As any new year, 2016 also brings the outlook that change is coming and we will witness the death and birth of numerous retail trends within this period.
Forrester Research Inc. had predicted that ecommerce shoppers will end up spending $327 billion in 2016, up from $202 billion in 2011. All channels of communication would come together to complete one single, smooth experience of online shopping, and that is why these channels need to be tightly integrated.
While 2016 is paving way for retailers to capture a new share in the retail market, it also poses a risk of losing their existing share to those who are executing more effective strategies.
Every year, retailers spend sharpening their skills to deliver exceptional shopping experience. But, just when they had start assuming that they know their consumers, emerging trends throw a curveball.
The holiday season in the later half of 2015 clearly shows major shifts in the consumer buying patterns. Increased rates of shopping online, along with the growth of off-price retailing are the prime trends.
So, here are 3 retail trends that retailers can leverage in 2016 in place of those that will die.
Trend To Shun #1 – Old Payment Terminals
Jon Worley, CEO of the proximity marketing division at Proxama asserts, “We are quickly nearing a point where mobile technology will offer retailers a medium that will assist in creation of a perfect harmony between payments, loyalty, marketing and advertising.”
Mobile and EMV payments had been on a rise until the end of 2015. However, with the emerging security concerns and compliance, retailers are thinking of newer payment options.
Trend To Adopt – Modern Tech-driven Payment Terminals
Mobile devices are increasingly becoming a prime part of online shopping or in-store. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons, NFC, and QR codes are the most recent proximity technologies available for retailers. These technologies provide an opportunity to engage with customers via their smartphones.
A 2014 study by Swirl Networks Inc. shows that 73% of consumers accepted that beacon campaigns increased the possibility of purchase during their visit to a store.
PayPal’s Card Reader, as seen in the image below, is one of the best ways to make online payments. The device is compatible with both iOS as well as Android. It accepts all magnetic stripe, credit and debit cards.
PayPal’s Card Reader, for consumers, can be purchased from the PayPal webstore. The card reader is easy to use and easily plugs into the audio jack of your mobile phone or tablet. What more, it is small enough to fit in your pocket and carry anywhere you go.
Trend To Shun #2 – Slow Order Fulfillment
Your groceries and utilities are over and you need to make a run to the supermarket to replenish your stock. And that’s when long queues of customers waiting at the counter makes you drop the idea. It’s much better to shop online, you feel.
So, you take out your laptop, add everything you need into your cart, and proceed to make payment. But wait where’s your card? It’s missing from your wallet. Luckily, you find it in time and pay for the supplies.
Isn’t that your weekly and monthly hassle? It’s painful having to enter your card details every time you place an order.
It is important to let customers shop and browse on their own terms, enabling them to get their hands on their purchases in any way and at any time they want. However, slow or limited order fulfillment diminishes the shopping experience and decreases sales. This is why retailers need to provide them with more flexibility.
Trend To Adopt – Frictionless Shopping
Frictionless shopping for consumers will be seen as the main objective of many companies in retail. Signs that this is happening can already be seen on Amazon with Dash Buttons.
Amazon’s Dash Button is a Wi-Fi connected device that places a repeat order of your favorite items with the press of a button. To use the Dash Button, the customer needs to have the Amazon Prime account.
The Dash Button Order Protection will not allow a new order to be placed, until shipment of previous order is completed, or unless the customer explicitly expresses a desire to place multiple orders.
Trend To Shun #3- Single-Channel Shopping
Till 2015, online stores threatened to eradicate the physical store experience. However, the year 2016 brings a welcoming change.
Consumers are seen to be unhappy shopping via only a single-channel be it online stores or physical stores. Retailers and brands cannot make strategic decisions for any one channel without considering their fight on other channels.
The number of people with access to multiple retail channels is growing at an explosive rate, which is appreciated by the ‘channel-hopping’ customers. These people use the online and offline channels alike. With 86% of shoppers around the world shopping on at least 2 channels, channel-hopping is a reality retailers and brands will have to accept.
Trend To Adopt – Omni-Channel Shopping experience
Multichannel retailing or Omnichannel retailing is the use of a variety of media in a customer’s shopping experience inclusive of research before a purchase. Such channels include online stores, physical outlets, mobile app stores, telephone sales and other method of transacting with the customer.
Hence, the ease of being able to purchase anything, from anywhere, virtually, at any time is a powerful stimulus for the customer. It further breaks down with tradition in terms of product availability and location.
Social media has been playing a major role in the purchase journey of a customer for some time and the trend will continue to do so in 2016 and beyond. It is anticipated that more retailers will adopt social selling solutions, especially through Instagram and YouTube.
Consumers are also reviving the trend of making purchases from brick-and-mortar stores, which is the reason why many online stores like Amazon have started their physical stores.
The image below illustrates how top Instagram stores work.
Business owners, professionals, and experts expect 2016 to be a year ripe with opportunity, yet also teeming with new obstacles to overcome. Consumers are coming in with a renewed sense of inspiration and ingenuity, striving for a better quality of life, more motivated to make the world a better place.
These 3 retail trends mentioned above, both dying and upcoming ones, for the year 2016 will present the need for new directives for multi-channel retailers, including a wide product assortment, low prices and rapid deliveries.
All in all, 2016 promises to be the year of unified commerce — a year where multiple retail channels will work with each other to provide users a seamless, friction-proof shopping experience.