Brick and mortar retail is in the midst of reinventing itself due to years of advancements in online shopping that has forever changed the industry. Consumers are moving more and more to shopping with online services like Amazon, and many are skipping the drive to the brick and mortar store altogether and primarily using online services for purchases that they used to make in malls and shopping centers.
In order to compete and stay relevant, retail companies have to create new and innovative ideas in order to attract shoppers back to their stores. Here are some of the trends we are watching in 2017 that will sure to impact the retail shopping experience.
Retailers will tailor a destination experience for shoppers
Shoppers are weighing the convenience of online or mobile shopping with the time and effort it takes to drive to the store. Look for retailers to change the shopping experience altogether by incorporating other related events, experiences, training, or contests to get customers back into the store. Often called experiential retail, the idea is to create a “reason” for consumers to “want” to shop in the store —a better-rounded shopping (or destination) experience.
The stores that have been able to use this approach effectively have gained many new customers, as well as keeping their current retail shoppers happy. Lululemon, the popular athletic wear brand, often offers free yoga classes. Williams and Sonoma, the world-renowned kitchen and home goods retailer, is known to offer cooking classes and cookbook signings. These are just a few examples.
Mobile payment and mobile shopping will become more ubiquitous
Consumers are using their mobile device over four hours per day, and will likely have it with them when they go shopping at the store. As such, retailers are starting to use more mobile payment and shopping options, even in the store. Retailers win when shoppers can use their devices to have a more convenient and efficient shopping experience.
Amazon’s new “Go” concept, where shoppers can exit the store without standing in line at the checkout, is perhaps the most innovative example of mobile payment options making the in-store experience more convenient.
On-demand shopping will create smaller retail footprints
The idea of on demand shopping is new to the retail industry compared to many other areas of logistics and warehousing. In the past, retailers have had to rely on large shipments of items in order to have adequate supplies in their stock rooms for the season, or at least a few weeks.
New automated technologies and logistical supply options have allowed retailers to resupply their stock at a moment’s notice. This means they need less real estate space for storage and inventory supplies, and can reduce their overall footprint of their retail space.
The advantage to shoppers is that they can get the exact item they want in less time, and also avoid finding the item out of stock for long periods of time.
Free Wi-Fi will complete the shopping experience
Many commercial real estate buildings —from shopping centers to hotels and airports— are offering free Wi-Fi services as an amenity. However, Wi-Fi marketing (the ability to now present offers, incentives and news to those using the service) is quickly becoming a go-to tool in making the customer’s shopping experience more complete.
This direct line of communication with the shopper is invaluable to the retailer, and services like SocialSign.In are making it easier than ever before to execute.
What are the retail trends that you’re watching for 2017? We’d love to hear your thoughts!