The retail industry is constantly changing not only because of the new technological advances but also due to the different mindsets the new consumer generations have. We tried to find the most significant retail trends that are going to dominate 2019 and beyond, researching various sources. Let us start:
Sustainable & Caring Retail
Since 2018 there is a movement towards changing conservative and hazardous business practices. Numerous retailers chose sustainable packaging in 2018. While, in 2019 eco-friendly practices, ethical trading and retailers helping their customers being healthier are the major trends. By giving back to people and the environment, companies not only offer to society but also boost their brand image, increase customer engagement and drive sales.
So, in 2019 we come across the adoption of sustainable and ethical business practices such as fare-trade, eco-friendly processes which are highly important for customers in 2019 and beyond. In fact, research shows that 65% of Britons under 35 will be more concerned about the environment in the next 5-10 years*. Retailers are also switching to plastic-free aisles and sustainable packaging to decrease their waste and plastic consumption. This seems to be really important for 75% of the UK shoppers who say that they’ve become more aware of the environmental impact of plastic packaging in the last 12 months*.
Another major retail trend that is going to go far is the caring retail. Supermarkets around the globe hire experts or develop apps to help their customers make healthier lifestyle choices. Especially diet-wise since the 85% of UK shoppers say that they are actively trying to improve their diet*. Caring for their customers is the smartest thing to do as retailers do not only give back to society but you also trigger consumer’s gratitude feeling. This practically means that they will return and they are more likely to become loyal.
One of the biggest challenges retailers face the last decade is the constant increase of online shopping. Consumers prefer online shopping because it’s more accessible, convenient and cheap. However, by leveraging new in-store technologies retailers can create advanced shopping experiences which can compete with the fast-growing online commerce. Enhanced shopping experience plus more accessible shopping journey equals sales and footfall increase.
Driven by Millennials, experiential retail is a major trend in 2019. Shops that sell experiences, culture, ideas and not only products will survive and flourish. Retailers can create all sorts of in-store experiences. From high-tech installations and VR to photogenetic displays. Pop-up shops are a great example of experiential retail that is fun, affordable and short term. Numerous Pop-Up shops don’t even sell products, they exist to offer experience and boost brand awareness.
While, the use of in-store apps is one of the retail trends that we are going to see a lot from now on. By using apps, consumers can find products, get extra information, review them or receive rewards. Their success is more than sure since the 85% of UK shoppers would use in-store technologies to help them with their grocery shopping*.
Big Data is Huge in 2019
Big Data was a big thing two years ago, now it’s huge. Every year Big Data transforms and shapes the retail industry. In 2019 many retailers use an excessive amount of data regarding customers’ preferences, location, inventory levels, and logistics. While, some incorporate in-store customer datasets, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to boost sales and drive consumer engagement and loyalty both online and in-store.
In 2019, retailers will invest in strategic decisions based on the historical data they’ve gathered from consumers. For example, retailers will change the display of their stores or even open a new shop based on historic in-store customers’ data. By enhancing in-store customer experiences and customizing the store’s look and feel, retailers are more likely to acquire quality data from consumers. Which means that they can effectively reach consumers and influence their customer journey, predicting their demands and needs.
However, consumers of today are aware of the problems data sharing can cause and they demand data transparency. Retailers that don’t respect customers’ privacy are doomed to fail especially now that private data have undergone constant exploitation. Therefore, retailers should inform consumers of their data usage, their online security, and policies. In this way, shoppers are more likely to share their personal data, purchase their products or even become loyal.