5 Retail Trends for 2019

  1. Experiential Marketing

The ‘experiential’ retail trend is not new, but throughout 2019 this trend will only grow. Marketing teams will continue to market brands based around the experience, not just the products. This can be anything from the tenant mix, events, commercialisation units, seasonal campaigns, celebrity visits or limited offers to enjoy.

Marketing teams have the up-hill challenge of getting consumers off their computers and mobile phones and into shopping centres. The e-commerce market has been growing at a considerable pace – and continues to do so – so for shopping centres to gain high levels of footfall, marketing teams need successfully promote the experiences available, which online can’t compete with!

  1. Chatbots

Retail is the second most popular industry to use Facebook’s messaging platform and with the growing usage of social media, this can only be expected to increase.

People communicate with friends and family via digital messages daily and now expect to do this with businesses – a massive opportunity for the retail industry! Retailers and shopping centres can utilise messaging apps and chatbots to build relationships and connect with consumers on a personal level; improving customer service.

Messenger chatbots are already used by a whole host of retailers including Tommy Hilfiger, Very and H&M to name a few, and is expected to be the future ‘norm’ of consumer conversations. Chatbots have been cleverly developed to deliver quick and personalised responses by picking up keywords within messages: they are easy to use, allow businesses to react fast to consumers requests, save time and are becoming the favoured way of communicating by a wide demographic.

  1. Augmented Reality

Connecting the digital and physical world is a key objective within the retail sector.

Augmented reality is delivering a new, digital experience in-store (and online), allowing consumers to virtually try on accessories, shoes and garments in seconds.

Technology is evolving, and consumers are gravitating towards brands that are tech savvy and can deliver an exciting new experience. Augmented reality is a brilliant way to create a unique experience that will increase engagement, attract new audiences, and deliver lasting memories, which hopefully, consumers will share with friends and family – increasing future footfall.

  1. Involving Consumers on Social Media

Social media is developing and platforms are allowing advanced interactions with consumers such as; live streaming, Q & A’s and shopping without leaving the app.

Social media campaigns are a fantastic way of building loyal customers and generating engagement. Some examples include:

  • A live screen in the shopping centre where consumers can share photos
  • Hashtag competitions: asking consumers to tag themselves with a recent purchase or while dining – often to win a prize
  • Using Instagram to answer consumer’s questions live

There are plenty of opportunities to reap rewards from social media and it is up to savvy marketing professionals to utilse these free platforms to gain higher footfall, better engaged and loyal customers, and increased spending.

  1. Micro-influencers

A growing trend across the retail sector is micro-influencers. The number of followers to qualify as a micro-influencer is hard to specify, it could be anything from 5,000 to 500,000 followers. But what is important, is how engaged and connected their audience is.

The great thing about using a micro-influencer is they have built a small – but still significant – dedicated following who are genuinely interested in their recommendations. They are often normal, everyday people who have a strong passion or interest for a niche.

Marketing teams may need to source a group of influencers to see results due to the relatively low following of each individual. However, working with multiple influencers will still avoid significant costs of those incurred if a celebrity or a ‘macro-influencer’ was selected.

In addition to saving costs, micro-influencers often have a much more engaged network of followers than some macro influencers as their ‘normality’ makes them relatable and trustworthy.

There are plenty of influencer strategies that could be implemented such as:

  • Simply asking them to visit and post about their experience
  • Allow them to take over the shopping centre social media accounts for a day
  • Give them a budget to do a shopping haul and post a video of their purchases
  • Give them a discount code to share with their followers to drive footfall
  • Conduct a ‘like & share’ competition from the brand via their account to gain more followers

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