Five Current Trends in Retail

Five Current Trends in Retail

At this point, it is probably fair to argue that technology and the Internet are here to stay. Even the biggest brick and mortar retailers have realized this, and every retailer is facing more competition than ever before. In order to improve their products, service, and performance, many retailers are experimenting with dozens of different types of new technology and ideas.

While some of these new ideas aren’t resulting in a better experience for the customer, the ones that do improve the retail experience are becoming some of the hottest trends in retail today. Let’s take a closer look at five trends in retail that anyone in the industry simply can’t ignore:

Mobile! Mobile! Mobile!

If you haven’t heard about the popularity of mobile everything by now, you might be living underneath a rock! There is an app for everything today, and customers are spending more and more of their hard-earned money through their mobile devices every single year.

It wasn’t too many years ago that customers had reservations about using their credit cards online, but that notion is all but extinct in today’s mobile world. Trends like having a mobile version of your online store and accepting mobile wallet payments through services like Paypal, Google Wallet, Square Wallet, and Dwolla are such popular trends that it is almost expected from today’s customers!

More Technology in Brick and Mortar Stores

Another popular trend in today’s retail space is the use of more and more technology in our local brick and mortar stores. It used to be a new an innovative idea for retail employees to all be equipped with headsets that would allow them to communicate with each other out on the floor, but that is commonplace today.

It has also become increasingly common for retail employees to be armed with iPads filled with knowledge to better serve the customers. Your local Verizon Store employees can handle just about any request you have right from their iPads, and the right inventory system could help you answer customer questions about what you have in stock and where it might be!

Rewards Programs

Customer loyalty is everything in the retail world, and with today’s technology those customer loyalty programs are able to personalize the shopping experience and rewards incentives for your best customers. Today’s advanced rewards programs are tracking what customers are buying and then providing rewards incentives based on individual behaviors.

Many retail stores are also implementing a social media aspect to their rewards programs that encourages customers to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat about their purchases for increased rewards!

Everything Must Be Faster

Technology is making every aspect of the retail experience faster, and in order to stay competitive many businesses are being forced to improve their ability to deliver as quickly as possible. Amazon is constantly pushing the envelope in terms of fast deliveries, and their Prime members receive free two-day shipping on every order. This is forcing every online retailer to reassess and develop better shipping procedures.

In the brick and mortar stores, we are seeing more and more of a shift towards self checkouts in order to speed up the process for shoppers. Whether we are talking about checkout lines or shipping times, today’s retail consumer expects to receive their products faster than ever, and in order to compete, retailers must be able to deliver in a hurry!

Experienced Focus Shopping

One of the most interesting trends in both online and brick and mortar retail is the shift towards making shopping there into an experience. Rather than simply listing products for sale like many of the original online retailers did, today’s trendy retailers are filling their sites with an enormous amount of content designed to educate and inspire the customer.

The same idea is now showing up in various brick and mortar stores. Have you noticed the lack of actual products for sale in an Apple Store, or the way that the Niketown stores in New York, Boston, and Chicago surround you with screens and inspirational quotes in a way that makes you feel more athletic? These types of stores are actually enjoyable places to shop, which is a far cry from the local computer or sporting goods store from ten years ago.

The retail industry is constantly growing and evolving in an effort to better serve the customer. While many of the newest trends will require heavy investments in technology and infrastructure, they are going to be absolute requirements if you want to remain competitive with the leading retailers today.

 

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141125175030-25701104-five-current-trends-in-retail?trk=prof-post

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