Top 5 retail trends for 2017
Some may say that we are currently living through some of the best times to be in the retail industry. Opportunities for the retailer are abundant; social media channels, data collection and analytics, online payment options – the cup runneth over!
But with so many evolving trends, developments and innovations in the industry, it’s difficult to know where to start. You need a multi-channel approach, that much is certain, but which channels should you pursue and which technologies do you need to adopt?
And so we reach an impasse; as some may say these are actually the worst times to be in the retail industry, an abundance of resources and opportunities can breed frustration and the constant encroaching from the digital world to bricks and mortar industry makes it difficult for retailers to retain or establish their presence in the shoppers mind.
As avenues for revenue growth, branding development and physical expansion open up every year and with new companies and new software breaking through constantly, you need to make sure you’re backing the right horse; you have to be working with the most valuable channels and taking advantage of the most impactful consumer trends if you want to succeed in 2017.
So to help you make sense of the deluge of trends, movements and platforms in the industry, we’d like to run you through our top 5 retail trends for 2017.
1 – Mobile Payments
At the end of 2016, it was estimated that there were around 447.9 million mobile payment users worldwide and that the total amount spent via mobile payments in 2017 would be close to £48 billion. But even more staggering than this, that same total is expected to be £403 billion by 2020.
It seems clear, on the face of it, that mobile payments are catching on in a big way. Customers are making the most of the possibilities opened up by smartphone technology and are embracing a cashless society. Whether the move has been pushed by convenience, security concerns or even just an emerging interest in new technology – it doesn’t matter; retailers need to start accommodating.
Our advice is to grab a POS system and a card reader that can take mobile payments as soon as possible. They’re fairly common now and it won’t be too hard to equip your store for mobile payments, but an older system just won’t be able to handle (or even comprehend) a mobile payment. You could risk losing out on a lot of money if you don’t start preparing now.
2 – Unique In-Store Experience
Any shop that can provide an experience that bests that of online shopping is going to be king in 2017, and one of the best ways of achieving this is by creating a unique experience for your shoppers. But this is a tricky one – what even constitutes as a ‘unique in-store experience’? Well just think about how you can innovate with the way people interact, view and navigate your store, what can you do to pull people into the shop, instead of buying online?
I’m afraid there are no set rules here, but the overarching message is to get creative and have fun with it. Make the store an exciting place to be, there needs to be a reason for the shopper to come into town and walk into your shop over buying online. But us saying ‘just be better than the internet’ isn’t exactly very helpful. So here’s some jumping off points: Take a look at the layout of your store, how can you work with that to make the physical navigation of the area a delightful experience? Install some physical assets around the store that go beyond manakins and shelves – consider the themes and imagery your products play with and start placing sculptures/furniture/art that matches.
Think about technology also, it might be time to commission an app and start handing out tablet computers to shoppers so they can use the technology to instantly see product reviews, videos and recommendations on the tablet just by scanning a QR code. There have been some huge successes along these lines and the whole concept essentially revolves around taking the research capabilities of online shopping and incorporating them with a physical store.
2017 is going to see retailers acknowledge the importance of the customer experience and adjusting their stores accordingly.
3 – Personalisation
A recent study has shown that 56% of customers are more likely to shop at a retailer that recognises them by name. The personal touch can go a long way in encouraging a customer to part with their cash, but personalisation goes way beyond remembering someone’s name or asking them how their day is going.
Loyalty schemes are a fantastic way of developing a relationship between your shopper and your shop, by incentivising them to return and making them feel as though they’re valued and rewarded by the store for their custom you might just win yourself a repeat customer. Starbucks saw a 25% rise in profits after they introduced their loyalty scheme.
Nike is another fantastic example here, in providing free training videos on their Nike+ App, the athleticwear brand is showing customers and prospects that they care about their success in the relevant area of interest. They show a willingness to go above and beyond in simply helping the customer.
Gestures like this go a long way in 2017 – shoppers are bombarded with brands, products and stores like never before and the ones who succeed will have helped the customer and given them a personal and valuable that goes beyond the product they’re buying.
Related: 5 ways to grow your small business
4 – Customer Data
We predict that the use of customer data as an asset is going to grow in popularity and in importance for retailers throughout 2017. From supply chain management to post-purchase care and marketing, keeping a record of your customers’ shopping habits and making use of their contact details is now invaluable in managing your store and setting up repeat custom.
The main message here is to be smart with the information available to you. For example… You’ve made a sale – fantastic, but what can you learn from it and how can you use that to help you in the future? The customer you just sold to, how old were they, were they male or female and what did they buy? If you’re seeing a lot of people within the same demographic buying the same products and exhibiting the same shopping habits then you may be on to something. Take all the customer contact details you’ve logged recently and use a targeted ad campaign to exhibit this product to members of the same demographic who haven’t bought the product yet.
Gathering and analysing data gives you the opportunity to understand your customers and start predicting where your future audiences will come from. Retailers who can make data-backed decisions are going to outperform those who can’t every time.
In 2017, the industry is going to start to recognise this more and many store owners are going to be applying data analytics and marketing strategies to the day-to-day running of their business. So utilise the information that’s already available to you and start recording your customer data, we’re sure you’ll recognise some purchasing patterns that you can use to improve your revenue.
5 – Retail Technology
As you can probably tell by now, the relationship between retail and technology is the overarching theme for our predictions in 2017. The incorporation of advanced tech with shop floors is going to drive the industry this year and continue to open up exciting avenues for encouraging foot traffic and increasing revenue among retailers.
Providing the customer with an interesting, rewarding and seamless experience is becoming the key to retail success, it’s not enough to have your product, brand and location – you need to give the customer something they can’t get from shopping at home, and rather ironically, the best way of doing this seems to now be by embracing tech and implementing it into a physical store.
You’re going to start seeing technology and retail becoming even more inseparable throughout 2017. Many SME’s are going to start adapting to the changes, and apps, devices and software will become more prevalent in the shopping experience.
So what can you do for your business? Get involved! Go out and find some technology that can assist your business and start using it – start a loyalty scheme, track your customer data, use a digital ticketing service. These are all areas we recommend looking into and we can help you with them all – so get in touch and talk to us about getting your store up to date with the latest trends.
Times are changing whether we like it or not, so let’s not get left behind.
If you’d like to talk to us about any of the advice given in this article and discuss how our KCPOS till systems can help keep your business ahead of the curve, call us on 01724 400300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org