and cash will be around for many years to come, the mobile platform is shaping up to be a powerful payment tool that will be a win-win for customers and retailers alike.
For customers, creating a payment account they can access via their smartphones means one-touch purchasing––a huge plus for those who don’t have time to wait in line and go through a traditional transaction. For retailers, mobile payments tied to customer profiles allow them to tailor offers and suggest related products based on purchase history.
According to Forrester Research, mobile payments will amount to $90 billion in the coming years, and 2014 is shaping up to be the biggest step forward yet as mobile payment services like Google Wallet, PayPal, Square Wallet, and Dwolla, begin attracting serious attention from retailers.
2. Brick-And-Mortar Gets Interactive
With so many new ways to engage with a retailer, traditional brick-and-mortar is about to step into the future with interactive features.
A great way to start providing more satisfying in-store experiences is to give your shoppers something to do with what they already have: smartphones and tablets.
Apart from mobile payments, there are several other ways you can utilize the mobile channel to integrate with in-store features.
Digital product demonstrations, in-depth product information, and social sharing are all ways you can ditch the outdated department store layout and give customers a whole new reason to get offline and engage in person again.
So, where do you start? Look to the retailers who are already changing the game and seeing big results:
Apple, for instance, was one of the first to put iPhones in the hands of floor staff to quickly help answer the myriad of questions people come in to solve. With one-touch access to inventory, user profiles, and in-person payment, you’ll be hard pressed to find a traditional checkout counter at many of their locations these days.
Burberry is another retailer who is innovating their in-store identity with interesting mobile engagement. A staple in the fashion world, they invite customers into their stores to live-stream fashion events, and then distribute iPads loaded with product information and purchasing options for the clothing they just saw displayed.
Start thinking about how you can give customers an extra level of connectivity in your stores by considering what part of the shopping experience could be made simpler with the touch of a button.
3. Harnessing The Power Of Social Shopping
If you haven’t noticed, customers have gotten social about what they’re buying. Social networks like Pinterest are designed specifically for users to share images and information about products they have and want.
Most retailers today use social media as an extension of their service department to gather feedback and connect with customers. In 2014, brands will go an extra step further by integrating social media directly into product development and store layout.
Nordstrom is one of the first to put this plan into action by engaging with Pinterest to determine which products will generate the most buzz inside the store. According to Business Insider,
“Popular items on Pinterest will be displayed with a red tag identifying them as popular in the women’s shoe and handbag departments of Nordstrom’s 117 stores.”
Target also launched their own social media out reach campaign with Awesome Shop––a website that displays Target’s “most-pinned” and “best reviewed” items for people to connect with and share through their social circles.
Start paying attention to more than just what’s being said online and learn which products are being shared and liked the most. Use this to optimize your in-store inventory and boost the effectiveness of your offers. Most of all, keep on top of all the top news, research, and other resources retailers need to stay ahead of the game.