1. Convergence of Digital & Physical Channels
The convergence of digital and physical channels is critical for retailers who want to succeed in building their brands with their customer bases. The shopping experience must be accessible, available and deliverable – all in the format and time that shoppers want it. Building multiple and consistent touchpoints across various channels is key to top line growth. Leveraging strong CRM and loyalty programs across digital and physical will deliver strong bottom line performance by engaging the most loyal customers.
2. Optimization of the In-Store Shopping Journey
The in-store shopping experience must be inspiring, captivating and relevant to the shopper. Gone are the days of ‘keep her in the store as long as possible so she will spend more.’ The new mantra is, ‘offer differentiated product in a captivating environment, and deliver in the most efficient manner.’
3. Enabling Technology to Inspire and Captivate
Using in-store technologies to continue the customer touchpoint beyond the four walls is critical. The use of in-store messaging, iBeacons, social media, loyalty programs and personal associate communications before, during and after the store visit continues the shopping experience beyond the scope of the four walls. Understanding and measuring in-store shopper activities and engagement are key to building stores that transcend shopper exploration and leads to customer commitment.
4. Location Format Redux
Across all retail types, from size to channel, there is a paradigm shift for businesses engaged in the retail sector. Large format discount stores are investing in small, “bite size” elements of their footprint showcasing specific product categories, and online only retailers are opening up physical stores to showcase the branding experience for customers. Retailers are closing down unprofitable locations while investing deeply in store theatrics for locations in prime target areas of their customers. The bottom line is that retailers need to create both physical branding opportunities, and relevant shopping journeys across all channels.
5. The Convenience Factor
Convenience is the key deliverable for today’s customer and the future customer of tomorrow. ‘Make it easy’ and relevant. Complex infrastructures might be in the background, but the front side has to be “easy.” Today’s shopper has less money, less time and less infinitely patience for retailers to ‘get it right.’
Have ideas of your own for retail trends for 2015? Let me know in the comments section below, or tweet me up at @retailshelley.