Top Retail Trends of 2016
I recently received a really interesting whitepaper titled "The Top 10 Retail Trends For 2016" from Synchrony Financial that included a list of the top 10 technology, marketing and consumer trends that Synchrony predicts will have an impact on retail sales in 2016. Here are five of the key trends highlighted. Are any of them affecting you? And if so, how? Let me know in the comments section below.
New Retail Holidays
Consumers love holidays, so why limit them to just the 20 found on the U.S. calendar? To spur sales and increase customer acquisition, some retailers are creating their own shopping holidays — and reaping big rewards. The Alibaba Group, for example, logged $14.3 billion in sales on Singles’ Day, a holiday it created in China that’s similar to our Valentine’s Day but targeted to singles. Synchrony Financial explains that large retailers have the clout and customer loyalty to create their own sales holidays as well. As such, Synchrony Financial suggests retailers consider this type of an opportunity, as long as it fits with their brands.
Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-simulated reality that creates sensory experiences that users can interact with. Progressive retailers are already using VR to create immersive shopping for customers directly in their homes. VR is a great fit for mobile, too. Retailers should pay close attention to VR, Synchrony Financial says, since it can enhance the shopping experience for customers by providing a personalized, interactive context that can lead to more sales across all channels.
Internet of Things
It used to be that retailers collected most of their consumer data at the point of sale (POS). However, the Internet of Things (loT) is changing that. Today, retailers are deploying and connecting millions of low-cost microdevices and sensors (i.e., things) everywhere in the retail environment. The report explains that more data collected in more places provides invaluable insights into consumer behavior, market trends, buying patterns and customer engagement. Retailers should leverage the data collected through connected devices to their best sales advantage.
Mobile Payments and Alternative Payments
While mobile payments accounted for only 1.6 percent of total retail sales in 2015, that number is expected to rise more than threefold in 2016. And as more consumers adopt this payment platform, its impact on the future of commerce will be tremendous, Synchrony Financial says in the report. As such, retailers should monitor the ever-changing payment market closely and update their POS terminals and e-commerce platforms to accept new payment methods.
The days of the one-size-fits-all customer experience model are waning. Consumers today want personalized experiences and offers tailored to their unique needs. Thanks to data analytics and loT, retailers are now able to deliver exactly that. Large department stores are using beacon technology to push relevant ads to customers’ mobile devices while they're still in-store, and online retailers are using product recommendation engines to recommend products based on consumers’ previous browsing history. Retailers should invest in personalization tools to boost customer loyalty and repeat purchases, the report advises.