As the year comes to a close, it's time for my annual roundup of omnichannel retail predictions for the year ahead. I'm focusing on a few interesting trends I saw come to light in 2013 that I believe will become even more widespread next year. Enjoy!
1. Mobile. In 2013, it seems like not a day went by without reading a headline about how retailers are embracing mobile marketing and commerce. And it's not stopping. A recent study from eMarketer predicts retail m-commerce sales will reach $41.68 billion by the end of 2013. As more retailers build out their mobile apps and website offerings and increase spending on digital advertising, mobile retail sales will continue to account for a large piece of the pie in 2014.
2. Subscription selling. Instead of selling a single item with a single online transaction, online subscriptions became more popular in 2013, and are on pace to grow even more next year. Target, for example, launched Target Subscriptions in September, a free service that lets shoppers set up recurring deliveries of bulk purchases such as diapers. Another company that saw success in 2013 using a subscription selling model is Birchbox, which provides a monthly subscription service of cosmetic and beauty products to registered users. Birchbox currently has more than 40,000 subscribers, more than double what it had last year. And PetFlow.com, which uses subscription-based selling to send pet food to customers each month, had sales of $28 million in 2012 and was named to Forbes’ 2013 list of America's Most Promising Companies. I predict more companies like these will pop up in 2014, and more traditional retailers will start offering subscription-based online selling.
3. Big fat data. Big data was the "it" topic in the omnichannel retail space this year. The concept of harnessing big data to drive more personalized marketing campaigns will become an even more popular and important part of omnichannel retail this year. Why? With the rise of mobile, tablet and social media, the sheer volume of information about consumers available to retailers is unprecedented. A typical retailer today knows not only the basic demographic information about a customer, but his or her purchase history, call-center interactions, mobile/social interactions, supply chain data and more. With this data, retailers can do things like uncover how customers are researching and buying their products; send personalized offers targeted to specific customers; segment their most valuable customers; and so much more.
What trends are you tracking for 2014? Please let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.