In the course of day-to-day business, it’s easy to get focused on tasks at hand and lose sight of the big picture. Savvy retailers, however, pause to take stock of the state of retail and keep an eye on industry trends to ensure their operations are best positioned for success.
Here are four can’t-miss insights from an evaluation of the state of retail in 2017 that can help you navigate on the path to success:
1. Consumers Demand Transparency
Whether the details of how products were manufactured or your commitment to social responsibility, today’s consumer demands more transparency than ever before. This is especially true of millennial customers, many of whom would rather patronize socially conscious merchants than luxury retailers that aren’t forthcoming with product origins or green initiatives. Retailers that embrace the same values as their customers can cultivate strong brand loyalty.
2. Independent Retailers Take Hold
The state of retail today is also characterized by the growth of independent retailers that fill a specific niche. Consumers are choosing to shop in smaller stores that cater to their individual needs and whose owners and employees demonstrate a deep understanding of their preferences. This preference for unique, personalized service — as well as a smaller store footprint — is expected to grow stronger throughout 2017 and beyond.
3. Must-Have Mobile
With consumers starting their transactions on one device and completing them on another or in-store, mobile technology is no longer a “nice-to-have.” Because more and more consumers are making their smartphones part of their shopping journey, it’s critical to equip your staff with handheld tablets in order to combat showrooming. This will empower staff to enhance the customers’ experience through methods such as line busting, price matching, and immediate access to additional product information, and inventory knowledge. These methods will allow your staff to engage in more effective suggestive selling and upselling as well as ensure that the service each customer receives is top rate, increasing the chance that each customer will return to the store.
4. A Wealth of Data
Retailers have long focused on basic customer demographic data, such as age or gender, to target promotions. However, a look at the state of retail in 2017 reveals retailers are collecting and leveraging data pertaining to customers’ shopping habits, spending patterns, hobbies, interests, and more. Gaining an understanding of these, along with insight into customers’ shopping behaviors and preferences through data analysis will be instrumental in retailers’ success. This intelligence helps retailers better segment customers, create more appropriately targeted offers, personalize messaging, and find viable opportunities for growth.
Keeping an eye on the ever-changing state of retail is imperative as you manage your store today and plan for the future. Tune in on what shoppers want as retail becomes increasing customer-centric and be aware of technological advances that are shaping the retail ecosystem. Make sure you have every advantage to stay competitive and profitable.