These are 5 of the most important trends that retailers must know moving into 2019.
1. Brand loyalty and brand values go hand in hand
More than 60% of customers have stated that they would discontinue purchasing from a preferred brand if they found that the brand's values failed to align with their own. It's therefore essential that retailers continue to uphold their brand values and ensure they meet the preferences of consumers. Customers are becoming more aware of sustainable practices, ethical sourcing, and eliminating plastics, and retailers should take note. Brands who remain on par with customer values tend to retain customer loyalty.
2. Growing competition means price optimization is essential
Competition in the retail sector is growing like never before. It's therefore essential that retailers optimize the price of their items to ensure they are able to compete effectively. Customers are not always seeking the cheapest option, rather they are generally seeking the best value. Providing additional services, or improved customer experience can mean customers are willing to pay an increased price. This also means that inefficient and costly practices should be reduced in order to increase margins without increasing prices.
3. Shopping channels are no longer clearly defined
Amazon, the king of e-commerce, now has physical stores. The lines between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail are continuing to blur as channels of retail begin to overlap. More and more customers want to be able to seamlessly move between e-commerce and physical locations without any hesitation. This often means a desire for click-and-collect, returning e-commerce products in-store, and being able to view in-store inventory online. As the channels continue to blur, new challenges will arise that retailers will need to meet in order to remain competitive.
4. Competition continues to change the game
With a growing number of competitors, retailers need to get their customers attention in new and exciting ways. For many companies, this has meant an increased social media presence to meet customers where they are. Brands are continuing to utilize platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat to advertise products, announce sales or events, and to track reviews. Recent surveys have shown these methods to be effective, as more and more customers utilize social media to inform purchasing decisions.
5. Customers demand accuracy
Customers want what they want, and they are often unwilling to compromise, especially when your competition is willing to give them what they want. That's why it's essential that retailers understand customer demands, and make efforts to completely meet their needs. Customer demands continue to focus on visibility, accuracy, and traceability during their purchases, especially for e-commerce. Retailers will benefit from improved demand forecasting as well, allowing them to better predict what customers will need before they need it.