Editor's Note: 3 Omnichannel Predictions for 2015
As another year comes to a close, it's time for my annual roundup of omnichannel retail predictions for the year ahead. As in year's 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.
1. Omnichannel 2.0. We all know omnichannel is here, but in 2015, retailers will work harder at refining their systems and operations to create a consistent shopping experience for their customers. If a customer views an item online, purchases it using their smartphone, and returns it in-store, they'll be able to do so in a smooth and seamless manner. There will also be a big emphasis on how retailers can operationalize omnichannel, integrate it into their corporate culture and, in short, make it profitable.
2. Mobile payments are ready for their close-up. While cash and credit cards won't be things of the past any time soon, mobile wallets will deﬁnitely get a huge chunk of the payments pie in the coming year. Why? Two words: Apple Pay. In the month since Apple launched its mobile wallet, major retailers have seen consumers eager to make purchases with their iPhones. And even some of Apple Pay's competitors — namely Google and Softcard — say Apple has helped create general awareness of mobile payments, including for their services. Apple Pay is still far from a dominant payment system (some retailers have rejected it altogther), but early adopters’ results are the first signs of mainstream mobile wallet acceptance. Apple, analysts say, has tapped into something that consumers are interested in.
3. The personalization/privacy conundrum continues. By now, most retailers have realized that to predict shopper behavior and provide truly personalized experiences for their customers, they need to gather as much information about their behavior, history and whereabouts as possible. Furthermore, consumers are becoming more and more receptive to said personalized offers. In fact, in many cases they expect to receive them. However, they're also starting to become more concerned about the "creepy" factor. This pushback may continue in earnest next year. For their part, retailers should mitgate consumers’ fears by spending part of 2015 educating shoppers about the beneﬁts of data analytics and personalization. Brands need to communicate that they're gathering data to improve their customers’ experiences, not to steal information or breach their privacy.
What trends are you tracking for 2015? Please let me know by sending an email to email@example.com.