Retail sales trends point to one basic truth about the future of the industry: Technology that achieves more self-sufficiency for shoppers is here to stay. Consumers look for the most hassle-free and least-expensive deals using computer technology available on smartphones. As such, retailers that adapt to this new way of buying win, and those that refuse to change lose.
Apple's new technology rollouts, such as watches, phones and mobile wallet apps, keep consumers scrambling for more. Trend-setters at a recent conference noted Apple keeps pushing the envelope for tech-savvy geeks with extra spending money. Instead of a Rolex, the next luxury watch may well be Apple's wearable technology.
Apple also seeks to make paying for goods even faster with Apple Pay, a service launched with the popular iPhone 6 in August 2014. Instead of swiping a card, consumers simply push a smartphone screen. Technology at the register obviates the need to fumble through a wallet and makes cash even more obsolete. These retail sales trends make shopping even more convenient, and merchants need to take notice of Apple's emerging pay system.
Amazon wants consumers to buy fresh food from the online giant rather than chain supermarkets. Amazon Fresh is expanding into more markets, and grocery stores stand to lose the most from these types of retail sales trends. Combined with Amazon Prime, delivery of groceries to someone's front door may be commonplace within 10 years. No more trips to the grocery store means consumers save money on gas. Busy people who spend less time waiting in lines at grocery stores have more free time to do other important tasks. Grocery stores need to consider some type of discounted delivery service to compete with Amazon's market might.
Companies that utilize mobile technology gain the most from current retail sales trends. Consumers check their phones 150 times per day on average. Mobile apps that make shopping easier, seamless and hassle-free stand to make the most money in the digital world. Retailers such as Macy's and Nordstrom recently initiated programs that let customers buy stuff from their websites to pick up in stores. These high-end retailers follow Wal-Mart's "Site to Store" options that have been in place for years.
Information technology, luxury goods and marketing all stand to win the most in this type of economy. These industries have been hiring more salespeople to keep up with demand. Their employees must know how to use the latest technology to explain this tech to consumers, and the retail sales trends need for employees should continue as the economy improves.
The sooner retailers adapt to mobile technology, the better. CEOs and managers of all businesses, large and small, should keep abreast of the latest retail sales trends using technology to prevent losses to competitors. Trade magazines, online news outlets and customer feedback are just a few of the many resources available to make future adaptation easier for companies that want to keep the competitive edge.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Borman at Flickr.com