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06 Sep, 2017

Five Global Retail Trends 2017

Five Global Retail Trends 2017

There are 5 biggest retail trends impacting the industry today. Some of these trends have already emerged, with many of the biggest retailers beginning to respond and adapt their strategies accordingly.

1. Technology is changing the customer experience

Augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are changing the customer experience. In the near future, customers will likely use AR and VR to explore and interact with potential purchases. Virtual reality, alongside its sister technology, augmented reality, offers retailers the opportunity to transform how they interact with the consumer.

Spending on augmented reality and virtual reality in Western Europe will likely reach US$2.5 billion in 2017, a 131 percent increase over 2016, according to the International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Semiannual Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide released in March 2017. IDC expects that consumer markets will be the largest AR/VR spending segment this year, accounting for more than 56 percent of spend.

2. Mobile shopping continues to grow

The average person checks their mobile device 85 times a day, spending a total of five hours browsing the web and using apps. It’s no surprise that online shopping has continued to grow rapidly over the last few years, however, mobile commerce has recently seen an incredible surge.

E-commerce has been steadily on the rise in recent years, but it may not be the next true frontier for shopping as m-commerce continues to become more popular. Mobile-first sites, dedicated apps, emerging payment methods and other tools are making shopping on smartphones much easier. Today m-commerce accounts for nearly one-third of online retail sales in the US.

An e-Marketer report shows that in 2016 global mobile sales made up 34 percent of all e-commerce transactions around the world, and it’s predicted to grow 31 percent in 2017
KPMG’s Global Consumer & Retail practice’s 2017 survey of 18,000+ consumers, «The truth about online consumers," shows that only 23 percent of consumers prefer visiting shops, while the rest prefer to shop online.

3. Creating a meaningful experience is crucial

Customers today are increasingly savvy and can use the power of transparency to help them choose between a variety of options. These options may have varying levels of customer service from poor to excellent. If a customer doesn’t have a positive experience with one retailer, they will likely simply switch to another. This is posing great threat to retailers as brand loyalty decreases and switching increases.

In order to drive loyalty as well as repeat customers, retailers are now focusing on the whole customer experience from the moment they consider a purchase through to the after-sales service. Retailers have started to understand the importance of curating the whole experience.

Furthermore, digital convergence has the potential to transform the customer experience — a glowing opportunity for retailers to set themselves apart. In the next few years, interaction with a variety of technologies such as bots is expected to reinvent the customer experience.

Gartner’s customer experience report suggests that in 2017, 89 percent of marketing leaders expect customer experience to be their primary basis for competitive differentiation.

4. Personalization is the future of retail

As more brands seek to connect with consumers on an emotional level, retailers are using personalization to engage with the consumer on a more intimate level. This provides a customer experience that strengthens the relationship between the brand and the individual consumer.

Personalization can bring more value to a customer as they receive a more targeted experience. Personalizing the shopping experience also drives repeat business. KPMG’s recent survey of 18,000+ consumers (The truth about online consumers, January 2017) found that customized promotions, exclusive member offers and customer recognition across channels were among the top ten drivers of customer loyalty.

This year the industry should continue to see retailers leveraging personalization in order to bring together all digital and physical channels. This will likely create a true omni-channel customer experience.

Consumer expectations of personalization are on the rise too, with a recent Retail Assist Global Retail survey revealing that 77 percent of consumers expect an offering of products and offers that appeal to their personal tastes.

5. Attracting & retaining talent is critical

As retail continues its rapid transformation, efforts to find and keep the right employees must change right along with it. It’s not just that the people are different; technology has ensured that the jobs are too.

As a result of this shift, employers need to put a greater emphasis on attraction and retention efforts in order to hire and keep top employees. Equally, associates in store need to be upskilled and provided with substantial training and the right tools.

The first step in bringing in quality employees and holding on to the ones you already have is understanding the changing expectations of associates. Successful employers invest in ensuring there is no disconnect between what their employees actually want from their jobs, and what they believe they want.

Many retailers now have relationships with a variety of different universities in order to hire top talent. However, retaining this talent is equally essential.

Read also: Retail Future, Top 10 Lessons for Retailers, 25 Fastest-growing Apparel Retailers in Europe, Retail and Consumer Products Trends, How do consumers shop (Part 1, Part 2), Retail and Consumer Products Trends, Urban World: The Global Consumers to Watch

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