What’s Next for Retail in 2018?
In 2017, the biggest trends were in technology and how they can help your business grow. For 2018, successful retailers will continue to concentrate on technology in order to adapt quickly to changes in the market and develop a better customer experience.
As you’ll see, our list of emerging trends in retailing for 2018 has lots of new and interesting insights for the coming year. We also have some suggestions on how you can adopt these trends into your everyday operations with little or no disruption. The difference for 2018 focuses on details and execution.
Data Driven Decisions
Point of sale analytics are integral to the success of every retail business. Going beyond simple sales reporting, point of sale analytics can tell you more about your business than ever before. You’ll know what customers want, when they want it and if it’s making you money.
This is your most powerful tool when forecasting. Better forecasting means better cash flow.
Many retailers fail to use all of the functions that their point of sale system has to offer. Many of these functions perform daily tasks, such as purchase orders, sales reports, and rewards programs. Taking full advantage of these functions can save you time and money.
Learn how to get the most out of your POS system.
Focus on Returns
On average, brick and mortar stores experience fewer returns (less than 10%) than the 30% average for online sales. Online purchases often experience problems during delivery and fail to meet customer’s expectations. In another survey, 56% of shoppers wanted a hassle-free return policy.
Making returns quick and painless gives customers a better experience. Plus, it builds trust because you are willing to go the extra mile to make them happy. Examine your returns policy and process with the customer in mind. Try to streamline it as much as possible, then rehearse it with your staff.
Brick and Mortar
Sure, online sales are growing year-after-year, but brick and mortar stores still dominate. The trend toward online purchasing will continue to grow, which forces physical stores to adapt. One way to do this is to make visiting your store an experience—one that’s personal and memorable.
Make each customer feel special. Apple has made their stores resemble communities, where people can hangout. Think of ways how you can do the same for your customers.
Digital + Physical Environments
Major retailers, Lowes and IKEA, are testing augmented and virtual reality devices to improve their customer experience. They have found a way to integrate the physical and digital worlds, making it easier for customers to get quick answers to their questions, as well as quickly find what they are looking for.
Technology can be an expensive investment, so take the time to learn about what your customers use most. Then, you can incorporate it in your store to build immersive experiences.
The key to 2018 will be excellence in service. Making a lasting impression will leave customers with a memorable experience. Retailers need to continue to develop great customer experiences that exceed expectations, so their will do more than just come back to your store—they’ll tell their friends.