Three 2017 Retailing trends and what to do about them

As another new year kicks off we are always inundated with predictions for the year ahead. With Trump in power, the year should be very unpredictable!!! Setting politics aside, I was reading through a few blogs and articles and a few common trends have been appearing so I thought I’d share these and my thoughts on what you can do to ride the wave of these predictions:

  • Retailtainment – described as a “thrilling fusion of retail and entertainment” it is designed to keep you in the store longer and share the experience on Facebook and Instagram. Shopping centres have been doing this for some time and the newer ones are doing even more with things such as indoor skydiving, rock climbing, indoor roller coasters and even a zoo! I read recently where a clothing retailer has built an ice cream pop up in their Sydney and Melbourne stores to offer something unexpected and different.

This is not new to retail, however, the extent to which some companies are going to is pretty amazing. Retailers have been enhancing experiences for years – the Beechworth Bakery always has a band on the veranda on Sundays which creates a fun festive atmosphere. I love these ideas, however, it needs to be relevant and the staff needs to get behind what is happening. Still, the number one thing for me is for staff to focus on the customer, not tasks, and provide that customer with a great experience.

  • ‘Phygital’ expansion – major online retailers, such as Amazon, have invested in bricks and mortar stores and this is happening with a number of purely online retailers as well. Traditional bricks and mortar retailers have to have a great online platform as well. Consumers want to be able to shop how they want to shop and when they want to shop. There is a major increase in customers who are trying in store and buying online and the reverse as well.

Whatever the retail offer is, be it online or face to face, retailers have to have a consistently high level of service. Both versions (Omnichannel) have to make it easy for customers to find what they want and be able to purchase with little or no barriers. Today’s experience is all about making it easy for the customer to buy.

  • Small is big – gone are the days when bigger was better, apparently, we are all wanting small formats now. A lot of larger format retailers are now moving to a smaller footprint to capture more of the millennial shoppers. They are wanting to create a more intimate and relevant shopping experience.

Big, small or medium, to me it doesn’t matter. All of these formats have to work for the shopper, let’s make it easy to purchase not just one product but an additional one or two as well. I was in Bunnings recently and even this very good retailer doesn’t always get it right with adjacencies. Great customer service is required in any sized format and if stores are going smaller to provide a more intimate and relevant shopping experience, the service had better be outstanding.

I hope the three trends and my tips help to set you up for a great year of retailing.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.