There are plenty of reasons for retailers to celebrate as 2016 leaves and 2017 begins. The winter holiday shopping season topped forecast expectations by approaching nearly $1 trillion in consumer spending. In 2017, look for five disruptive retail trends to hit stores before the next winter holiday blitz hits shoppers.
1. Stores Reinventing Themselves
Expect several stores to begin reinventing themselves as they try to compete for more market share. Retail trends point towards more people shopping online, as foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores faltered during the 2016 winter holiday shopping season. As retailers try to compete with Amazon.com's massive presence that outshines its competitors, stores try to think outside the box by coming up with new ways for customers to engage with their favorite brands. Look for pop-up bars, in-store meals and other events to draw in customers.
2. Augmented and Virtual Reality
When you think of retail trends, you probably don't think of virtual reality or augmented reality. "Pokemon Go" changed that during the summer of 2016. More stores can pick up on the growing accessibility of virtual reality, such as virtual designing for furniture and home improvement stores or creating immersive worlds for clerks to interact with customers. Once more virtual reality becomes available, stores will start using this technology more readily.
3. More Uses of Analytics
Retailers continue to fine-tune their use of analytics to drive their businesses. Amazon Go is a concept wherein customers must provide certain data points just to enter the store. That's because this advanced store doesn't use checkout lines. Consumers pick the items they want and simply leave the store. Amazon already has customer payment data and even location data within the store itself. Stores that optimize data and data collection as well as Amazon stand to make substantial gains in 2017. Companies that get it wrong might make headlines for screwing up someone's personal data or causing a data breach.
4. Omnichannel Analytics
Along the same lines as Amazon Go, brick-and-mortar retail trends for 2017 point to omnichannel analytics. This refers to retailers that seamlessly blend data from customers who shop on a store's website with the data from the same shoppers gathered in a physical store. Retailers try to fine-tune the blending of in-store and online behavior, and this becomes a hefty proposition because the overall sets of data are too complicated for people interpret easily. Omnichannel analytics have to mature in the coming year before widespread adoption becomes the norm.
5. Consumer-Based Product Attributes
Consumer-based product attributes drive personalization by creating attributes of products based on consumer behavior with the product. Rather than physical descriptions in product attributes, retail trends may lean towards companies integrating cognitive computing and image recognition among product descriptions. This blurs the line between physical products and emotional connections to products.
Retail trends for 2017 focus on a lot of technological advances combined with new ways for stores to get customers through the door. National chains continue to try to out-duel online shopping by creating valuable experiences for consumers in the store, but they face a daunting task as they try to de-throne Amazon.com
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