Consumer buying habits have changed, the shopping game has evolved, and 2017 shows no signs of that slowing down. We have researched, researched, and done more research to provide you the predicted retail trends, along with tips to help you propel your business forward this year. 

Retail Tips and Trends for 2017:

Stores providing unique in store experiences will flourish

The king of 2017? The retailers who take the shopping experience to the next level. After all, what better way to get people to remember you by than giving them an experience they can’t get anywhere else.

Even in a world that demands an online presence, a report by L2 suggests that almost 75% of online shoppers still prefer an in-store experience when making a purchasing decision.

This means retailers must offer more than just the typical sales service. There needs to be something in place that not only gets people talking about you, but remembering you and remaining loyal to you.

Some ways companies are bringing unique in store experiences to delight their customers is by bringing the amenities of the digital world into their brick and mortar store.

Some of the biggest, and most popular examples include:

  • Ralph Lauren shaking up the fitting room experience by incorporating interactive mirrors. Watch here
  • IKEA launching a virtual reality app that lets customers customize different kitchens, living rooms, and more. Watch here
  • Crate + Barrel, a homeware store, provided customers the chance to shop around with tablets. Customers then used these tablets to snap pictures of products to discover more information, add to their virtual cart, or even call a sales associate to help or retrieve products.

Interactive tablet shopping experience

There is no doubt that all three of these examples delighted customers and got them talking to their friends about their unique experience or even prompted them to share it on social media.

But regardless of the outcome, a unique in store experiences gets you remembered, and you should not be surprised if you see more retailers invest in similar affairs this year.

Mobile Payment Solutions will become a every day thing 

If you haven’t adopted to mobile payment solutions, now is the time to do so. According to TechCrunch, about 70% of users will make a mobile payment in 2017, which will total up to over $60 billion in sales. Need any more convincing? Well I hope not, because mobile payments will reach $503 billion by 2020. So if you haven’t guessed it by now, mobile payment systems are a way of the immediate future. These statistics show us a pretty clear picture of where the retail industry is heading and at least for now, companies that don’t implement a mobile payment system risk losing out on all of those sales, and all of that money.

If you are interested in implementing a mobile payment system, here are some of the most popular systems to give you a starting point:

Mobile payment

Personalized shopping experiences will become a must

Personalized shopping has been around for years now, which is why most of the tactics used are no longer effective. In 2017, retailers must find new ways to elevate and personalize the shopping experience for customers. A recent study by Accenture Interactive shows that almost 60% of people would rather shop at a retailer that knows them by name and personalizes their experience.
Some ways to help personalize the shopping experience for your customers:

  • Track consumer data to track preferences to then target specific offerings
  • Offer multiple channels for your customers to look through, review, and purchase products
  • Personalized coupons and loyalty programs
  • Personalized emails and follow ups

Smaller stores are in, larger stores are out

We have all heard the saying “less is more”, and when it comes to store size, that is how it’s going to be in 2017. Over the last year or two, we have already started to see this shift, as retail giants like Target, Walmart and Ikea are starting to close their large stores and invest in smaller ones.

But why? Consumer behaviour has everything to do with this change. People no longer want to walk around aimlessly in a big beautiful box store. Instead they want to be in and out, so they can do more things with their valuable time. The reason for this change is due to the growing convenience and accessibility of online shopping. When consumers can buy anything they desire online with a click of a button, from the comfort of their couch, it eliminates the hassle of visiting a physical location. Not only will smaller stores be the trend for 2017 and satisfy customers preferences, but they will be on the rise and start pushing out bigger box stores. For 2017, smaller is in, and larger is out.

Ominchannel solutions will continue to grow

If you aren’t already aware, omnichannel is the new standard.

Need a refresher on what omnichannel is? In simplest terms, omnichannel means to deliver a consistent, and seamless experience across all channels. It means having your website reflect what your store looks like, or having your social media accounts reflect your brands overall image. It is a strategy that is meant to give users a seamless, consistent experience, and allow them complete freedom to browse and purchase products from any platform.

It hasn’t been too long since world famous brands like Domino’s allowed customers to order food by sending them a Facebook message, or since Starbucks allowed users to order straight from their mobile app and pick it up in store.

Wouldn’t your customers love purchasing your products like this?

Starbucks mobile order

Image Source: 

These benchmark examples perfectly define an omnichannel strategy. Domino’s and Starbucks catered to their customers, and provided them with the accessibility and ease of ordering from any platform.

This is a trend that is not only growing day by day, but will soon be the difference between a retailer that succeeds, and one that fails.

Retail and technology will form an inseparable relationship

If retailers want to provide the best possible experience for customers, they are going to have to integrate technology even further into their business. With the dependance on technology in our every day lives, it’s no surprise that physical retailers are losing foot traffic to the digital world. But what if there was a way to use technology to drive customers back into your store? Like some of the examples above, technology will raise the stake for retailers and help them create unique in store experiences by offering things users cannot experience on the web. Apart from interactive components in stores, technology will also allow retailers to take their tracking methods to new heights. 2017 will let retailers take a deeper dive into customer preferences, tracking data, and develop new ways to evolve the typical shopping experience. Technology isn’t going anywhere, so embrace it and use it to your advantage.

Check out the top 5 ways you can use technology to upgrade your retail store in 2017.

Summary – What Your Retail Business Needs to do to Succeed in 2017:

  • Provide a unique in-store experience that your customers will love and your competitors will hate
  • Adapt to new payment solutions – Mobile payment systems are almost a must and will give your business the advantage to get ahead.
  • Personalize the shopping experience – What are you going to do to make sure your customers keep coming back?
  • Embrace your small space – Smaller stores are on the rise, and are what customers prefer, take advantage!
  • Omnichannel is a game changer – Develop strategies that will allow your customers to find and purchase your products on every channel you’re present on, it will only help make their lives easier and your business richer.
  • Use technology to your advantage to help bring customers in and make the overall shopping experience a better one.

Want more tips and trends to help improve your business? Take a look at our Business Cheat Sheet!