From year-to-year, retailers must transform their strategies and adapt to changing customer preferences, cutting-edge products and new technologies. Identifying these changes can be simple; however, identifying the differences between fads and trends that will have a lasting impression can be a challenge. Chain Store Age interviewed experts from Daymon Worldwide, a global marketing company, to better understand retail trends that may have an impact in 2016.
Here’s their take:
Consumers will seek out wholesome, high quality food products: those with less sugar, additives and fewer GMOs. Consumers are becoming less trusting of popular brands and corporations, and will turn to people within their circles and other consumers believed to be credible sources for product recommendations.
E-commerce and various combinations of product accessibility and delivery are changing retail distribution channels. Retailers such as Walmart are promoting online ordering with in-store pick-up. Amazon is planning on opening a brick-and-mortar bookstore. More consumers may soon be ordering online, heading out for an in-store pick-up and staying to shop on-site for an overall new way of purchasing products.
Digital engagement is predicted to increase. Brick-and-mortar retailers will find ways to embrace technology, providing shoppers with an omnichannel experience through mobile devices, apps, websites and in-person. This digital connection will provide retailers with consumer data to personalize the buyer’s experience.
The use of data for merchandising control is also expected to shift from suppliers to individual retailers. Michael Bellman, President of SAS Retail Services, suggests product placement will be determined using analytics. This will help level the playing field among brands, improve produce availability and supply as well as provide retailers with better management of money allocated for merchandising.
Another trend forecasted is the use of beacons–digital messages sent to mobile devices–to alert shoppers of specials during their on-site experience. Dr. Lance Eliot, VP of global IT for Interactions of Daymon Worldwide, cautions about the use of such communication as it is unknown at which point messages will frustrate the shopper to the point of potentially losing business. To test the threshold, Target is experimenting with a beacon pilot program, sending out a couple of messages to each shopper per visit.
As a result of online shopping, retailers are embracing the transformation of stores as centers for entertainment and social interaction. Avenues for customer engagement such as wine tastings, food demos and sampling will be prevalent. Shopping destinations may become smaller, unique social hubs rather than simply aisles and aisles of merchandise.
Retail is expected to engage consumers, personalizing their shopping experience. The key, according to Nicole LeMaire, VP for Interactions, is delivering the unexpected.