Retail Industry Overview: The Present and Future of Retail

October 16, 2018

Retail industry overview

The retail industry is going through a major transition and with the latest trends and innovations in place, it is safe to say that there is no looking back for retail industry companies. Furthermore, personalization and customization in products and services are some of the popular retail industry trends that are all set to go mainstream. Companies that revamp themselves with the changing market dynamics will be successful in grabbing the big buck in the long run. That being said, this retail also happens to be one of the most challenging sectors today. Apart from this rising competition in this market, this market is highly volatile and dynamic, making it a tough task for retail industry companies to be in line with the changing market landscape. Let’s take a better look at the retail industry trends challenges and opportunities that will have a major impact on the sector:

Retail industry trends

The retail industry is characterized by its highly dynamic trends that keep changing constantly. Businesses who want to have an edge over the other players in the market must keep a close watch on the changing customer needs and the most innovative and simplest ways to meet these needs. Here are some of the top retail industry trends to keep track of:

Visual search

Visual search makes use of machine learning to identify and recommend products online based on matching attributes like shape, color, pattern, or even texture. Here, a shopper has to just snap a photo of the desired product to generate relevant search results rather than a typing out a word-based search query. Such trends on e-retail platforms are making shopping an easier and smooth experience for customers, posing a major challenge for offline retailers.

Augmented reality

With each passing year, retail industry companies are finding new, innovative ways to infuse technologies like augmented reality into the shopping experience across all channels. This technology can be used to allow customers to see products in 3D. Such retail industry trends are highly useful for businesses dealing in home furnishings or interior décor. Customers can look at how a particular product would look within their space, and then make purchases.

Omnichannel retail strategies

Investment in omnichannel strategies is one the most important retail industry trends to look forward to. Research shows that an average consumer today owns 3.64 connected devices and often consult these devices prior to making a purchase. Consumers may look at an item on their iPad and might complete the purchase on their mobile phone, or they may search for an item on the web and pick it up in the store. The ubiquity of connected devices will prompt consumers to demand a seamless experience across multiple touchpoints. So, most retailers today are increasingly looking at tapping into these demands of customers by operating on omnichannel platforms.

For more insights on the trends awaiting the retail industry, check out our blog on the future of retail.

Retail industry challenges

Here are some of the key challenges faced by modern retailers and ways to overcome them:

Keeping up the changing customer demands

Customer preferences are fast changing, and often retail industry companies find it difficult to keep up with the increasing pace of changing customer preferences. Most retail industry companies are slow to adapt to changing consumer preferences. One of the main ways retailers can overcome this challenge is by training the staff to interact more with the customers and identify their tastes and preferences. This can help companies to rightly identify what the customers want and expect from the brand and alter their strategies accordingly.

Customer data silos

Marketers try to reach out to customers using different platforms. Such multi-channel communications are indeed vital to engagement, which, in turn, drives the creation of the perfect customer experience. However, a notable drawback of such efforts is that it may result in customer data becoming siloed. If the entire marketing department is not communicating effectively and working together, customers can become overwhelmed with conflicting or repeat messages. Overflowing marketing communications can have an adverse effect and drive customers to competitors offering a clearer and more congruent message. Retail industry companies can overcome this predicament by collecting reliable data on the channels that their target customers are most active on and focusing a majority of their marketing efforts on this channel.

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