Predicting Retail Trends For 2017

01.04.2017
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The state of retail seems to always be in motion. As the preferences and habits of consumers continue to change to meet new technology and trends, retailers must keep up. For example, the increasing popularity of online shopping has been an ongoing struggle for many brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with. Rather than staying stagnant, leading retailers have continued to adapt their in-store environments to meet the wishes of consumers.

As we transition into the New Year, retailers are once again looking to cater to the latest and greatest trends within the industry. What will some of those trends be in 2017? How can you adjust your physical retail environment in a way that will draw in new customers? Find out below:

Remarkable In-Store Experiences Are Necessary

According to the latest reports from Thanksgiving & Black Friday shopping in 2016, the gap between online shoppers and in-store shoppers is widening, with the Internet having a clear advantage. Every year, the ease and convenience of shopping online becomes more apparent and a return to the glory days of in-store shopping is not a reality. In order to justify a trip to the store, retailers must be able to provide a unique experience that consumers can’t find online.

As you may have noticed this holiday season, Virtual Reality (VR) seems to be the hottest craze on the market. Will it continue to go mainstream in 2017 and the years to come? Probably. Will retailers use this technology to sell products and improve their in-store experiences? They should. According to one report, 80% of Generation Z consumers in the U.S. are more likely to visit physical stores that offer entertainment.

However, VR isn’t the only form of entertainment retailers can offer. Augmented reality and other interactive demonstrations will be highly appealing to shoppers in 2017, specifically Millennials and Gen Z’ers. Fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff is already experimenting with interactive dressing rooms that offer adjustable lighting and touch screens. In 2017 and beyond, retailers must demonstrate a forward-thinking approach when it comes to interactive in-store experiences.

In-Store Mobile Options Will Blow Up

No one leaves the house without their smartphone by their side anymore – so why wouldn’t brick-and-mortar retailers offer more integration between mobile phones and in-store shopping experiences? Many retailers are already starting to do so and like online shopping, this trend will continue to be adopted with mobile payment options leading the way.

With the percentage of mobile users who made a mobile payment in-store up from 14% in 2014 to 39% in 2015, it makes sense that this trend will continue upward. But how rapidly? TechCrunch estimates that this percentage could eclipse 70% in 2017, with over $60 billion in mobile payment sales. Whether it’s mobile POS systems, custom mobile payment apps or third-party options (Apple Pay), expect more retailers and consumers to utilize mobile payments in 2017.

Aside from payment options, there are countless other ways retailers are experimenting with letting customers use mobile devices while in stores. Crate and Barrel is running a pilot program that provides tablets for customers to use while in-store so they can scan barcodes and add items to their wish-lists. Many small businesses are even starting to roll out loyalty apps, mobile displays and other ways for shoppers to interact using their mobile devices. With over 4.8 billion individuals estimated to use a mobile phone by the end of 2016, we don’t see this trend going anywhere but up.

Smaller, Personalized Stores Will Have a Leg Up

Convenience and accessibility are currently major consumer preferences. Right now, shoppers are used to being able to shop online and conveniently have their items delivered. Because of this preference, big box stores and department stores where consumers used to wander the aisles for hours are on the way out. Don’t believe it? Target and IKEA are already announcing strategies that will include smaller, more personalized stores.

Another noticeable preference of the modern-day consumer is the desire for personalization. In fact, “56% of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer in store or online that recognizes them by name,” according to this study. In 2017, expect major retailers to begin focusing more on the specific wants and needs of their customers. This will play out through more loyalty programs, smaller stores and a push to collect more data.

Naturally, it would seem as though specialty stores already have a leg up on general retailers. Department stores aren’t going anywhere yet, but be on the lookout for smaller stores with better in-store experiences, trendier products, better prices and more personalized services to have success in 2017.

At BDSmktg, our mission is to spread your brand’s enthusiasm and connect your products with your target audience in the most cutting-edge ways. Contact us here for custom solutions that will keep you ahead of the competition in 2017.