Online shopping is booming. Big traditional retailers like Sears and Macy’s have eliminated stores and cut jobs. Amazon seems to continually grow and expand. Online shops take market share away from brick and mortar stores. Thanks to the development of mobile devices such as all inclusive cameras, alarm clocks and communication tools with social media that we carry with us 24/7, online shopping is a no-brainer. Mobile devices become the most important shopping partner for price comparisons, product reviews and recommendations. Does that mean there will be no physical stores in the future?
Regarding indifferent commodity products like toilet paper or cleaners it is likely that these products will be bought increasingly online in the future. But what about products that need to be selected more carefully like fresh produce, fashion or higher class furniture? These products still need to be seen, smelled, or tried out by the customer. The purchase of these products itself provides an essential experience that can’t be replaced with virtual or augmented realities.
Classic go-to stores will always be there in the future. But they will probably look not like the ones we used to know. Here are some major trends for the next years:
Service beats Goods
Today everyone can share what’s important for him in a product or service and what the priorities are for a purchase. There are already a lot of brands that have evolved in the last years to serve these needs and in the future we will see even more activities to match their offerings around the latest lifestyle trends. It’s becoming more important to offer what the customer wants than the way the customer buys the product. In the future it’s not just about having the best product but also about your relationship with the customer. Therefore stores are educating and tutoring their customers. Especially with higher end products a lot of retailers offer additional services along with their traditional portfolio.
Niche merchandising against information overload
Aggressive marketing reaches its limit. Advertising online and on social media with banners and intrusive messages is falling out of favor. Consumers are interested in getting information themselves about products at their own pace. To find that information customers need specialists that they trust, who sort out the information according to the needs of the customers. This way some retailers are able to cater specifically to a certain group of customers. This saves time and efforts and generates follow-up and referral business.
Influencer Marketing as a Fundamental Brand Strategy
In order to trust market and product information people rely on friends. These are not only real friends but also “friends” on social media. People who present reliable content, who have many followers on different platforms and have a name in the business. These friends have a critical influence on the buying decision of their peers. There have never been more peer-to peer advisors, “specialists” and trend spotters. Influencer marketing has become an important brand strategy.
All in all the big change is that the customer is more involved in the business than ever before. Acknowledging and working with the customer must have the highest priority in retail.
You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” — Steve Jobs
This is the biggest challenge here on Jazzy Jobber: Creating customer experience and finding the right products. I am grateful and thankful to anyone who supports me in this endeavor.
- Top 10 Trends That will transform Marketing in 2017: Kate Harrison on Forbes; January 9, 2017
- The way you shop will change forever this year. Here’s how: Mark Wilson on Fastcodesign.com; January 9, 2017
- The retail industry is transforming, but not the way you think it is: Portia Crowe on Business Insider; May 5, 2016