Exciting Trends Ahead For Retail
As we leave 2017 behind, we look back on an ultra-competitive year for retail, culminating in one of the most successful holiday seasons on record. 2018 is already shaping up to be another dynamic year, brimming with new and exciting technologies, evolving consumer demands, and unique business strategies. Trends suggest that for retailers to continue driving sales in this rapidly-changing environment, the imperatives are staying nimble and emphasizing experience: creating memorable and convenient shopping experiences attuned to the needs of individual consumers.
If there is one buzzword concept retailers should adopt in 2018, it is personalization. Modern consumers are continually seeking products and experiences custom-tailored to their unique personality and lifestyle. Creating relevance and establishing personal, meaningful connections with these consumers will require targeted, localized messaging and fresh, innovative, engaging store environments.
Greater technology integration
2018 will see retailers continuing to blend digital and physical, investing in new technologies and streamlined integration of online and offline services for more engaging, practical, and enjoyable shopping experiences. Virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are predicted to continue gaining traction, with 100 million consumers projected to shop via AR by 2020.
More diverse store formats
The one-size-fits-all approach to store planning is out the door. In 2018, retailers will continue to establish a variety of store footprints and selling formats to address the needs of different locations and markets. Expect to see more small-format stores, showroom-style spaces, and unique pop-ups with sleek merchandising and carefully-curated product assortments that drive convenience and efficiency.
Improved data analysis
New and sophisticated methods of data collection, data reporting, insights, and analysis will drive more informed decisions in 2018. A deeper understanding of consumers across in-store, social media, e-commerce, and mobile channels will allow retailers to better leverage data in their marketing strategies, customer service, and operations to optimize efficiency and maximize sales.
The future of retail, as with the future of anything, is never certain. But for those brands able to adapt to the shifting needs of their consumers and successfully evolve along with the changing marketplace, it is clear that 2018–and the years to come–will shine bright with opportunity.