The New Year of 2017 beckons and retailers all around the Globe will be aspiring for more, especially with regards to conversions and new customer acquisitions. We are already into the last quarter of 2016 and retailers have an idea of what has worked for them over the course of the year. Clarity in understanding of what is required is essential as they set foot in 2017. Following are a few trends that are bound to make an impact in the coming year by bringing retailers closer to their aspirations.
Omnichannel Presence – Media is the Store
The significance of having an omni-channel presence is a well known prophecy among all retailers globally. 2017 is not going to be any different. Brands with a multi-channel presence will be in a better position to better attend to the customers who will be far from loyal to a particular channel. Retailers will be looking to make the most out of all the available technology in retail to provide as much convenience and personalization as possible to the consumers across all channels. Whether it's tailor made content marketing that retailers resort to, or provide effective decision making tools aiding the customer decision making process, the idea is to best attend to the customers across various mediums (mobiile, online, social, etc) and enforce as many conversions as possible. In 2017, retailers will indeed treat the 'Media as the Store'.
The Smart-er Brick-and-Mortar
Technology will continue to breathe life into the physical retail store like it has this year. The connected retail store is one of the primary factors that has led the revival of Brick-and-Mortar in recent times. It's an interactive world today and customers thrive on interaction. Retailers will recognize the overwhelming impact that a connected and interactive store has on the customers. 2017 will see more of virtual mirrors, immersive displays and pilot apps being adopted by brands and retailers. A survey conducted by POP Advertising Institute revealed that 67% of purchase decisions is made within the store. So the obvious question that comes in mind is, 'Why not make the store smarter'?
The Mobile Retail
A recent study by SOTI Inc (Mobile Software Developer) clearly indicates that 92% of consumers would prefer to shop in stores that are well equipped with mobile solutions and this particular trend is not showing signs of slowing down. With the number of mobile phone users increasing everyday, it gives a clear indication what value the mobile device will hold for retailers all over the Globe. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, 61% of consumers will leave a website if it's not properly responsive on their mobiles. Thus, retailers will look to create a mobile friendly website. Personalized mobile offers & promotion along with targeted mobile marketing are strategies that will continue to prosper for retailers in the year to come. The SITO study also found out that 61% of people prefer self checkouts over speaking with sales assistants. Another thing that retailers should look to provide is an option for self checkout from the app itself so that customers don't have to face the inconvenience of long queues.
The Social Retail – Attend to the Millenials
Social Media feedback has been significant in the overall productivity of the retailers in 2016, and there isn't much change scheduled for 2017. A 2016 survey by PWC states that 40% of customers were influenced massively after reading product reviews on social media. 84% of Millenials (aged 18-24) felt the same. Retailers will look to resort to social listening to understand their customers on social media. This will help them provide curated product offerings for each customer and enhance the levels of personalization. Retailers are aware of the spending capacity that Millenials will have in the near future and hence will look to cater especially to them along with others by closely monitoring their behavior on social media. Apart from analysing their behaviour, brands will look to boost their presence on different platforms on social media like Facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc.
Cognitive Commerce empowering Retail
The advent of cognitive computing and significant advancement of Artificial Intelligence technology will empower the retail sector by quite a considerable margin. Customer Personalization can be potentially taken to a level like never before. Whether it's chatbots enhancing the customer shopping experience or AI tracking in-store customer emotions, cognitive commerce will definitely be on the rise. There has been a word in the retail world regarding the lack of complete conviction of a few already existing bots. Things will only get better and it will be interesting to see how Conversational commerce takes full effect. The rising number of people using mobile messaging apps, has already made retailers try and amalgamate bots with messenger apps. With 2017 beckoning, it will be interesting to see what new developments are there in store for the customers.