Are You Trending?
If my husband or daughters had to choose a t-shirt for me, I have a feeling Born to Shop might just be the one to get picked. Unlike a lot of my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, the only shopping that really gets on my nerves involves a grocery cart. Perhaps it’s because my mom took us shopping with her all the time. And yes, as the mother of five, she should be sainted just for doing that alone. But honestly, I am not bothered by crowds, noise, or overly persistent sales people. I’m able to tune all of that out and focus on what it is I’m looking for.
Since I consider myself a fairly professional shopper, I’ve done a lot of research on retail trends and wanted to elaborate on a few that I think will be most helpful to you, courtesy of an online article by Vend. Let’s see where you stand by looking at the trend and the takeaway.
Retailers who promote product quality, transparency, and sustainability will flourish. Takeaway: You’re selling fine jewelry. You don’t have to go for selling by price all the time. Go for taking a stand on the quality of what you have in your cases. Today’s customers want something that will last and is worth the investment.
Stores providing unique in-store experiences will thrive. Takeaway: Instead of something gimmicky, try honing in on something your customers will find not just cool, but helpful. For example, Crate + Barrel introduced something called mobile tote in their stores, essentially browsing shelves with a tablet and scanning barcodes on cleanly displayed shelves. When finished with shopping, the tablets could then be given to a sales associate at POS for gathering. No clunky bag or cart needed.
Retailers across the board will adopt mobile payment solutions. Takeaway: Retailers who don’t soon implement mobile payment solutions will fall behind and risk losing out on sales. And if the predictions are any indication, missing out on those sales could mean missing out on a lot of money.
Smaller stores are in; larger stores are out. Takeaway: Nobody wants to spend their precious free time wandering aisles when they don’t have to. Ease and efficiency is where it’s at, as well as a smaller space that has a smaller footprint and more specialized selections.
Personalization will become increasingly important to consumers. Burger King was ahead of their time with their “Have it your way” campaign of the 80s. Today, people have it their way from their coffee drink to the car they drive. For jewelers, the best way you can personalize is by truly getting to know your customers. When you walk in a store, even if it’s been quite some time since you have, it speaks volumes when the owner or manager still remembers you and asks pointed questions to show they’ve really listened to you and care about you as a person, not just a number at POS.
Same-day shipping will become more prominent. Takeaway: FREE shipping is so 2008. That’s a given in today’s world. Now we all want speed. Want to wow your customers? Start offering phone order during key buying times if they’re not quite ready to buy online with you. If they’re local, let them know they can pick up the item they saw online in your store, gift wrapped and ready to go, on their way home.
Retailers will continue to invest in omnichannel. Takeaway: get to know this word. It essentially means merging the online space with traditional. Think apps or mobile payment on the go paired with pick up in store ease. The Crate + Barrel example earlier in my article is an example of omnichannel shopping.
Retailtainment will pervade the industry. Takeaway: this has been getting some buzz for quite some time. It’s not going to work for everybody, but if you can find a fun spin to the way people shop with you, it may be worth the effort. My daughter just recently went prom dress shopping with a friend. This store was in the middle of nowhere, but apparently, people flock to it because the shopping experience is fun. You go in and spend a few minutes taking a style quiz and then personal stylists pick out dresses for you; even some you may not have chosen. Your profile is kept on record for future shopping and they offer a buy back program tied into a charity if you buy the dress but will never wear it again. My daughter was in and out in an hour and had a blast. Creating a memorable experience for a fringe millennial is not an easy task!
Data will continue to be a significant component of retail success. Takeaway: Use technology and analytics to scrutinize what people look at, reject, and purchase if you offer online buying. This can help you with everything from inventory management to merchandising, so you can focus on buying what your customers love, not what you love. Caught you, didn’t I?
Specialty stores will be more productive than department stores. Takeaway: You’re already ahead here. Take advantage of your smaller size to cater to a nice in-store experience. You don’t have to play rock music if it doesn’t fit your brand, or wear a polo shirt because you want to appear more approachable. You’re also not Best Buy and people aren’t coming in for HDMI cords. If you’re a luxury store, be today’s luxury store. Elegant and refined but not stuffy and snooty. Be helpful, but not pushy, and relate to your customer. Just be “you” and find what works for you.
Retailers will turn to apps, services, and third parties to fulfill the needs of modern shoppers. Takeaway: Convenience is so key. Take the example of AT&T. They partnered with personal commerce platform Enjoy to provide hand-delivery services to shoppers. With this new partnership, AT&T customers who purchase phones won’t have to swing by a store to pick up and activate their devices. Instead, they can just wait for an expert from Enjoy to hand-deliver their new phones and get them set up.
Retail and technology will become even more inseparable. Takeaway: It’s about to get weirdly cool. Think augmented reality that allows consumers to virtually experience products as they might use them in their own lives.
Not so trendy after all of this? That’s okay. But it’s key to be informed, aware, and knowledgeable, because time waits for no one and change, as we all know, is absolutely inevitable.