The world of retail is undoubtedly evolving. Modern customers expect instant gratification, new experiences, and personalization in retail. Given the ample options available to customers today, retail stores are forced to either comply with customers’ requirements or shut-shop. Savvy retailers are constantly keeping track of the current retail trends and quickly pioneering changes, prompting others to adapt or be left behind. What companies need to understand is the fact that today purchasing a product is less of a chore for consumers and more about the experience that they gain. If they are able to create a long-lasting experience in the customers’ mind, then ‘cha-ching’ that’s a sale and a loyal customer right there.
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Let’s take a look at the latest retail trends:
Re-designing Retail Stores
As mentioned earlier, one of the most important retail trends at present is to create enhanced customer experiences rather than merely engage in buying and selling of commodities.Retailers are investing heavily in new and innovative real-estate and in-store strategies that would result in unique experiential moments for their customers. Such retail trends give customers a reason to visit stores beyond merely buying products and engage in building a connection with the brand. For instance, the popular personal care brand Sephora has unleashed Sephora studio, which is a small-format neighborhood concept that features custom makeover services, sampling opportunities, facials, and same-day pickup of online orders.
Augmented reality has been an on-going part of the retail trends list for quite some time now. But with each passing year, retail stores are finding new ways to infuse this technology into their business. AR technology has gradually moved from in-store to mobile platforms. For instance, Lowes integrated this technology into their mobile app recently. This was done as a way to help customers locate products quickly in their retail stores using turn-by-turn directions.
Customers are more likely to stick to a brand that correctly identifies and caters to their needs. Innovative companies are starting to use predictive modeling, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to predict customer behavior and generate right-on-target messaging and product recommendations. For instance, YOOX NET-A-PORTER is an online luxury retailer that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to personalize the shopping page based on the customer’s future plans such as a vacation, wedding, or a party.
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Customer-controlled Delivery and Return
Today’s customers are quite adamant in their choices. They want products that suit their exact specifications, within a particular time frame, and in a location of their convenience. Smart movers in the retail industry are heeding to such retail trends and putting control in the customers’ hands. For example, Target is planning to expand their new format TeargetExpress in the years to come. This format involves their buy-online-pick-up-in-store services.