As the new year rolls in, you can expect a wave of new retail trends to come with it. And although retailers might feel comfortable in their current routine, these trends bring new opportunities for growth and revenue. So, what should retail leaders be on the lookout for? Here are a few of the top trends that will drive retail in 2017.
Today’s customers want transparency. Because of this, retailers are expected to be much more open about products and processes — e.g., manufacturing details and brand values. And who is driving this push for transparency? You guessed it — millennials. This generation wants to know the brands they’re doing business with are socially conscious, responsible and hold similar values as they do. You can make millennials’ buying decisions easier by giving them the information they want up front.
Verizon really made waves in the retail industry with its move away from two-year contract plans. Now, consumers are realizing that renting might actually be the way to go, especially when it comes to large purchases with a limited lifespan. By renting or leasing an item, like a phone or car, it means customers can upgrade as soon as the newer, better version becomes available. And who doesn’t want to be on top of all the latest gadgets and luxury items?
More Revenue Sources
While traditional merchandise will always be a retailer’s biggest revenue source, there are a few other ways to pull in profits in 2017. The easiest? Providing warranty solutions and credit protection options for customers. Not only do these products promote brand loyalty by helping customers get out of sticky situations, they can have a major impact on a retailer’s bottom line.
More Automated Processes
There’s no doubt that online shopping has grown in recent years, and we certainly can’t see it slowing down anytime soon. As online purchasing grows, customers want to know they can purchase an item online and, if they don’t like it, return it without a hassle. To adapt, many retailers are perfecting their online return processes to build customer confidence and continue to increase online sales.
More Mobile Mania
Speaking of online purchasing, mobile will continue to be a huge retail driver in 2017. This past year saw the biggest push yet for mobile optimization. If you’re not on the mobile train by now, you’re about to be left behind. By ensuring your mobile capabilities are up to date, you’ll continue to keep pace with the competition.
More Niche Experiences
It’s no secret that consumers want personalization — and niche retailers are popping up to fill their needs. Because of their small size, niche retailers have the ability to get to know their customers inside and out, giving them the personalized experiences they crave. This is a major competitive advantage. Big or small, find ways to personalize your brand experience as well.
Kevin Cundiff is vice president of retail for Fortegra Financial Corporation, a Tiptree Financial Inc. company. Fortegra and its subsidiaries comprise a single-source insurance services provider that offers a range of consumer protection options including warranty solutions, credit insurance, and specialty underwriting programs.