What is the future of retail and what does 2016 have in store for retailers?
The past year has been full of change, but even more transformation is ahead. The biggest change, of course is the transformation of retailing from a solely brick-and-mortar or eCommerce experience to a multi-channel marketplace. According to PSFK’s Future of Retail 2016 report, there are 9 things retailers should do to maximize what it calls the “New Shopper Experience.” Use these retail trends tips for 2016 to do so.
Retail Trends Tips for 2016
1. Create Confidence
Provide shoppers with the tools and advice they need to discover new products and choose the best option for their own needs.
Product immersion — Let customers get hands-on and test products before they buy.
Guided recommendations — Provide customized advice from expert salespeople to find the right product.
2. Eliminate Obstacles
Use technology and services to streamline the path to purchase so it requires minimal effort.
Anywhere purchasing — Use technology to let customers find and purchase products anywhere, whether in-store on their mobile devices.
Shop ahead — Make it easy for customers to plan their visit to your physical store before they go
One-click transactions — Implement payment processing services that streamline the checkout process.
3. Recognize and Personalize
Use systems that record and let you act on your customers’ purchasing history and preferences.
Use CRM, loyalty programs and similar tech tools to deliver personalized service based on customers’ past experiences.
4. Promote Transparency
Be open with customers about your products and services, as well as how you use their personal information.
Reciprocal relationships — Allow customers to opt out of sharing personal information; let them know how you protect and use that data so they can make smart decisions.
Storied products — Give customers a behind-the-scenes look at where the products you sell come from, including who makes them, their environmental footprint and more.
Collaborate with like-minded companies to expand your product offerings, creating additional value for your shoppers.
Cross-channel rewards — Build a system of partners that allows you to reward customer engagement in broader ways than just with products. For example, you could partner with a delivery company to deliver products to customers the same day.
Additive experiences — Enhance the experience of shopping at your store or owning your products by teaming up with partner companies to deliver premium services or other perks.
6. Optimize Ownership
Build a support network that provides expert service and continues to educate customers about their purchase after it’s made.
Cultivated expertise — Create educational experiences that teach customers new skills, while also showing them new ways to use your products (and creating the need for related products).
Always-on support — Use customer service technology such as chat, online video directions, and live support to provide real-time access to experts who can provide advice on using products.
7. Cultivate Community
Create opportunities for your customers to come together around your brand and add value to your products.
Cultural hubs — Create space inside your store to offer complementary services and experiences that build relationships. (Think about how Apple stores offer classes within their stores.)
8. Encourage Advocacy
Tap into your customers’ knowledge and feedback on your products — this creates opportunities for them to become brand advocates.
Crowd buy-in — Use social media and other online communities to get feedback from your customers.
9. Deliver Delight
Provide unexpected perks to cement relationships with customers.
Insider exclusives — Provide one-of-a-kind experiences, promotions and rewards to your best customers, such as inviting them to special events or sales just for VIPs.
Not all of these actions are simple for small retailers to take, but all of them can be (and must be) done if you want your store to stay competitive in the future of retail — in 2016 and beyond.