2016 retail trends & predictions

The Future of Retail? Predictions for 2016 & Beyond

With more retailers than ever reporting dour statistics linked to the rapidly shifting digital landscape, how can businesses expect to stay afloat? Knowing the upcoming trends and using them to your advantage can put you ahead of the game.

So what are some of our predictions for 2016 and beyond? And how can retailers best adjust their operations?

The Marriage Between Mobile and Shopping Continues

It’s been said before that more shoppers than ever are going mobile. The mobile age is here and is becoming entrenched in every part of people’s lives, increasingly including the way that they shop.

From people who use their smartphones to browse for inspiration from their favorite fashion bloggers to those making use of new retail developments such as mobile checkouts in-store, a whopping 75% of users are using their mobile devices in stores, notes InReality.

In addition, more and more customers are open to receiving marketing messages through social media, as well as to purchasing via mobile (more on this next). All retailers should be aware of this continually changing digital landscape.

Alternative Payment Methods Will Become Commonplace

Another interesting growing trend is the increasing growth of customer comfort with alternative payment options, such as mobile payments in stores via an app. These trends further show the growing importance of omnichannel to retailers.

This type of experimentation with payment methods is in the early stages, and a minority of customers (around  30%) are not yet open to these payment methods but expect that number to decrease over time.

Customers Will Continue to Demand Free or Cheap Shipping Options

Today’s consumers are becoming more comfortable making decisions through online media. However, even as omnichannel appears to become the new normal for businesses and many retailers are forced to adapt to these changes, retailers must still make note of the fact that there are aspects of online shopping that remain pain points for customers.

One of the biggest pain points is paying for shipping. Customers hate paying for shipping, and more options, including buy online pick up in store (BOPIS), have become available for customers to help deal with these types of frustrations.

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Keyboard to the Car: Buying Online, Picking-Up in the Store

Omnichannel is no longer optional

Overall, the most crucial detail that any retailer can take away from any of this is that it is becoming increasingly vital to offer an incredible customer experience on all fronts to be able to compete in the digital shopping landscape.

Customer-centric personalization will be the must-have differentiator for retailers and will become much more targeted as retailers tap into internal information, known preferences, and social media data to better understand and delight their customers. – Chain Store Age

Quite simply put, it is definitely true that a quality omnichannel experience is a necessity for any retailer to remain competitive.

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Customers Will Continue to Shop in Brick and Mortar Stores

There are still many reasons that people head to stores rather than shop online, whether they don’t want to pay for shipping, they don’t want to wait for delivery, or they simply want the tactile experience of seeing or trying on a product before purchasing it.

While providing online methods for shopping is important, the brick and mortar store is not going anywhere anytime soon. A number of methods exist for engaging with customers and for providing them with the value that they need as they browse for products – such as giving them access to new technologies, as well as good old fashioned quality customer service.

The digital age may be upon us, but in reality, there are many aspects of the retail world that will remain the same for some years to come.

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