Thursday, January 4, 2018

Categories: Retail Events

2018 Retail: The Predictions You Need To Know

Reserve online, pickup in-store is going to be a big trend for 2018 retail.2018 retail is going to be one heck of a ride. Whether that’s a good ride, or a bad ride, depends on how much retailers learned from the rocky road that was 2017. From trends like voice control to virtual reality, to rumors of the so called retail apocalypse, 2017 retail was one for the books.  But let’s not dwell on the past. Here are our predictions for retail in this new year.

Omni-channel Expansion

More than a prediction, this is a necessity for retailers in 2018. Retailers MUST update their omni-channel practices to compete more effectively and thrive in 2018. It means implementing complete inventory visibility down to the individual store location, providing simple and uncomplicated returns, and making in-store pickup orders a reality. Retailers, do you think you have these practices already implemented? The Omni-1000, a research study on omni-channel practices, found that most retailers are still not engaged in omni-channel. But, those retailers that are delivering in-store pickup (click & collect), ship-from-store, and other converged or harmonized commerce offers to their shoppers, have the lead. Shopping season 2017 experienced a great awakening of consumers to the omni-channel experience. There is no going back. 2018 will be the year for omni-channel retailing at the shoppers convenience.

Reserve In-Store

Reserve online, pickup in-store (ROPIS) is going to be a big trend for 2018 retail. This is the process whereby a customer reserves an item of their choosing online, for pickup in a store in a short time window. Retailers such as Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond and Henry’s already have it. The process is very similar to buy online pick up in store, in which you purchase the item online and pick up in store, but it gives a customer more flexibility. A shopper can see the item in person when it’s been placed aside for them before actually completing the transaction. It is popular for big ticket, technology and specialized items. Once thought to be a commerce concept of the past, ROPIS is here to stay, and an important part of the omni-channel play.

Shopping As An Experience

Whitepaper: Will the Real Retail OMS Please Stand Up?Millennials have made it clear and trendy: experiences are the way to earn their hearts and dollars over merely providing physical tangible products. This means bigger, better, and more physically appealing stores are in. We predict that retail vendors will come up with new ways to entice customers to coming into their actual store locations. It includes promising prospects like pop-up stores, artificial intelligence (have you seen Pepper at work?), and grander and visually appealing store spaces.

Pop-Up Revolution

Pop-up stores were big in 2017, and retailers should continue to take advantage of the excitement. These retail goldmines emphasize the in-store experience because of the exclusivity of the concept. The “fear of missing out” will bring shoppers to these temporary retail venues this year. It’s new. It’s clean. It’s fresh and cool! Best of all the pop-up trend ties perfectly into the entire harmonized commerce idea (give the customer what they want, any way, anywhere, and any time they want). Check out the details in this Popup Store infographic from our friends at Colourfast.

Artificial Intelligence

The future has to be NOW in 2018 retail. This year, retailers will take advantage of  new technologies and use artificial intelligence.

The future has to be NOW in retail in 2018. We predict retailers will take advantage of new technologies such as facial recognition, 3D clothes modeling, and virtual reality. These make shoppers experience retail items, as if they already own them. This not only entices customers to show up to a physical store locations, but keeps them coming back to see how a certain style looks on them.  The key to profiting out of integrating these technologies is personalizing the customer experience and doing so accurately. But, don’t forget about your analytics and simulators too. 2018 will be all about rapid testing, simulating, and improving.

Insta-Worthy Physical Locations

Although some think that Instagram retail influences the decline of brick-and-mortar interest, some retailers have strategized, and decided to take full advantage of the social app’s influence on shoppers. Restaurant 3 Arts Club, a café in Chicago, was the engagement spot for 32 marriage proposals in 2017, and the 7th most Instagrammed café in America. This is due to the physical aesthetic of the café, something that followers on Instragram appreciate and value. Hermes combines Parisian themed architecture with sheer store size to create an epic look, worthy of sharing with peers on Instagram. They recognize the importance of connecting physical to online by using their store as an experience. Don’t overlook store aesthetic in your 2018 retail strategy.

Faster Checkouts

Shout out to Walmart who made Scan and Go a thing in 2017. This means as you’re picking up your items throughout the store, you can be scanning them at the same time. All that’s left to do by the end of a shopper’s journey is pay. This is huge, and skips a long, tedious step. It makes coming to a physical store convenient, and easy for shoppers. Good for you Walmart – for thinking out of the ‘big-box’! Other retailers will definitely follow this trend in 2018 retail.

Co-Opetition & Retail Collaboration

Sephora and other retailers use loyalty programs, despite the general notion that millennials aren't brand loyalists.Whether it was Walmart and Bonobos, Amazon and Whole Foods, Amazon and Kohl’s, Amazon…. Anyway, are you seeing a trend here? By teaming up with Kohl’s for returns, and acquiring Whole Foods to sell products, Amazon saw the value of the physical store in 2017, and decided to strategically align itself in a fashion that allows for a little give and take with their competition. A little bit of co-opetition won’t hurt anybody and retailers should learn and adapt from this example in 2018. Sometimes working with your competition to address individual interests can be a win-win for both sides of the party. This might be a way for more retailers to start providing more consumers with omni-channel offers. Retailers without the right infrastructure may want to partner with those that have the right technology. It could get more retailers to harmonized commerce, faster. Frankly, it’s also an opportunity for two similar but competing retailers to expand their respective footprint, and provide their shoppers with even greater convenience.

It’s not that retail is ending; retail is changing, and this is a way for retailers to adapt to the changing market climate.

Loyalty… Is It Back?

NYX, Lowe’s, and Abercrombie & Fitch are just a few of the retailers who have added a loyalty program to their retail strategy in 2017. Brands like Sephora have had great success using loyalty programs to attract customers, despite the general notion that millennials aren’t brand loyalists. In 2018, we might see retailers trying to bring back loyalty. Nike has already caught on to the return of loyalty, by planning to open a New York location with a floor exclusively for members. The key is to offer attractive incentives that entice consumers to WANT to become your brand loyalists.

What are your predictions for 2018 retail? Tweet us @OrderDynamics to share what you expect or want to see.

Author:  
Rida Talpur

Rida Talpur is OrderDynamics’ Jr. Marketing Coordinator, and resident retail-loving millennial. She has completed a B.A. from the University of Toronto as a specialist in Journalism. Rida has interned with prominent names in Canadian journalism including The Toronto Star, and Canadian Living Magazine.

 

 

Related:

The New Era of Omni-Channel Co-opetition in Retail Get the Competitive Advantage with Click and Collect Top 8 Notables of Retail 2017