Four retail trends of 2018
The recent years have been turbulent for the retail industry, as several brands filed for bankruptcy when pure e-commerce companies have entered and flourished on the market. But even though there are still challenging times, some new positive trends can been seen as we have entered 2018:
- Individualization is becoming even more important. Innovative apps and new technology such as VR have engaged consumers digitally for several years, but the omnichannel approach also includes the physical and personally individual interaction of the customer experience.
- A Forrester study from 2017 suggested that 51% of brands are implementing, have implemented, or are expanding their use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, it is yet to be seen how AI is driving revenue, as well as customer engagement and experiences. 2018 will be a year when the effects and realizations of AI technology will be more measurable.
- Amazon is likely to continue to grow and expand, which will in turn continue to have an impact on the entire retail industry. Amazon has access to extremely extensive customer data, and is because of that able to provide a fully integrated customer experience. Other retailers will need to find new ways to compete, thinking from the customer’s perspective, and regardless of their approach the collection of customer data will probably be invaluable in the process.
- Customer innovation engagement will continue to influence the brand-wholesale relationship. Meanwhile, more direct-to-consumer brands are expected to launch, which will have an impact on more established brands. Perhaps how brick-and-mortar stores operate will be impacted as well, when the customer experience rather than the actual product is in focus.