The future of Retail: What's next?
Despite the alarming headlines recently, the retail industry is growing. “In the three months to September 2018, the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 1.2% when compared with the previous three months.” Source. It’s no secret that retailers are facing rising challenges, so it’s important, now more than ever, to understand consumer trends and innovate to meet their needs and create a increasing competitive advantage over their competition.
The debate between whether shoppers prefer high street or online shopping is still ongoing. Our Twitter followers gave us an insight on how they prefer to shop:
It’s clear that shopping online is the favoured way to shop, probably due to convenience, more variety, better prices and no crowds! However, 56% of consumers say they like to have an element of high street shopping involved within their purchase cycle, whether that’s to buy or to engage with the customer experience in store.
There are still plenty of reasons why consumers enjoy their shopping experience more by visitng a ‘brick-and-mortar’ retailer:
- They like to try and test the product
- Consumers can take items home immediately
- Items can be returned easily
- It’s an experience
What’s going to happen in the future?
It’s not just consumers that are having an effect on high street stores. There are many pressures stemming from other sources that are having a detrimental effect on the retail industry and company profit:
How are retailers going to innovate?
Innovation is key to survival, but how are retailers strategically investing in new and innovative retail technology?
Using cash to buy a product is decreasing rapidly, making way for newer, quicker ways to make a payment. Apple pay, banking apps and, in the very near future, biometric payments will replace cash all together.
Less high street stores
Occupying many of the headlines this year are the amount of store closures. “The first half of 2018 saw 4,400 net closures across the UK high street” Source. With increasing rent, overheads and wages, it’s an obvious decision to close poor performing stores.
More focus on online shopping
Considering the growing rate of online sales (currently at 18% of all retailing), businesses are looking to drive traffic to their ecommerce website and improve their online presence through Social Media, influencer marketing, online advertising etc.
The norm for delivery is currently 2 – 4 days. However, large retail giants such as Amazon are looking to decrease this time to as little as 30 minutes with drone delivery!
The conventional retail store will need to be reimagined to be successful in the future. Experts say that experimenting with AI, AR and VR will elevate the experience of the consumer.
Even though the retail industry is evolving, high street retail is still going to play a large part in the consumer purchase decision process and will be a necessary part of all retailers strategies in the future.
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