The retail environment is constantly changing as shoppers are pushing the retailers to become more flexible, and to offer prompt service.
Technology is developing, distances are shortening, and people are becoming more demanding regarding their personal comfort. We all know it, and need to adapt to it, especially if we want to keep our businesses growing.
There is still more and more pressure put on retailers. Today's customers demand flexibility, quick service, and personal attitude.
Although the whole retail business is shifting towards online channels, there is a little step back regarding the retail experience. Customers like to browse through different online stores, but in reality they prefer to touch the goods, and try them on their own.
According to a research conducted by Timetrade, 71% respondents prefer to buy a product in the store, while only 29% choose to buy the items online. The reason behind is that shoppers like to feel and touch the products before making buying decisions. So although e-commerce is trending in the retail business, consumers appreciate if they can visit the physical store as well. Following from that, your key to success is a model of an online store accompanied by a physical store to provide branded experience.
As a retailer, you should be ready to provide instant service to your customers. 85% of consumers were reported to be willing to abandon the dressing room and store, if they didn't get prompt service or advice. Today's shoppers value highly personalised attitude that will make them feel special. Treat your customers like your own family and they will stay loyal to you.
People like to search for items on the internet to find the newest versions, to choose the right attributes that fit them, and to find the best deals. But they also want to compare the virtual reality with the actual reality. As mentioned above, they want to experience the products on their own. Your customers are even willing to book an appointment with your store assistant to discuss the connection between the products and their needs. The report from Timetrade says that 59% of consumers would welcome that possibility. So, what you need to do is train your staff to be well educated about your products, so they can provide quality and useful information to your customers. It will also help you to build trust and perception of professionality.
One of the latest retail trends is influenced by Uber, which is gaining more and more popularity. Today's customers have discovered the benefits regarding convenience connected with low costs. More than half of the reported consumers prefer Uber to the traditional services.
The current biggest retail trends are:
• prompt service
• in-store shopping experience
• investment into the right POS system
• personal contact with customer
• concierge-like service
Use of Technology
The retail development is not happening only on the customer side. There are new trends within the store equipment as well. POS technology has been ranked as the top technology investment among retail decision makers, followed by investments into social selling and analytics.
Surprisingly, mobile purchasing is growing very slowly. Consumers were asked how many times they used their mobile phone to buy something. 41% of consumers responded that they made a purchase on their mobile device only 1-5 times, and 38% have never used their phones to buy something. The rest 21% have made a purchase using their phone more than 6 times. Consumers prefer to use their phones for comparing prices, searching different products, and finding the nearest store location.
Regarding the marketing initiatives, 55% of consumers are attracted to the store by special promotions displayed on retailers' websites, 49% of customers pay special attention to print ads, and 38% react to email campaigns.
Opportunities For You
Following from the current trends, there is an emphasis on personal experience and relationship between you and your customers. They expect from you to be professional, and to promptly accommodate their wishes and needs.
To make the most out of your business, try to be multi-channel. Set up a webshop along with your physical store, and vice versa. You customers will appreciate your service.