7 Trends That Will Shape the Future of Retail in 2017
It’s an opportunity to remind yourself of some of the key things to think about. From a digital marketing and tech perspective as we are into the new year 2017. For that reason, it’s perhaps more helpful to look at ideological shifts.
On the plus side, this is a terrific time for new ideas and unusual thinking. In particular, these changes will affect how consumers interact with retailers and with each other. “Online” and “offline” will increasingly become interchangeable. As shoppers and stores learn to use technology more intuitively.
Talking about the previous years. People did not find it safe to feed information of their debit/credit cards while shopping online. Instagram used to be non-existent in the ecommerce world. In 2017, these things are expected to turn a notch up higher. With artificial intelligence and big data analytics taking over the evolution of retail segment. As we embark on this year, let’s take a look at some of the emerging trends. Which are likely to take over the ecommerce space in 2017.
With new technology evolving and improving each year. Retailers are all too aware of the importance of embracing the digital age. Accessing audiences online is fundamental for building brand awareness and encouraging ecommerce in the modern day. And retail experts say that these omnichannel experiences will only grow in 2017.
Augmented and virtual reality has fast become a global phenomenon. From utilising artificial intelligence to creating virtual fitting rooms. 2017 promises seamless shopping experiences. That will blur the boundaries between reality and virtuality.
With technology holding the power to entice customers both online and into the brick-and-mortar store. It’s crucial that retailers are up-to-date with everything. From loyalty reward apps to incorporating interactive touch-screens at the point of purchase display. As well as prompting purchasing decisions with eye-catching FSDUs.
Smarter Recommendation Engines
A fusion of retail and entertainment – retailtainment. It is all about how the stores can provide a truly unique shopping experience to its customers. With retailers incorporating lifestyle elements into their store. Retailtainment provides even more of an incentive for consumers to pay these stores a visit.
Smart recommendation engines will help to reduce the complexity of a decision to just a few suggestions. Big data analytics will help recommendation engines to filter data. By analyzing user behavior. And later process it to predict and showcase some of the most likely items a customer can buy.
2016 has seen several fashion and retail brands including Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger. Who have launched their own versions of bots. And this year, more brands are expected to launch interactive channels. And make consumer engagement possible at a much wider scale than that could have been achieved earlier.
Importance of Personalization
Personalization at scale is becoming ever more of a reality. Thanks to the role that artificial intelligence and machine learning is playing. Offering natural language search responses. Or building out more intelligent customer service.
The outcome, in theory, is the idea of returning to the store of earlier years. Where the owners knew every shopper on a one-to-one basis. This time, it’s not only at scale. But constantly learning so as to keep improving the experience. It also comes with significant value exchange attached for the shopper. Both online and in the offline world.
The need to personalize the content of brick-and-mortar shops will become as important as that concept was to online retailers. Retailers will embrace artificial intelligence for greater personalization. Customers now have longer digital footprints, including shopping histories, social media profiles and interests.
Virtual Trial Rooms
Before making a purchase, be it online or offline. Customers are keen to try out their outfits. The process of waiting, going in and out of fitting rooms. Often tends to be time-consuming, and, at times, bothersome for both consumers and fashion retail stores. Here, augmented reality and virtual reality can be the solution.
Virtual reality mirrors help to record one’s measurements and display clothing items on a virtual screen. Through virtual fitting, customers can view different outfits with simply a swipe of the hand. And the retailers can keep measurements on file to ensure the perfect size every time. In addition, VR allows designers to create better designs and new products. Through an immersive 360-degree look at the clothes that they are designing. Virtual reality is here to stay and will change the way customers interact with brands.
Usually, in order to avail free shipping. A customer had to make a minimum amount of purchase. But, with more players entering the retail space. Free shipping will no longer be based upon on any conditions. Also, most of the retailers will try to strengthen their logistics. And make same-day delivery options possible to outdo the competition.
As digital realities steam forward. Newer technologies and trends are expected to democratize this space. With the evolving consumer tastes and preferences. Rising confidence levels. Increasing disposable incomes and exposure to international events. Many more trends are likely to emerge and bring about a positive impact on the purchase behavior of consumers.
Smartphones As Stores
While stores online and offline expand their personalization services to better serve consumers. Those consumers in turn will be empowered to decide not only what they buy. But where and when. Increasingly, that includes mobile.
As the smartphone becomes the dominant platform. Retailers are relying on social media and the latest applications in virtual reality to promote their wares. This also includes 360-degree viewing experiences. Which allow consumers to feel embedded in events. Like the recent virtual experience of “Magic Shakes’ by Cafe Coffee Day for its customers.
Mobile will become key to brands that want to enhance their user-generated content, especially through platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. Mobile will become the bridge between physical and digital channels.
Live video isn’t a new concept. But it gained serious ground in 2016 off the back of big launches. Which includes Facebook Live and more recently both Instagram and Twitter’s own versions. Snapchat being continuing its role too. The result is serious marketing thinking in this space. Which will roll forward into the New Year for those looking to gain a competitive lead within social media.
Contrary to the very idea of tech in the store. Or digitally enabled experiences both online and offline. Will come more in the way of the physical, visceral side of retail in 2017. Those who will move towards differentiated experience to their competitors. With emotional connections playing a significant role. Digital is what we’ve become but visceral is what we crave. It’s all about community, entertainment and education, whether that includes tech or otherwise.