Gazing into the crystal ball for 2017 retail predictions

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

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