2018 will be another interesting year for the retail sector as more technologies start to push boundaries in order to enhance the way consumers shop and the experience they receive. Customers already expect a more personalised and engaging shopping experience, and the seamless combination of both the online and in-store propositions should create the enhanced engagement and savvy shopping experience they’re becoming accustomed to. In order to keep up with the changing retail landscape, we’ll start to see the introduction of trends and initiatives – some of which are already in use – that will rapidly be adopted and embraced, thus further creating a fully functioning and interactive ‘destination’ – rather than a static, transactional location.
When it comes to personalising the shopping experience, various technologies will fast become a must for all retailers.
Here are some of the 2018 retail trends you should prepare for…
‘BOPIS’ becomes the ‘new normal’
When retailers started to migrate away from traditional and static point-of-sale (POS) systems, it allowed customers to be more flexible in how they pay for items around the store. We saw BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store) take centre stage, creating a new trend in buying online and picking up your purchases in-store. We’re already seeing a lot of BOPIS being implemented in many of the large retailers and online catalogues, making it easier for sales associates to engage and conduct transactions with customers throughout the store. By blending the best of both online and in-store, retailers will create seamless omnichannel shopping capabilities that enhance customer experience and brand loyalty potential.
Intelligent and virtual fitting rooms
There have been some trials already with intelligent changing rooms and interactive elements, but now we’re starting to see these actually implemented – the likes of Polo Ralph Lauren in the US launching its connected fitting rooms to merge digital technology with in-store retail. Such technology includes the use of interactive screens, which will allow customers to check stock and instantly ask sales assistants for a different size while staying in the changing room area. Where a “magic mirror” (using a blend of touchscreens and kinetic technology) allows them to see themselves wearing various items, without even having to try them on.
Supermarket GPS/interactive baskets
Digital retail trends: Supermarkets like Tesco already allow their customers to scan their own food and pack their bags as they go around the aisle reducing the time wasted scanning and packing items at the till, but there’s still more to come – interactive shopping trolleys or supermarket GPS. A touch display which could automatically suggest meals to make as you scan and add items to your trolley or being able to create a shopping list at home, log in (for scanner in-store), see your list on screen and cross them off as you go. We also predict these trollies to start creating the best possible shopping route just like a GPS system in your car based on your items to help save time.
Beacon technology, although it’s been around since about 2013, hasn’t been used to its fullest, but over the last few years, it’s started to gain traction in industries, especially retail. It has been trialled and in some cases already being used by some retailers for location-based marketing purposes, as well as to help customise offers and promotions further by using advanced analytics. Some interesting uses that we’ve already seen include; Retailers sending push notifications to customers when they are in the vicinity of their store, and in-store mannequins which can send shoppers alerts about the products that they’re wearing. But we really expect this technology to really take off and hit more store throughout 2018 and into 2019 and is one of the retail trends to look out for.
With 2018 not too far away, retailers will have to up their game to win over the savvy consumer as they race to have the store of the future. We’re looking at exciting times ahead for the 2018 retail trends!