A Guide for European Retailers Looking to Establish a Foothold in the US Retail Market
2018 was a year of growth for the retail industry as several brands saw accelerated growth rates due to tax cuts and low unemployment. According to the retail industry analysis by experts at Infiniti Research, 2019 will be a precarious year for players in the retail sector. As the stock market is in flux, the future of retail is expected to be dominated by steepening tariffs. Furthermore, another intriguing retail market trend is emerging markets are taking on a greater share of global growth. However, these challenges could also present several opportunities for savvy retailers who are willing to face the winds heads on. Here’s our take on the key predictions for the future of retail in 2019 and also how retailers can stay prepared for the upheavals in the market.
Top predictions defining the future of retail
Consumer centricity to go mainstream
Putting customers at the center has been one of the key factors of focus for most companies in the retail industry today. But most companies have realized that holding a strong market position involves more than merely monitoring and connecting with customers on social media. The future of retail will revolve largely around the use of advanced technologies like Voice of Consumer (Voc) analytics. Such retail industry trends will allow retailers to determine what their customers want and deliver it with speed and at scale. Data will play an integral role in the future of retail to meet customer needs and expectations.
Impact of increasing tariffs
The retail industry will begin to see the real impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs on the Chinese exports which will increase steadily this year. A major portion of the burden of these rising tariffs will ultimately fall on the U.S. shoppers. A detailed retail market analysis undertaken by our experts also reveals that companies will be soon be faced with making decisions to determine the categories and products where they raise prices and push the cost increases onto the customers, and where they need to absorb the cost increases themselves. This may result in retailers evaluating whether it makes sense to exit certain categories which they are not able to sell profitably. The future of retail in the UK and EU will also face similar challenges.
Algorithms will take control
As the future of retail is now largely being driven by innovative tools to leverage consumer data, 2019 will be a year where retailers increasingly leverage data to make decisions relating to what to offer to the customers. While data has long been available to retailers, its true potential wasn’t realized until the retail industry learned the hard lessons from some popular e-commerce websites, whose assortment decisions are made exclusively using data and bots. The data available can be used to build tailored assortments and target customers effectively to drive conversions.
Read more about the role of customer intelligence in the future of retail:
The retail industry is increasingly colliding with adjacent consumer-focused sectors, as a result, the industry continues to undergo constant disruption. Amidst all the retail industry trends and changes, one thing that remains consistent is the fact that consumers are becoming more powerful and retailers are trying to do all it takes to meet the changing customer demands. Last year left the retail industry with a lot to digest including a strong U.S. economy, the holiday season that delivered record-breaking sales, some high-profile bankruptcies, and other global trade and economic challenges. Our retail industry analysis reveals that although in 2018 the retail industry was bolstered with a strong labor market and elevated disposable personal income; the economy may face some headwinds this year. This means that 2019 will be a year of transformation for retailers and they will require to make some bold moves to make distinct space for themselves in the market.
Retail industry analysis 2019
Supply chain as a differentiator
Our retail industry analysis reveals that retailers are increasingly leveraging supply chain to differentiate their services. However, a major challenge here is to make the supply chain more predictable, less costly, and faster. Top companies in the retail industry believe that supply chain improvements can be a significant growth driver for the future. Rather than investing in retail industry trends like automation and smart packaging, it is important for retail companies to now think about using wider supply chain strategies for accumulating long-term competitive advantage.
The changing retail value chain
The value chain across the retail industry is becoming increasingly compressed. Our retail analysis experts have identified that several retailers are accelerating their merchandise cycles and moving their supply chains closer to their target customers. Retail companies are also making efforts to deploy advanced technologies that improve the process of connecting with their customers.
Moving away from transactional thinking
Earlier retail businesses revolved around isolated transactions where customers were bombarded with discounts and offer messages, the primary intent being to increasing sales. Today, retail brands are highly focused on delivering exceptional customer experience and are also using it as a tactic to compete better in the market. A retail industry analysis by experts at Infiniti Research revealed that a good majority of brands are using customer experience as a strategy to boost both their online as well as in-store sales. This is one of the primary reasons why retail giants like Walmart is thriving despite several others shutting shop. The company has rolled out several initiatives to streamline in-store customer experience by using advanced technologies like touch screen, search kiosks, and allowing customers to use mobile phones to scan products. Several other top retailers are undertaking similar measures to redefine the shopping experience for customers.
Pop-up luxury retail stores
Several luxury retail labels are trying to lure millennials and Gen-Z customers due to their shifting priorities and heightened spending trends. Earlier, a pop-up was merely seen as an interesting concept that allowed brands to ‘test’ a retail presence or launch a new product. It also helps generate social media buzz, although short-lived. However, the recent evolution of pop-up fashion stores holds greater intrigue by offering fresh concepts on constant rotation. They are now used as a means to grab customer curiosity and engage with them. In an age where social capital goes hand-in-hand with monetary profits, such initiatives become highly useful for brands.
Nurturing post purchase
In a move towards achieving customer centricity, retailers are giving increased importance to last mile customer experiences. Companies are even going to the extent of acquiring delivery platforms to fulfill their delivery obligations on the same day and promote customer delight. Post purchase nurturing is a long-term growth strategy aimed at giving a better success rate in the future.
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Black Friday is no longer a one-day shopping extravaganza, all thanks to ‘Cyber Monday’ which has made it an extended shopping period for customers. In 2017, the U.S. ecommerce revenue hit a record-breaking $3.34 billion on Black Friday – a substantial 21.6 percent year-over-year growth rate. This is good news for retailers as it means customers are increasingly relying on ecommerce platforms for their holiday purchases. As today’s customers have ample options available to make their purchases, e-commerce retailers must start carefully planning out the Black Friday promotions well in advance. With Black Friday right around the corner, here are some tips for ecommerce retailers to create a buzz, drive traffic and make sales this season:
Black Friday Marketing Strategies
Black Friday marketing through e-mail
One of the best ways for ecommerce retailers to create a buzz around their Black Friday promotions is to pull out a list of the company’s past and potential online shoppers, segment them based on their needs and send customized emails to suit their shopping patterns. Email marketing is a time-tested strategy for business to expand their sales and the customer base. It is an added advantage to include a catchy subject line and scheduling posts based on time zones or peak of online email users will ensure a wider reach for your Black Friday marketing efforts.