Bricks-and-mortar retail in 2019 is looking like a brave new world. It’s all about consumer expectations – specifically how to anticipate and meet them seamlessly. We take a look at some of those expectations, and how they’re dictating the trends of 2019.
I expect my store to know me
Big brands, be warned – the future of in-store retail has all the hallmarks of a local shop. Only, instead of a chatty shopkeeper you’ve known since childhood, there’s data. Lots of it. That data is collated and connected at all possible touchpoints, and then used to get to know you better, tailor your experience, make recommendations and ultimately increase spend. It could be an app that helps you navigate the store. It could be geo-targeted deals and welcome messages. It could be offline wish lists stored online. But it will be personal, independent-style retail powered by big-business tech.
I expect more in one place
You can buy pretty much anything in a supermarket these days. But then, you can buy pretty much anything on Amazon without moving more than a thumb. Which means it’s time to offer something more. Grocery stores might, for example, have a bank and café inside them, giving customers another reason to visit. Take H&M’s Pleat cafe as an example of high-profile early adopters. With 3800 US stores slated to shutter their doors by the end of the year, the time is right to provide more than just goods on shelves.
I expect transparency
As millennials get older, their collective spending power increases, and so does their influence over the marketplace. And – to make a broad generalisation – millennials shop with their hearts as much as their wallets. This means that brands need to earn a place in those hearts, and that’s rarely achieved through products alone. Transparency, inclusivity, cultural gravitas – these are what drive real affection and loyalty. Brands that are unafraid to truly commit to a cause will be the ones who unlock real brand loyalty. In 2019 the point of of difference reigns supreme.
I expect my store to do good
So, if shops are getting personal and brands are standing up for their cause, what of the products? In a nutshell: they’re going to be more local and better for the environment. It’s that transparency thing again. In today’s market it’s no longer enough to stick a ‘healthy’ label on food – consumers want to know what that means, why it’s healthy, what the environmental impact is, where the ingredients have come from and how recyclable the packaging is. In fact, retailers will need to move beyond mere recycling and into waste-free and bio-degradable packaging solutions.
All in all, the retail landscape is shifting and for retailers who’re willing and able to move with the times, there’s a real opportunity ahead. Where once brands were a closely-guarded secret, now they’re morphing into a set of customer-facing values and beliefs, and with that comes the opportunity to overhaul internal and external culture to make a real difference in customer’s lives.