Editor’s Note: 2016 Omnichannel Retail Predictions
It’s hard to believe, but 2015 is rapidly coming to a close. Therefore, that means it’s time for my annual roundup of omnichannel retail predictions for the year ahead. As in years past, I’m focusing on a few interesting trends I saw come to light this year that I believe will become even more widespread next year. Here goes!
1. The human phase of omnichannel: In this column last year, I wrote about how retailers were going to spend 2015 refining their systems and operations to create a consistent shopping experience for their customers. Well, many retailers started down that path, and as such, 2016 will focus on the next phase of omnichannel integration for companies, which I call the human phase. Why? I predict the focus next year will be on retailers hiring more employees with backgrounds in multiple functional areas (e.g., job candidates with IT and digital marketing experience) to lead their omnichannel initiatives. These employees will be tasked with effectively communicating the omnichannel direction of the company to all functional areas so as to break down silos and finally meet the needs of everywhere consumers.
2. More online retailers go offline: Yes, this is another trend that’s developed over the past few years, but I think it will continue to grow and even reach its peak in 2016. More online-only brands are finding that they can easily grow their omnichannel presence with a pop-up shop in a heavily trafficed area with little capital and less staffing requirements then traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores. Look for more manufacturers and consumer product goods companies to do the same.
3. Mobile, mobile and more mobile: I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it, but the mobile shopping evolution is continuing and isn’t about to slow down in 2016. I predict more retailers will create apps that serve as research and shopping assistants in the palms of consumers’ hands. These apps also will interact with in-store beacons, which I believe will beome more prevalent in 2016. This app and beacon combination will support augmented in-store experiences, making it easy for consumers to quickly access relevant product and pricing information, as well as special offers, with minimal friction.
What’s driving all of this mobile growth? The rise of tech-savvy millennials, who have and will continue to have tremendous purchasing power. Millennials expect businesses to satisfy their appetite for digital experiences across all channels.
What trends are you tracking for 2016? Please let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.