Stay ahead of the curve with these retail trends for 2017
2016 was an exciting year for retailers and entrepreneurs. The development of technologies simplifying shopping experiences, growing effectiveness of social shopping and the rising prominence of direct and experiential retail will continue to provide retailers with opportunities in 2017. Want to stay ahead of the curve? Continue reading our top 7 retail trends to watch out for in 2017.
1. Omnichannel: from novelty to expectation
Talks of omnichannel dominated the best part of 2016 but one critical thing has changed; omnichannel shopping is no longer a novelty – it’s fast becoming a consumer expectation. Being an omnichannel retailer means being accessible to your customers whenever and wherever they want: in store, online, on social media or even messenger apps. Successful omnichannel retailers will avoid running their online and offline channels in parallel and instead find unique ways to seamlessly connect all of their moving parts together to provide truly unified shopping experiences. In 2017, businesses will either get behind omnichannel thinking or get left behind.
2. Fast pay
Consumers are placing unprecedented value on shopping quickly and effortlessly. This is even more important online; card details, billing addresses, passwords and memorable words are all things of the past. Apple wallet, finger-touch payments and technologies such as Mastercard’s selfie payment app will make serious headway in 2017 and soon become the industry norm. To find out more about the future of payments, read our exclusive interview with Mastercard’s Elliott Goldenberg here.
3. The age of robots
Robots are transforming retail. They have long been a permanent fixture of factory floors and industrial environments, but a new class of robots are making their way to shop floors, homes and even mobile phones. Robots now monitor stock levels in grocery stores, help you schedule your day with Amazon’s advanced audio interface Echo, and even cook your dinner with Moley’s Robotic Chef. Artificial intelligence is also becoming a real force in customer service, with chat bots nested within messenger apps providing instant and up-to-date information on behalf of retailers, broadcasters and banks. With brands such as H&M and Nordstrom already behind the trend, many more will undoubtedly follow in 2017.
4. Direct retail
An unprecedented number of retailers are shifting towards the direct consumer model. Changing your business model to ‘go direct’ means recalibrating your entire business set-up – a move that requires a thorough change in mind-set and complete support from the top tiers. The benefits of direct consumer connections are persuading more and more retailers to take the plunge and this will only continue to grow in 2017. Not sure if it’s for you? An excellent way to test direct retail is via pop-ups. Find out more about pop-up stores here.
5. Unique experiences
Major brands such as Samsung, Apple and Sonos invested heavily in experiential activity in 2016. As consumer craving for visceral experiences continues to grow, so will the demand for experiential retail. In an age where everything is at our fingertips, retailers need to find ways of connecting all of our senses to create truly lasting impressions. Successful brands will drive unique and differentiated experiences and establish emotional connections with consumers – creating community spaces where customers will assemble and spend time together will become a major trend in 2017.
6. Effortless in-store shopping
In-store technology is on the increase and retail will continue to be disrupted by virtual and augmented reality. According to Goldman Sachs, the virtual reality industry will grow to $1.6 billion with 32 million users in 2017. Largely used for PR stunts so far, these technologies will move into the practical space, helping shoppers explore new beauty looks, try on clothes and pay even faster.