Retail trends and predictions for 2020

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Working to predict the future is an essential part of good business, particularly in the retail sector.  Retail trends move quickly. Part of the challenge of being successful in this space is acknowledging the challenges and opportunities that will drive growth.  With this in mind, we offer you some predictions for 2020.  Here are the trends we expect to be important.

The retail apocalypse is no longer nigh

For a long time, retail experts have been predicting the end of the high street.  The retail apocalypse caused by online shopping sites was thought to be inevitable.  However, the same experts are now changing the prediction and are hopeful that the bricks-and-mortar shop will survive.  The saviour of the shop is the need for a human being to experience something sensual.  We buy with our emotions, and these are all too often stimulated by what we see, hear, smell and touch.

Imagine the difference in buying an Apple computer from the internet or the store.  Apple has managed to create such a customer experience in the shop that people wander in to have a bit of a play.  Not all these browsers will buy.  However, those seeking an instore experience are more likely to make the journey to the checkout. Your merchandise marketing techniques cannot influence the people who never enter the store.

Therefore, the retail sector needs to be acutely aware of the importance of customer experience. How can they add value to the trip to the shop that could never be replicated online?  It might be as simple as free taster events instore or as complicated as live-action events that you heavily trail.

Guard your reputation

The consumer will look to your ethics and your values and demand they match with theirs.  The 2020 consumer will be concerned with issues of sustainability, trade practices and labour practices.  If you take short cuts that damage the planet or take advantage of lesser opulent populations, then your reputation will suffer.

Your customers are paying attention to your business practices, and they will support you if they feel you care.  87% of people polled in America in 2017 said they would buy from a company that advocated social and environmental issues.  In the same poll, 76% said they would not buy from a company with different standards to their own.

One of the essentials of the coming year is to protect your reputation as if it is the only thing that matters.  You might find that it is the most vital asset you have to protect your future.

Be agile but resist change for change sake

Being agile is a new buzz term.  When a sector changes with such speed, it becomes essential to be responsive.  However, this does not mean you have to change again and again just for the sake of appearing agile.  You do not have to reinvent the wheel.  There are no new ideas – just old ideas applied to new contexts.  Therefore, look at your current pain points and consider how you can address these.

To maintain efficiency, you need to understand where the change you can manage is essential.  Being agile is not about changing all the time but having the reflective methods in place that allow you to change when it is necessary to grow.

Social media is your friend

You may resent the growing power of digital marketing. However, with every threat in this volatile world is also an opportunity.  Aligning your online and offline context is going to maximise your growth.  People want to see you present on social media.  They would like to be a part of your community.  Therefore, you need to make your followers feel special.  Give them opportunities – they could learn about a sale before anyone else; you can offer discounts available only to social media followers; you could market events only on social media.

Although Facebook and Twitter are still the big brothers of all social media, there is a lot of opportunity on Instagram and YouTube to create a buzz around your products. Influencers with YouTube channels can market your products to thousands and sometimes millions of people.  Such is the power of such influencers that some have gone on to be millionaires themselves!  It is a good idea to use the power of their voice for your retail experience.

And finally

Think about flexible payment schemes.  Ticketmaster allows people to put off payments for 30 days or to spread the payment over three months.  Therefore, the shopfront stores will need to think about how they can innovate payment strategies to compete with this flexibility.