Over the past 6 years, notwithstanding the turbulent global economic tides, the retail industry has been relatively resilient in maintaining single-digit percentage growth, despite the overall global decrease in consumer confidence. According to a report done by Retailnext, 94% of retail sales are still done at brick and mortar level rather than online. This shows that consumers still choose the in-store experience over online shopping and despite adopting slightly more modest spending behaviour, consumers remained steadfast with their in-store visits, proving that there is therapy in retail.
2016 was marked by the rise of mobile e-commerce, virtual/augmented reality, experiential shopping and of course the surge in the “treat yourself” phenomenon.
As we take our first steps into 2017, there are a number of consumer trends that have been earmarked to significantly influence the retail landscape. Looking at the various trends there are two overarching consumer needs that will dictate their choice of retailers:
- Give me great-quality, consistent experience
It was once assumed that the fast-paced, stressful working environment meant that the consumer was only looking for a quick solution to their consumption. This is no longer the case, according to Nielsen, the consumer has become more complex and not only want their basic needs met, but the store has now become a platform that serves to satisfy the consumer’s desire for instant gratification.This means that stores need to provide the consumer with the kind of service quality they feel is due to them as well as an exceptional instore experience not just an assembly-line checkout. This is being seen across all store formats.
- More innovation & technology to simplify my life
Technology has changed the face of the retail industry over the past couple of years. It has become less than just about simply owning the latest craze in hardware and more about providing a solution that enables superior automation, efficiency and experience. In response to this, technology in the retail industry will be positioned to drive innovation whilst resolving a number of customer pain points, elevate customer service, and create a differentiated, personalised customer experience. Technology is no longer supplemental to the shopping experience, it is fundamental.
The year ahead, much like 2016, holds a significant amount of uncertainty. Retailers will be expected to offer consistent quality service, innovation, convenience and exceptional experiences as well.
For more information on elevating retail and shopper experiences that deliver on consumers’ needs contact us.