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2019 expectations in retail

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2018 was a year of significant change for retail. We saw a shift in consumer behaviour and the industry as a whole but what can we expect in 2019? With a range of opportunities to adapt and improve your offering, we can expect some exciting things from retail this year

Enhancing the experience


It is no surprise that this year we’re likely to see retailers further enhance their online presence and user experience. Altus Group, experts in commercial real estate, stated that 62% of major UK property owners and investors claim that Amazon and other online players have disrupted the retail property market*. Despite this being an important marketplace for you, it is important to connect both your online and offline experiences through ‘Omni-Channel retail’.

In 2019, we can expect retailers to become more creative with the use of their space and adapt their point of sale technology to enhance customer experience and meet their changing needs. As customers demand a different experience they can’t get online, retailers will shift to more personalisation and out of the box thinking to stand out amongst their competitors both online and offline.

78% of those surveyed said there was a trend towards ‘Experiential’ retailing as customers seek out experience led shopping*

— Altus Group

Create an unbreakable relationship

 

In an increasingly competitive market, this year we can expect brand loyalty to be a priority for businesses. As the industry shifts toward experience-based models, you should consider new ways to encourage your customers to stick with your brand. Deloitte highlighted that recently, loyalty programs have been expanding to focus on convenience with home delivery and experience with exclusive events**.

In today’s climate, your customers are increasingly more connected and expect you to react to their wants and needs instantaneously. 2019 is likely to see more retailers thinking differently when considering their proposition with a focus on new areas of their market. It’s important to consider what other ways you can support your customers to improve their experience with your brand. By adding a service or offering finance you could enhance the value of your proposition to your customers.

It’s important to not only focus on the purchase but also what happens after the purchase. The choices available to your customers has further increased the importance of post-purchase in retail. From customer service to the returns experience, you can further enhance customer loyalty as you ease the purchase process and support your customers even after they’ve made the transaction. If you choose to offer finance, it’s important to ensure you partner with a lender who matches your values and will offer your customers the same level of service.

Data driven decisions


Data is a significant part of any business but in 2019 we can expect retailers to utilise their data even further. By using new insights into your customers shopping habits and behaviour can change the way you engage with your customers, both online and in store. In line with GDPR, you should explore new ways to collect data and how you can apply it to your customers every day experiences with your brand. You can use this data to create more personalised experiences, encourage purchases, drive replenishment and increase retention.

Appealing to conscious consumers

Consumers are becoming more aware of the issues around them and in 2018 we saw brands with an ethical ethos succeed. This year we can expect there will be a strong focus on businesses emphasising their environmental practices and a push for customers to choose an ethical brand over their competitors. You should not only consider your ethical practices but how you can enable customers to protect their environment too.

This year provides many opportunities for your business to adapt to the changing retail climate. Through new customer experiences and a focus on loyalty, brand and data you have the opportunity to stand out. Offering your customers finance could create a new way to make their purchase possible and improve their experience. With a simple application form, real time decisions and a finance product tailored to their needs, it could be the best next step for your business in 2019.

*Altus Group

**Deloitte Trends