Big Show 2015, sponsored by the National Retail Federation, provided Forbes magazine with the opportunity to survey a cross section of retail chief executive officers about their goals for the upcoming year. The results provide a broad look at the future of retail. These top retail trends range from new sales methods to better data usage, showing the influence of an improved economy and rapidly advancing technology on the future of retail operations.
Increase Sales Through New Delivery Modes
Top retail CEOs plan on increasing sales by offering a variety of product delivery modes to consumers. Contemporary customers thrive on instant gratification, and retail trends toward speedy product delivery help organizations remain competitive. Look for an increase in ship-to-store programs that allow customers to buy online and pick up their purchase at a convenient local store. Same-day delivery is another growing option that gives consumers fast access to the products they buy online.
Grow Traffic With Loyalty Programs
Building and improving loyalty programs is another top retail goal moving into 2015. The best loyalty programs offer regular discounts, occasional free merchandise, event invites and surprises. Retail trends show growth in free loyalty programs with easy sign-up to increase traffic at local stores and improve the overall reputation of the business.
Boost Luxury Lines
The economy is on the upswing, gas prices are down, and consumers have more money to spend on indulgences. Watch for retail trends toward developing and expanding luxury product lines aimed at older, upper-class clientele with money to spend. Expect better materials and upscale features designed to appeal to the affluent.
Personalized products and services are the wave of the future, and several CEOs listed expanding in this direction as a top retail goal. Consumers in the digital age expect to be in control, and personalized products meet this expectation. Custom design services, shopping assistants and products with multiple options allow customers to help create the exact environments and items to best meet their needs without a significant expenditure of time.
Focus on Being Different
In 2015, CEOs want to do better than the industry standard of providing quality products at competitive prices with excellent customer service. The new retail trend is toward being unique and truly different than competitors. Look for an increase in exclusive products and services, one-of-a-kind retail environments, and assorted surprises as each retailer strives to provide an experience not available elsewhere.
Underlying many of the goals expressed at Big Show 2015 is a new reliance on technology in the retail field. In addition to a growing mobile technology market, data mining provides retailers with a wealth of information to move them closer to the goals of faster delivery and customized products. Watch for even more retail trends focused on the increasing use of technology both behind the scenes and as a multipurpose shopping and marketing tool.
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