Factors such as improved technology, the popularity of e-commerce and the demand for faster delivery have shaped the way the retail industry looks in 2017. Here are trends to look for this year.
Direct to consumer marketing
As e-commerce becomes increasingly popular, it will be necessary for brands to keep up with the trend. Pop up stores will become more present, allowing companies to create and market their own brand. Social media will become an important tool in direct marketing as well, based on the popularity of sites such as Facebook and Pinterest. These sites already have options in place which allow companies to directly reach consumers.
The fall of brick and mortar
Researchers predict that mall anchor stores will decrease their national footprint by at least 10%. Stores like Macy’s will continue to close, while smaller stores such as Banana Republic and Gap will slowly dwindle in numbers.
Fashion and apparel retail trends
In 2017, large e-commerce sites like Amazon will slowly take the lead in apparel sales, as smaller and boutique type stores close their doors. The shopping convenience of Amazon, coupled with its fast shipping guarantees and somewhat lax return policies make it an attractive option for busy consumers.
As the push for higher wages increases, so do technological advances. Expect more self checkout lanes at the grocery store and customer service chatbots in 2017.
Supply chain visibility
Researchers suspect that the hybrid digital/analog supply chain system will no longer work for retailers and suppliers. It’s anticipated that those who don’t “go digital” with full commitment may end up facing extinction.
Augmented reality has become so common that it’s even found on kids’ smartphone apps. Expect AR to play an increasing role in marketing and advertising, as well as basic shopping. Shoppers will soon be able to try on those jeans without leaving the living room.
Amazon, Walmart and Google have already begun using drones for delivery. It’s a sure bet that other companies will follow their lead.
The virtual marketplace
Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay generally don’t sell products of their own, they simply serve as a marketplace for others to share their goods. Expect more marketplace startups, but expect Amazon to maintain a strong lead in the race.
While multibrand retail certainly won’t disappear, it’s likely that 2017 will bring a surge of monobrand shops. Look for online monobrand growth.
Improved customer service
In the past, companies have spent resources finding ways to better the customer’s experience using technology. Researchers expect that customer service associates will have access to better tools in the very near future, enabling them to better interact with customers.