Millennials and other digital natives may have initially led the way, but as the past Holiday shopping season showed, all shopper segments are now embracing multichannel shopping journeys, and as a result they are forcing the retail industry into dramatic changes. However, as shopper-dictated trends emerge, new opportunities arise for retailers willing to be flexible and agile.
Those were the key messages delivered by facilitators Shelley E. Kohan and Neha Subramanian during the webinar, “Retail’s Biggest Trends & the Opportunities For Your Business.”
Convergence of physical and digital channel
Shoppers want multichannel shopping journeys, and in their minds, the best experiences are those that are seamless, easy, convenient and fun. As a result, retailers face continued pressure to converge their physical and digital channels, and their very boundaries are becoming blurred.
It’s not only that physical channels are learning from digital channels and vice versa, but blurred lines exist even along previously well-established market niches. Department stores are getting into specialty retail, and the line between retailers and wholesalers gets more blurred with each passing quarter. One thing is for certain: in 2016, a combined strategy of physical and digital will be required for sales growth.
Retail’s biggest emerging trends
Kohan shared with webinar participants the biggest trends emerging in the New Year, including:
- Product & price transparency
- Collaboration with unexpected partners
- Experiential shopping initiative
- Mobile as a conduit between digital & physical
- Real-time visibility of shopper metrics
Regarding the emerging trends, Kohan emphasized the importance of understanding Millennials and Generation Z shoppers, who want more than just product for money – they want to feel good about their purchases. “Product-plus” continues to show up as a key strategy, with retailers building in experiences, stories of products from source to factory to store, community support and development, and more.
Mobile, meanwhile, is bursting out of its definition as a channel and is growing into a conduit, enabling shoppers and retailers to make connections across digital and physical channels, all the while offering power, speed and convenience for shoppers and retailer alike.
Persistent trends continuing to influence
Trends from previous years continue to make their presence felt in the retail environment. In developing and executing on strategies in 2016, retailers still need to mind the following holdover trends from previous years:
- Service-centered focus
- Format redux revised
- Knowledge deficiency gap
- Value-driven dominance
Opportunities for your business
For webinar participants, trends – both emerging and persistent – are the necessary “so what’s.” They directly lead, of course, to the “now what’s.”
To close that gap, Subramanian led the participants into a discussion on strategies around on connected, personal and ever-evolving retail, and demonstrated the real-world applications by sharing case studies for each.
- Inspiring connected retail: How do you encourage staff and shopper interactions? How can you know more than the shopper?
- Inspiring personal retail: How do you engage each shopper one-to-one? In-Store? On their own devices?
- Inspiring evolving retail: How can staff learn from yesterday’s trends? How can you test hypotheses in real time?
For the entire webinar, “Retail’s Biggest Trends & the Opportunities For Your Business,” watch the entire recorded session here.
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