Looking to the future is essential when you work in retail, as change seems the only certainty. The sector is facing many challenges and opportunities, particularly with technological innovation. Looking at the retail trends for 2020, these predictions can help you plan for the coming year.
Customer experience will win out
There has been much talk of the end of the high street and an apocalypse for the retail sector. However, consumer experts are beginning to change their dramatic predictions and now see that customer experience will save the shop.
What does this mean? It means that retail can no longer be about the basic shopping function. Instead, the shop owner will understand that people love sensual experiences, as well as feeling there is a personal dimension to the event.
Think about the Apple store. The branding is stark and straightforward. However, people go to the bricks-and-mortar shop because they get to touch the products and interact with them. The experience is cleverly curated by the brand, using every sense to make sure the customer has an emotional reaction to the product. People buy quicker when using their emotions.
Experiential shops are typical in London and other major cities. There are pop-up shops that entice people with free items and live-action events.
People are becoming more and more aware of the need to make choices that protect our planet. Therefore, the retail sector will need to take into account that consumers will be more and more concerned about responsible consumption. They will also look to your labour and trade practice – as well as any sustainability policies you promote. Your reputation becomes more important than ever before.
Clothing shops have had to respond to the demands for ethical practice more than others. Some shops have unique lines that are not only conscious of the environment but also aware of the countries used to manufacture the clothes around the world.
87% of people polled in 2017 claimed they are more likely to buy from a company that advocates for social and environmental issues. 76% would refuse to buy from a company with different ethical standards than their own.
Being agile means responding to the changing environment. It does not mean you have to innovate again and again. There are no new ideas. There are only ideas tried before that can be shaped to the current pain point you are experiencing.
Therefore, to maintain agility and efficiency, you need to reflect continually on your marketing and production strategy. You need to look to your approach and where there are facets of your practice that can be adapted. Start strategizing about what makes you different, what you value about your methods and where you can make consistent efforts to improve.
Intertwine the online and offline experience
We cannot ignore the online world. Even though internet shopping seems to be threatening the existence of the high street, social media can work to redress some of the balance. Companies big and small are using the social network to sell products to a broader community and to combine the online experience with what they will find in-store. Triggering events and sales online can draw people into the shop, as can offering codes to your online followers.
YouTube and Instagram are becoming increasingly important too. Influencers can share an experience in your store with thousands, potentially millions, of followers. One British YouTuber, Zoella, has managed to launch her retail company thanks to her success on the app. She is now worth a few million pounds thanks to the successful sales of her lines of products. Then, there is Pinterest, where you can create a menu of your products, using professional photographs to create a sense of desire in the customer.
Retail partnerships are going to be a dominant trend in 2020. The names and reputations of larger brands will continue to be of increasing importance. Think about the link between Starbucks and Spotify in the US. Linking the brands has allowed them to offer higher value to clients within each company. The Spotify app will enable you to tune into what song is playing in the shop. The Starbucks reward programme is then linked to Spotify too.
The collaboration between large brands allows each company to seek new customers from the other’s loyal following.
The brief message for 2020
You need to be prepared to change in 2020, and then you will always be prepared. The fast-moving retail sector will continue to adapt and innovate to an increasingly uncertain and volatile world. Therefore, you need to look to where you can meet the evolving demands for experience and sustainability.