Following the recent Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas, retail trends for 2019 are top of mind. Shoptalk’s theme was “to create the future of retail,” and the buzz during the event mirrored what we’ve heard for many months.
The key ideas from Shoptalk (importance of brick-and-mortar, personalization, omnichannel engagement, data-driven insights, etc.) are reminiscent of a recent report from Total Retail about “game-changing retailers.” Let’s take a look at the top takeaways CPG brands and retailers can learn from these companies, and how to leverage these strategies for your business.
Five “Game-Changing” Retail Trends to Follow in 2019
#1: Make an Impact with Physical Store Experiences
Game-changing retailers recognize the importance of reaching customers through in-person experiences aided by customer data.
For example, in the report, Madison Reed uses customer data gathered at their in-person Color Bars to produce a more personalized online experience. Dirty Lemon provides another example, with the founder sharing a story of hosting a one-day pop-up shop in New York City. They used customer data to target locals and invite them to a Valentine’s Day event, successfully debuting their new beverage offering.
The importance of in-store experiences was a popular theme at Shoptalk as well. Brendan Witcher, Vice President and Principal Analyst of Digital Business Strategy at Forrester Research, gave a Shoptalk interview in which he noted that 85 percent of retail is still in the physical store. Customers want to go into stores to shop, but they also want a great experience. He advised retailers to focus on what the customer desires so that stores can be used as assets, not liabilities. In short, the experiences must be relevant and create value.
EnterWorks is helping retailers provide a differentiated in-store experience with its Storeytelling concept that links virtual reality to assortment planning, planogramming, and wayfinding. By engaging the consumer through a visual, real-time representation of products on the shelf, we are reinventing how retailers tell their brand stories in every store, and ultimately helping drive more customers from online to in-store.
#2: Recommend the Right Fit to Minimize Returns
The return rate for online sales is approximately 30 percent for U.S. retailers, and the No. 1 reason cited is poor fit. Featured Game Changer, The Groomsmen Suit, looks to combat this problem with their Fit Finder system, which draws on customer data and sales history to provide more accuracy to sizing for their suits. Similarly, the founders of State Bags mentioned their “Try Me On” feature as a continual focus for their online product offerings.
As these brands realize, a data-driven shopping experience reduces unnecessary returns. Emerging tech including Augmented Reality (AR) gives consumers a chance to sample products virtually before making a purchase. Up-to-date and enriched product information is vital to powering this type of personalized experience.
EnterWorks is helping brands implement AR applications powered by Product Information Management (PIM) to more precisely fit their products to their customers’ needs, and in turn, reduce dissatisfaction and limit returns.
Learn more about reducing product returns in the e-book, How to Bust Your Returns Queue with PIM.
#3: Provide a Frictionless Shopping Experience Everywhere Customers Are
Providing omnichannel solutions is another consistent theme among retailers. Amy Errett, Founder and CEO of Madison Reed, stressed the importance of not limiting a brand to a single channel. “Our customers live online, primarily on their phone, but they’re not going to stop visiting physical stores.”
This is a concept that was also mentioned by Game Changer Zak Normandin, CEO of Dirty Lemon. He notes, “We’re truly controlling all aspects of the customer experience, from placing an order to product delivery, and we’re pioneering a new distribution system that provides a frictionless purchasing experience for the consumer.”
Coresight Research backs up this trend with their new retail trends report, noting, “Aiming for frictionless in-store transactions, retailers will turn to technologies that remove the traditional pain points of brick-and-mortar retail.”
Getting your data structured in a way where you can accomplish your goals is key. Retailers will continue to turn to technology like PIM and MDM to centralize data and syndicate information across channels for consistent and differentiated consumer experiences.
#4: Utilize Social Influencers
Changing retail trends are often driven from the digital and social spectrum. New media influencers are using socially and environmentally-conscious messages to market brands to a new generation of customers.
Jacq Tatelman of State Bags said, “I know retailers are really focused on the influencer market – that’s that feedback we’ve heard…I think that retailers need to reinvent themselves to give the customer a unique experience.”
Leveraging structured and unstructured data is key to enabling these experiences as well as delivering precise “content in context” for consumers in the channel of their choice. The ability to integrate data across channels creates a more accurate picture of buying preferences based on previously unlinked categories like social media.
#5: Stay Ahead of Customer Needs
Finally, a constant theme among all of the retailers is the necessity to remain agile and anticipate their customers’ needs. Complacency in product offering, method of delivery, and customer experience won’t be embraced by the modern consumer.
Jeanne Foley of The Groomsmen Suit said, “We’re trying to find ways we can communicate with our customers in advance of them even thinking to reach out. We want to stay ahead of their needs before they even know they have them.”
With MDM, companies can understand and manage the data complexities that accompany consumers and their life events, along with specific single customer preferences. This provides organizations with the right information at the right time for improved business decisions, targeted marketing efforts, and personalized outreach.
Are You Prepared to Up Your Retail Game?
Nearly all of the game-changing themes mentioned at Shoptalk and by the innovators in the Total Retail report require the ability to master the complexity of data and product content. As retailers decide what strategies to move up the chain in 2019, they must consider whether their data is ready to support reinvention.
Through Multi-domain MDM and PIM solutions for retail, EnterWorks is helping retailers:
- Offer a single source of data and product truth
- Enrich content for differentiated, personalized consumer experiences
- Increase revenue by powering upsell, cross-sell, and configurable products
- Intricately know their customers and shopping behaviors to deliver “content in context” and in the channel of choice
- Power a new physical store experience
- Enable digital experiences including AR, VR, AI, Internet of Things (IoT), and Machine Learning
Are you ready to start strategizing? To help, we’re offering the study from Coresight Research, 10 Retail Trends for 2019.
Download the report for expert guidance from Coresight CEO and Global Retail Analyst Deborah Weinswig on AI in retail, in-store tech, consumer behavior, retailer collaboration, and more.