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It’s December, which means a new year is right around the corner. Along with the big ball drop and lots of confetti, the New Year is also bringing a slew of retail trends. From multi-channel nurturing to the continuing growth of artificial intelligence, let’s take a deeper dive into the top 5 retail trends coming in 2019.
1. Experiential Retail
This first retail trend probably comes as no surprise: today’s consumers want to feel more engaged. Simply remodeling your store isn’t enough – you need to create an experience. Some examples of this include “pop-ups” that feature your best products (even if they aren’t for sale), in-store classes and workshops, incorporating your brand’s apps in brick and mortar stores, and more.
Speaking of apps, there are many types to choose from. Some features of today’s retail apps include:
- Showing product aisle location, price, current stock, specs, reviews, etc.
- Shopping list creation and coupon access
- Augmented reality (AR) functionality, enabling customers to try on clothes virtually, see what products would look like in their home, visit “invisible” pop-up shops, etc.
Using apps will not only make your store (and brand) more fun – it will benefit your customers, too. According to a recent study, over 60% of consumers say AR could improve their daily lives, including how they shop. By implementing AR into your retail marketing strategy, you’ll stay on top of the trend that’s predicted to attract 1 billion users by 2020 – and grow to $90 billion in size.
2. Multi-Channel Selling
Don’t let the changing retail environment scare you – there’s certainly still a place for brick and mortar. But the key to your success involves more than just the physical storefront: you must appeal to customers online, as well.
It’s not just speculation – it’s been shown that consumers embracing multi-channel shopping is a true retail trend. For example, on Black Friday this year, 54% of shoppers reported shopping both online and in physical stores. The time to funnel effort into your e-commerce approach (from your website to your social media strategy) is now.
3. Innovative mPOS Systems
Next year, point of sale (POS) systems will continue expanding further into businesses’ marketing and customer engagement strategies. Mobile point of sale (mPOS) systems are a perfect example of that transition. Because mPOS systems are deployed on mobile devices, they enable employees to bring the transaction to the customer, decreasing wait times and greatly improving the
shopping experience. mPOS (and some traditional POS) can also enhance your brand’s marketing by allowing you to communicate and schedule coupons, promotions, job openings, and more via your receipt printers – all from one centralized device.
4. Corporate Social Responsibility
In this day and age, consumers don’t want to shop just anywhere – they want to purchase high-quality products from companies that care. Topics such as food waste and plastic pollution are making headlines left and right, and it’s more important than ever to practice what you preach. From sourcing locally to encouraging volunteerism, there are many ways to embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR) that can better the world – and align with your business objectives. Some examples of the business benefits of implementing CSR initiatives include improved brand reputation, operational cost savings, increased employee productivity, and a greater ability to attract and retain talent.
5. Data Driven Workflows
Data is king. If you build strategic data collection into your business model, you can then leverage it to improve everything from sales and marketing, to operations and customer service.
What does this look like? Big box retailers such as Walmart are using machine learning to optimize home delivery routes, and the technology could also be used for stocking and inventory, marketing and product placement, theft monitoring and more.
6. Artificial Intelligence
While the peak of artificial intelligence (AI) usage may still be a couple of years out, there’s no denying that AI is a growing trend – and a quickly growing trend, at that. Siri, Cortana, and Alexa are being utilized more and more, and it’s predicted that AI will follow a path similar to mobile shopping (starting off slow, then becoming a major channel for purchasing). This year consumers might just ask their virtual assistant for the forecast, but next year they could be asking to buy your product.
Is modernizing and optimizing your retail store on your list of New Year’s Resolutions? Discover how mPOS solutions can help you increase sales and improve customer satisfaction in our e-book!
Heidi Orpilla is the Digital Content Specialist at Star Micronics where she creates and manages content for Star’s blog, social media, website, products, and more. Heidi has a passion for writing and has worked in the B2B marketing space for over five years. Prior to working at Star, Heidi worked at a large reseller for six years.