Editor's View - December 2016

What’s Ahead For Retail In 2017
By Wanda Jankowski

On Nov. 10, 2016, shopify.com featured an article titled “Retail Trends: 10 Experts Share Predictions for 2017” by Alexandra Sheehan. The predictions are really extensions of directions retail has been moving in for the past few years. Here are a few examples:

  • All media channels will work together to offer a path to purchase, from social media and mobile e-commerce to brick-and-mortar. Of course, this necessitates up-to-date software, and ample quality information on each channel to inspire brand trust and prompt purchasing decisions.

  • Brick-amd-mortar stores will become “experiential” places that strengthen emotional brand connections with consumers. Retailers need to develop ways to immerse consumers into experiencing their products. Whether it’s surprising and delighting by creating an inviting, welcoming home-like environment or an edgy, innovative space, romancing brands and promoting product interactions are key.

  • Hassle-free efficiency and convenience are not to be aspired to, but are rather becoming mainstream expectations. The demand for convenience in ordering, paying and delivery may lead to the development of more creative options to furnish personalized service and product choices to individual customers. Today, for example, note the rise of subscription services that offer curated, regular deliveries of products geared to the consumer’s personal tastes and needs, and of automatic deliveries that keep staples coming on a regular basis, eliminating the need for constant reordering.

  • Personalized service is a trend that requires more investments from retailers in data collection about their consumer customers, better-trained and better-paid sales personnal who can be more knowledgeable about products and savvy in their consumer interactions, more sophisticated sales tools that furnish up-to-date product information and buying options, and better syncing between warehouse logistics and in-store demands.

  • The demand by consumers for self-expression and the need for satisfaction of individual preferences will allow niche retailers and brands to continue to flourish. Look for smaller store footprints and more shops-within-a-shop in larger venues.

The caveat regarding any type of trend prediction is always that some businesses are more sophisticated, savvy and successful than others, so some may achieve the predicted goals, while others will lag behind. In thinking about your business goals for 2017, which side do you plan to be on?

Happy Strategizing! Happy New Year!

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