Sales & Marketing

Gazing into the crystal ball for 2017 retail predictions

7 min read

20 December 2016

When it comes to looking at 2017 retail predictions, we must first recognise the retail landscape is a changeable place that requires forward planning.

Indeed, it’s a market always met with new demands, entrants, and technologies causing disruption on a regular basis, so this is important to bear in mind as we gaze at 2017 retail predictions with our crystal ball.

2016 saw the launch of Amazon Dash and Programmatic Commerce, taking shoppers’ one step closer to a more automated way of purchasing, as well as the recent unveiling of Amazon Go, which has the potential to transform the face bricks and mortar.

Looking at the year ahead which fast approaches, there are multiple 2017 retail predictions we expect will be factors that retailers are going to need to face and adapt their businesses to for success in the New Year.

The increase in the Living Wage

Next year the Living Wage in the UK is set to increase, which will affect retailers’ bottom line and the way they run their business. Consequently, retailers will want to be sensible with their purse strings, particularly during turbulent economic times.

As a result, our 2017 retail predictions expect that the more administrative and time-consuming tasks will become automated to make them more efficient and tap into their workforces other talents due to an increase in productivity

It will present employees with the opportunity to adapt their roles, providing a higher level of service to their customers. Such services could be more personalised and curated shopping experiences, more shop assistant availability, and an improved experience in-store.

It is services such as these which will help retailers stand out from their competitors and help to drive customer loyalty.

How to make it personal

Making 2017 retail predictions, we expect retailers to return to the traditional days where shop keepers used to know their customers

It won’t quite be like the TV show of the 70s and 80s Open All Hours where Granville and Arkwright knew their customers personally, but retailers will be able to learn about their customers preferences and create a personalised experience through harnessing technology.

Loyalty today amongst consumers and retailers is not what it once was, with consumers choosing to shop wherever they please depending on their needs at the time, switching from brand to brand.

What retailers should aim for is integrating their online and in-store offerings, joining up a customer’s journey from their searches and preferences online to their movements’ in-store creating one unified and personalised experience.

In doing so retailers can send customers offers and suggestions through their mobile applications, or share the information with staff on the shop floor, enabling them to upsell in a much more tailored and effective way.

On the next page, read up on how a united front fits into 2017 retail predictions, as well as how the shop floor itself will change entirely.

Forming a united front

Collaborating is an effective way of widening a retailer’s customer reach. We have already seen this happen in some instances, such as with Tesco and Arcadia, Post Office and WH Smith, and the likes of ASOS using various retailers as their click and collect points.

Teaming up allows retailers to maximise their in-store footprint, and encourage new customers into their store. It also allows retailers who are trying to create more of a physical presence a chance to without having to purchase all the square footage of an entire store, making it much more cost effective.

Creating the new one-stop destination

In a world where consumers crave convenience, places where consumers can do everything they need in one places is becoming increasingly appealing.

As a result we can expect hospitality to take more of an integrated approach with retail we see the number of destinations where consumers can shop, dine, and travel all from one spot.

Where this has already happened with great success is Grand Central Station in Birmingham, where all three elements have come together and co-exist in a welcoming and seamless environment.

Retailers should look at establishing themselves in destinations where they can cater to those customer needs of ease and help serve their needs all in one place.

The changing face of the shop floor

The recent unveiling of Amazon Go has brought up the question of how long can retail stores stay as they always have been. Yes it is true that over the years we have seen advances with new systems and self-checkouts, but the fundamental way we shop in-store has been the same.

Customers still need to load their shopping baskets to then unload, scan, repack, and pay all of their items as they would have done so many years ago. The new model presented by Amazon demonstrates how retailers can think innovatively to make the customer experience more pleasurable, simpler and a more seamless journey.

Now that the level of customers’ expectations is at an all-time high, retailers need to find ways to match it and ensure they are differentiating themselves from their competitors.

Shopping in store is now very much experiential rather than transactional. By bringing in new innovative ways to shop, retailers can enhance the shopping experience to make it more interactive, and digitally enabled.

Rupal Karia is MD of retail and hospitality, UK and Ireland, Fujitsu