The year 2018 was a record-breaking year for retailers around the world. E-commerce retailers like Amazon.com continued to be a disruptor in physical retail while many other retailers, such as Toys”R”Us, closed their doors after providing unique products to customers for decades. In 2018, retailers all over the country took a step further in integrating their digital transformation efforts, both inside and outside the physical store. They now offer flexible and convenient checkout options. We can expect more transformation in the retail sector now that 2019 is here. Stores are striving to meet shoppers’ evolving expectations. These are the three top retail trends that I expect to see in 2019.
Amazon will expand its physical footprint
Amazon has announced its new locations for its second U.S. Headquarters. I anticipate Amazon to increase its presence in physical retail, with grocery stores and convenience stores. The U.S. will see the launch of 3,000 Amazon Go shops by 2021, as the retailer seeks to capitalize on the rapidly growing convenience store market. Amazon will also likely acquire larger physical locations to expand Whole Foods, and gain scale in the grocery sector. This will build on Amazon Prime’s loyalty success through in-store discounts.
Innovative Checkout Options Will be Enhanced by New Technology
In 2019, seamless checkouts will be the norm, with many retailers using “scan-and-go” technology, such as Target, Macy’s and Walmart. There will be more demand for alternative checkout options, such as cashier-less checkouts, “Scan and Go,” self-checkouts, mobile checkout kiosks and mobile app payments. This is because retailers are adapting their point-of sale technology to accommodate customers’ changing needs and new shopping habits. This implementation will empower and make store associates more productive, which will result in increased customer engagement, brand loyalty, and better customer service. Even better, store associates may be able to upsell popular items.
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Brick-and-Mortar stores will use space more effectively
2019 will see physical retailers become more innovative with how they use space. Stores will be used to fulfill click-and-collect orders and home delivery, for cross-sell, upsell, and to promote experiential shopping. These key areas will support an end-to-end customer experience, allowing for better integration between the physical store and online sales. This will also help to improve operational efficiency. This trend will see more e-commerce websites opening physical stores, which will further boost physical retail outlet growth.
Similar story: 5 Retail tips for a prosperous new year
We will see innovative integration between digital and physical as 2019 begins. Retailers will continue to embrace innovative ways of using brick-and-mortar space, faster checkout options, and expanding in-store technology. These initiatives are all designed to meet the changing demands of shoppers.
How to build better relationships with webrooming and showrooming customers
Retail is constantly changing with new trends being introduced each year. Some trends are easy to adopt, while others pose a challenge, such as the increased frequency with which consumers shop online or in showrooms when they shop for their next purchase.
Although you may be familiar with the term, let us explain it. Webrooming refers to the act or researching a product online and then buying it in-store. Showrooming involves searching for an item in-store and then purchasing online. There is some overlap between them, with 60% of webroomers having spent time showrooming and 90% of showroomers having shownered, but retailers still need to learn how to optimize their experiences for both.
Let’s take a closer glance at each one.
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Showroom workers seek visuals
Imagine what it feels like to enter Ikea. A sample living space is to your left, and your dream bedroom on the right. These displays make shopping in-store a more enjoyable experience than a Saturday afternoon run. Retailers should take advantage of these displays. Displays provide opportunities for sales staff to interact with customers, give them a product experience and increase their chances of a purchase in-store.
This strategy is being adopted by a number of large retailers. Bonobos, a men’s apparel company, offers a ” Guideshop” where employees help customers find the right outfit. Bonobos lets these showrooms purchase products online, instead of leading customers to buy in-store.
Restoration Hardware takes the approach even further by encouraging customers to bring photos, layouts and measurements to help them design their perfect room. Customers can now shop in their own homes based on the in-store experience.
A new wave of webroomers
It is not surprising that 78 per cent of shoppers aged 18-29 prefer to shop online over brick-and-mortar shopping for a range of reasons including convenience and coupons. All of this makes in-store shopping even more important for your success.
Many webroomers know what they want before they even step foot in a store. They have done their research and are looking for immediate gratification upon arrival. This is a big advantage for retailers as they no longer need to create product information from scratch and can instead offer added-value products (e.g. protection plans) to customers who have not been able to find them online.
It’s also important to show appreciation for your webroomers’ loyalty if you are able to excite their interest enough to bring them back to your store. About two-thirds consumers believe they’re more likely than others to shop at a retailer if they’re not recognized as loyal customers.
The new retail challenges presented by showroomers and webroomers are unique. Your business can appeal to both by providing personal experiences and building long-term customer loyalty.
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