With all the technology advancements and changes that happened, 2018 was a roller coaster for shoppers and retailers. It set the stage perfectly for this upcoming year. So, what will happen? What will the industry focus on? Where will shopper demand go?
All of these are questions that can be answered by simply following trends and tracking what is happening in the market.
So, here are a few retail trends to watch out for in 2019:
Sustainability is of prime importance
The subject of sustainability is a crucial trend in most all industries nowadays, as we don’t have a lot of time to collectively change our ways and adopt a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle. The sustainability conversation is affecting retail as well. Companies are expanding sustainability efforts with brands that rely on the environment most leading the charge. They have opted to reduce waste and upcycle most of their items. A reality check came when news media reported on Burberry’s practice of burning its excess inventory, and the public backlash led to changes in the brand’s policies. More has to be done in the future and brands are supporting that, particularly fashion brands that haven’t been known for their sustainability in the past.
Store concepts evolve
Brick-and-mortar stores are evolving in many ways and focusing on experimenting with embedded technologies, store size and additional shopper services. Some of the main initiatives of 2018 included downsizing, developing smaller format stores, and creating community-driven spaces for shoppers. These concepts push mobile devices into the stores and there are many things that are great about it. Pickup lockers, reservation of products and so on – see what Nike did with their New York store which is designed to help people shop more easily, offer DIY options and more.
There are numerous concepts brands are considering to drive shoppers back into brick-and-mortar stores. They are creating fun and entertaining spaces and focusing on more recent trends of customer-centricity, shoppers’ needs and even shopper health benefits. Pop up stores are not a strange thing anymore and brands have really taken to experimenting.
Retailers are all about exploring a more personalized experience – as is the case with most niches and industries. More consumers want a completely unique and personalized interaction at both online and physical retail stores. In response, the industry will continue to offer more personalized recommendations, loyalty programs and so on.
“It’s more than just emails and social media. Experimental systems all are there in favor of a more personalized experience that customers can have within an online marketplace and in the store. Retail becomes a service of providing the brands the space they need in a simple way with great design and content,” says Marco Di Rosa, information clerk at Australia2Write.
Lessons from DTC
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses have provided the retail industry some really important lessons. They have disrupted nearly every segment and it’s shown us some great things in the previous year – the prime examples being Glossier, Casper and so on. Casper, for example, streamlined the options shoppers have and managed to sell $100 million worth of mattresses in a year.
More and more businesses have used social media to help themselves rise quickly and gain a large following. Then, brick-and-mortar stores have become a necessity for them as they grew. Casper integrates physical stores because they want to give people the opportunity to try the product, and they want to cost-effectively reach new audiences in new markets. Product brands are recognizing the value and the premise of the DTC model, and we can expect more brands to incorporate DTC tactics, both online and in-store, from the start.
Private labels experience online growth
“Customers are able to buy a huge amount of goods at a wide variety of places for different prices. They are no longer limited in any way. This is why private label products are now found three times more than branded products,” says Jenny Fishikin, sales engineer at BritStudent.
Retail brands like Target, Amazon and Walmart are competing against the very brands they sell by starting their own product lines. This will only grow and expand in the future as more and more large retail brands discover the opportunities. Their customer audience is also willing to listen and pay attention, so there is little reason to pass on this.
Retail brands have faced a lot of turmoil in recent years and changes certainly have disrupted the market. As the market changes, of course, retailers must keep pace by continually evolving their businesses, from product offerings to shopper service models. Look for the trends above to continue to shape retailers’ strategic plans for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020.
About the writer: Joel Snyder is sales associate and writer at educational services PhD Kingdom and Next CourseWork. He enjoys helping people to grow their businesses as well as creating articles about things that excite him. One of his main goals is to follow trends and advise retailers on where to go next.
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