2018 has been an eventful year for the retail industry with a lot of challenging headlines being released. However, there has also been plenty of positive activity which should be celebrated! There have been new developments underway, international brands launching a physical presence in the UK and current stores expanding their portfolio further.
To tackle the challenges coming from political uncertainty, rising e-commerce sales and the shift in consumer demographics, attitudes and preferences, shopping centre managers and retailers need to be introducing new, savvy strategies to engage and delight shoppers to keep footfall and sales high – eradicating the negative headlines!
2019 will be another year of development for the industry, with plenty of new initiatives to meet consumer expectations and truly transform and enhance the experience further. Some key trends include:
There are plenty of technological developments transforming the retail landscape. Mobile devices, in particular, are offering a whole host of opportunities including beacons, augmented reality, mobile payment, and product information.
Consumers are placing a higher importance on corporate responsibility and social consciousness when choosing a brand to shop with. This is forcing brands to change strategies to create an image and reputation that matches consumer values in order to retain existing and attract new customers.
The power of social media cannot be overlooked. Over the last decade, year on year the number of active users on social media has increased considerably. In 2018 it was reported that 83% of the population are active on social media and this is often daily. The power of advertising on these channels is significant; utilising celebrities or bloggers that have a considerable following can have a major influence on sales and brand engagement.
Consumers want – and expect – their experience to be convenient, this is everything from the car park, to queue times to the tenant mix.
When it comes to e-commerce, consumers are demanding more. Consumers want to be able to shop online on any device and on any platform: it is crucial websites are mobile friendly and have the capacity to deal with a mass audience.
Consumers don’t want to re-type in all their details when ordering online. The demand for one-click payments – wherever they are in contact with the brand which is starting to include social media payments – is becoming increasingly sought after and ultimately, the expectation from consumers.
Consumers will no longer accept long shipping times, in 2018 we’ve seen brands launch same day delivery which is expected to spread further throughout 2019. The rise in online shopping and the demand for faster delivery is clearly a growing trend shown by the steep increase in demand for warehouse and distribution centres.
This is not a new trend, but the importance of enhancing the experience is only growing. Exceptional customer service, integrating new technologies, events, promotions, personal shoppers, speed and innovative store layouts are all expected.
A multi-channel presence is the norm; website, social media, marketplaces and bricks and mortar are all required to ensure consumers can engage with a brand in the way that suits them. It is vital the messaging, experience and quality is consistent across all channels!
Data and knowledge
Retailers have a better understanding of consumers than ever before, allowing all communication and marketing strategies to be personalised. Consumers don’t want to answer surveys or give additional information, and they don’t have to – data allows behaviour and preference to be tracked.
Marketing promotions can be implemented based on searches and likes on social media, discounts and promotions can be targeted related to previous purchases and enticing messages can be sent when consumers are nearby stores to lure them in. In addition to this, subscription shopping is becoming more popular where retailers send personal and customised products monthly!
The retail world is changing rapidly to become much more convenient and almost automated for shoppers. Going shopping is not about making a purchase, it’s about visiting a destination and enjoying a unique experience!