The retail industry is one of the most profitable industries in the world, flocking its way through success year on year. All thanks to the never-ending desire for ‘retail therapy’ among customers. The rise of new players in the market has resulted in a radical shift in the mindset of this sector from ‘caveat emptor (buyers beware)’ to ‘caveat venditor (sellers beware).’ Today, retail enterprises have come to terms with the fact that their survival solely depends on their ability to provide innovative offerings to customers and differentiate themselves from the other fishes in the sea. The past few years have witnessed several retail industry trends that have redefined the shopping experience. Advanced retail technology has truly revolutionized the retail industry.
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Top Retail Industry Trends 2018
Experiential retailing: Revamping in-store experience
The birth of online shopping has resulted in the decline of sales in brick-and-mortar retail models. But the skepticism among customers to trust online platforms blindly will save retail stores from dying out completely. What top retailers need to do is to understand how they can attract customers by reinventing their products and services. One of the most popular retail industry trends in recent times has been stores to create a memorable shopping experience. For example, Glossier’s retail store in New York City is pure Instagram candy; customers will want to shop and capture every moment on Instagram as every detail serves as social content.
Expect more of AI and AR
AI and AR have become part and parcel of retail technology in recent times. Companies have been leveraging such advanced techniques to boost their retail performance. In 2018, this trend is expected to continue in the retail industry with artificial intelligence and augmented reality promising to deliver a highly personalized experience. For instance, the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai features an AR activity for customers that will blend the experiences of shopping online and in-store. The roastery’s digital web-app platform acts as a virtual tour guide for customers, by pointing their smartphone at a piece of equipment, the app will explain how coffee is processed in that machine.
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Personalization: the key to creating a connect
Personalization is one of the retail industry trends that has been on the rise since 2017. The growing demand of customers to own and experience things that are unique has fueled this trend. Modern customers are placing more value on experiences over physical items or commodities. When shoppers purchase tangible products they want those items to either tell a story, fit into their lifestyle, be unique or all of the above. Giving shoppers the opportunity to build and personalize products not only fulfills those expectations but also makes shopping itself a lot more exciting. Dresden, an eyewear retailer, and eye healthcare provider takes plastic waste from Australian beaches and discarded fishing nets, and upcycles them into affordable frames. The company lets shoppers create their own pairs of sunglasses by interchange the lenses and frame parts as per their desire.
Data will drive retail decisions
Data’s role in retail decision-making will rise, especially as technologies like Big data and machine learning continue to mature. Using useful customer data for sales, marketing, and after-sales services will be among the widely seen retail industry trends in 2018. An example of retailers’ success using big data is Target. The company correlated its baby shower registry with its Guest ID program and was able to identify other products that pregnant women were most likely to purchase. As a result, Target was able to showcase its unique offers for pregnant women.
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