The past year was another exciting year for the retail industry. The landscape continues to shift and evolve as retailers embrace new customer expectations, leverage innovative capabilities, and utilize next-generation technologies to create efficiencies within their own business while providing engaging and authentic experiences for their customers. As we look forward to a new year, retailers capitalizing on the 2019 retail trends will:
- use artificial intelligence and machine learning for advanced customer service and experience internally while cutting costs and gaining efficiencies internally,
- balance investment in brick-and-mortar retail as it relates to the customer experience,
- engage their front line workforce with new tools and technologies to empower the store associate‘s ability to serve the customer,
- focus on the customer’s experience across physical and digital channels, and
- continue to innovate and evolve loyalty programs.
1. Focus on the Multi-Channel Customer Experience
With customers holding all the power in the retailer/shopper relationship, retailers are looking for new and impactful ways to create unique, relevant experiences for their customers across channels. Whether shopping online or in-store, desktop or mobile, retailers have to be ultra-focused on what the customer wants to see. Personalized experiences are becoming the norm, where the customer no longer feels like they are a faceless dollar amount, but that they are being spoken to individually when they sign in online or walk into a store. In 2019, retailers will leverage digital technology to blend channels together – enabling shoppers in store to use their mobile device to enhance their shopping experience or to continue omnichannel growth with buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) functionality. Linking channels together gives retailers the ability to focus on a uniform, frictionless customer experience – ultimately boosting customer satisfaction and driving traffic across the board.
According to Forrester Research, half of all retail sales in the US are digitally influenced. This figure will rise to 58% by 2022.
2. Continued Evolution of Traditional Loyalty Programs
Retailers are looking to improve their existing, or rolling out completely new, loyalty programs to reward customers in new ways for more activities. Gone are the days of the basic “get $X after spending $Y” equation. Retailers have moved beyond rewarding customers for only their spend to things like earning points for leaving reviews or attending in-store events. In addition to earning gift cards for spend thresholds, top loyalty programs are now offering additional incentives for top-tier members, such as exclusive access to new products and special in-store events. Emergence of digital technology has allowed loyalty to take a big step forward, linking online and in-store channels with mobile devices to allow customers full access to their loyalty account, points balance and available rewards. In turn, these loyal customers become a vital data source for retailers looking to learn about their top customers.
As many as 84% of consumers say they’re more apt to stick with a brand that offers a loyalty program.
To continue reading this report, download below.