5 major trends for retailers in 2017 – and the next 5 years

January 11, 2017

You primarily shop via your smartphone. When you do visit a store, it is for the sake of the experience. You only receive offers that are tailored to you. There is always a virtual fitting room available, and if you have questions the chatbot is always on. Your goods are delivered within the hour.

With the insights from the holiday season 2016 as a starting point, we take a look into the crystal ball to give you our take on the coming years in the retail business.

#1. E-commerce will keep growing as a sales channel – especially on mobile devices

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, retailers once again set new sales records in 2016. Not surprisingly, it was the sales numbers from e-commerce via both PCs and mobile devices that hit the roof.

In Denmark at least 6 out of 10 consumers bought Christmas presents online. According to research firm comScore, the same trend was observed in the US, where the volume of Internet traffic on Black Friday was increased by 23% compared to 2015, and the volume of transactions via smartphones was increased by 34%.

We see this as a very strong indication that trade via the internet – and especially through mobile devices – will grow even more in the future.

#2. Physical stores and online stores will integrate

The Confederation of Danish Enterprise predicts that the Danish e-commerce will have doubled in 2020 if the current trends continue. Even though e-commerce is growing steadily, the analysis shows that online sales do not threaten physical stores, as every fourth transaction in the physical stores is based on previous online research on the store’s web store or website. Moreover, the consumers who do research in at least two places – such as online and in the physical store before shopping will on average buy 33% more than consumers who do not do any research.

“The physical store and the web store are no longer each other’s competitors, but complementary. The future of retail is, therefore, to integrate sales channels and create a holistic experience for customers, whether they are online or in the physical store,” says Henrik Hyltoft, Market Director at the Confederation of Danish Enterprise.

#3. Sales personnel become very crucial

Sales personnel will have a key role in the future as the sales situation instead of a mere transaction will be considered a special occasion. The sales personnel must both feature special knowledge about the products in the store, but also have social skills in order to create a nice atmosphere and experience for the customer.

A way to increase the competence level of the sales personnel is by equipping them with a mobile POS system (MPOS). This way they can meet the customers on the shop floor and manage the dialogue by looking up purchase history and inventory, and also finish the transaction by accepting payment right there on the floor.

In this video, you can meet the British retailer chain Aurum Group, where the sales personnel have a tablet in their hand when they meet the customers in the shop.

#4. Personalization online and in the store

According to the Internet media CIO, mass communication will to an even greater extent be replaced by customized offers tailored to the individual customer in order to build loyalty.

Payment apps like Apple Pay, Adyen, and Android Pay enable retailers to send customers individual offers based on their purchase history. Retailers may, for example, send customers specialized limited-time offers at the moment they enter the store, and in this way prompt a purchase.

Another example of personalized communication that is on the rise is chatterbots (customer service robots). Microsoft, Facebook and other major retail brands in the United States have already invested in this service. And it is clear why. Chatterbots can provide customers with immediate response around the clock. Although the dialogue is a simulation, it feels more human and authentic than most other marketing initiatives.

#5. Efficient delivery in focus

When an online customer has decided on a purchase, they want to have the goods delivered as soon as possible and preferably immediately. This means that many retailers in the US and England now offer One Hour Delivery. Also, there are players on the market who are in the process of developing delivery services by drone or driverless car.

In December 2016, Amazon delivered their first package by drone. Delivery time: 13 minutes.

Empower the sales staff

Learn more about NaviPartners mobile POS solution and download the app, which gives you access to POS and ERP system on all devices. As a bonus, you also get access to the webshop system, NP Ecommerce.