With the continued growth of digital technology and online merchandising, 2015 brings several retail trends likely to influence shopping habits. From Bluetooth capable in-store beacons to a dynamic growth of online retailers offering quality service and extensive product lines, retail trends are changing the way people shop. Check out these latest trends and how they are likely to influence shopping behaviors into the future.
Beacons are integrated digital sensors that retailers place on shelves, displays and product signs to encourage customer interaction through the customer's mobile device. Low-strength Bluetooth signals provide customers with product information, discounts and even no-wait payment choices to improve the shopping experience. Beacons are inexpensive, battery-operated devices that use a minimal amount of energy and require no new wiring, making them a great choice for retailers looking to provide low-cost connectivity.
Better Use of Big Data
Big data systems collect information on browsers, shoppers and buyers and turn that information into a personalized shopping experience. Expect future retailers to provide the exact information you need when you need it. Among emerging retail trends is the use of big data before a store even opens. Advanced shopping analytics gives retailers a picture of the local shopping habits. This helps with stock selection, hours and even designing the physical space of the store interior. Custom shops draw in savvy shoppers who expect personalized service at all levels.
More Digital Choices
The days of Amazon being the first online retailer shoppers turn to may be numbered. Other retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Costco, are growing their online shopping sites with better product selections and faster customer service. Ship-to-store service reduces or removes shipping costs, drawing in customers who balk at paying extra shipping and handling fees. Foreign mass-market retailers, such as Alibaba, are also looking to draw in U.S. shoppers. Watch for even more digital shopping choices in the future as this retail trend takes off.
Fewer Brick and Mortar Choices
While digital shopping options grow, more and more brick and mortar stores are closing. The retail trend is to reduce the number of physical shopping outlets to keep businesses strong in the digital age. Shoppers need to drive farther to shop in person at their favorite retailers, and future stores are likely to be smaller with reduced inventories.
On the other hand, although physical stores are becoming fewer in number and smaller in product selection, they are offering more perks than ever. Expect the store of the future to provide more sampling, such as free food or beverages; interactive displays; and more attention from salespeople. The addition of beverage kiosks and other add-on services are a way to draw in shoppers and keep them coming back. Contemporary shoppers want a shopping experience that is entertaining, and savvy retailers are incorporating entertainment options to meet those needs.
As technology changes the way people shop, retailers look for new ways to interact with their customers. Retail trends, such as Bluetooth beacons, shopping analytics and a variety of new perks, help retailers stay competitive and draw in new business. Look for more online shopping options and more personalized in-store service continuing into the 2020s.
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