Retail in 2018 saw the rise of customer’s shopping at pop-ups, utilizing artificial intelligence, and sometime both at the same time. With 2019 just beginning it’s become apparent that retailers have began to incorporate technology into their practices to better serve customers. However retailers in the coming year will see many trends not only involving technology, but community as well. Here are some trends in 2019 that are sure to elevate the retail experience (for businesses and customers alike).
Keep It Sustainable
A few years ago countries around the world made retailers charge customers if they wanted a plastic bag to carry their purchase home. Although the charge is only a few cents, it made consumers reconsider the environmental impact their shopping habits had. Thus saw the rise in everyone making reusable tote bags a fashion staple. In 2019 retailers should be more aware of how their goods and packaging impact the environment, because it weighs heavily on consumers minds. Some companies are boasting packaging made from reusable or recyclable materials (or sometimes none at all). Beyond that, retailers are also opting to go paperless. Switching to paper receipts sent by email can reduce paper waste and also bolster sales (by including discounts or upcoming sales in the receipt email). Scheduling employees and their pay statements can all be done paperfree as well, so you can go eco-friendly behind the scenes as well.
Loyalty programs have become a favourite amongst shoppers because it makes them feel like they’re getting a little more out of the experience. Loyalty programs have been around for quite some time in the form of points programs, but the rise of ecommerce has seen retailers go above and beyond for loyal customers. For customers that have racked up a lot points or repeat purchases, include a custom name badge to make customers feel like they’re an important part of your business. Free samples for products that are commonly sold together also go a long way with shoppers because they can encourage social media shares and even mean more lucrative orders in the future.
Be Totally Customizable
Letting customers customize the good or service you offer is a trend that’s sure to expand exponentially in 2019. Being totally customizable lets consumers feel as though they are getting exactly what it is they want, and are more likely to seek a retailers that offers this instead of one that doesn’t. For example, StickerYou customized printed patches allows the customer to not only decide on the image on their patch, but the size, shape, and even the colour of the embroidered colour as well. Many furniture chains are also allowing customers to customize fabrics and finishing so pieces look impeccably perfect in their space.
Integrated technology is going to play a huge role for retailers in 2019 because of its consistent functionality within retail environments. Apps that allow customers to buy online and pickup in store have become vital components of the retail experience. However lots of apps are going even further by informing customers which area of the store they can find something and even how much of that thing they have in stock, or plan on getting in stock in the future. Beyond that, retailers are also utilizing technology to help customers see their purchases in real time. By using artificial intelligence, many retailers are using apps that allow customers to upload a photo a room in their house for example, and digitally see how a furniture retailers pieces will look in it. Retail for 2019 is ultimately about superb communication and being as user friendly as possible to benefit both the producer and consumer alike.