Euclid Analytics CEO Brent Franson provides top three retail trends he expects to see in 2017.
In 2016, we saw retailers begin to adapt to a changing retail landscape. Various brick-and-mortar retailers filed for bankruptcy while conversely, online retailers expanded into brick-and-mortar. This year, retailers sought a balance between going all in on physical retail or doubling down on eCommerce.
As the holiday shopping season comes to an end, retailers will begin to buckle down and look to the opportunities that lie ahead – so what can we expect from the evolving retail landscape in 2017?
Brick-and-mortar will revamp shopping experiences
In 2017, physical retailers will accelerate efforts to be competitive with eCommerce. They’ll certainly have taken note of industry-wide store closures: Macy’s, for example, announced it would close 15 percent of its retail stores – and it’s not the only one. Walmart, JC Penney, KMart, Sears and Kohl’s also made similar calls.
But the smart ones will know that store closures aren’t necessarily the death knell for physical retail. Instead, it’s about hitting that trifecta of maximizing your physical space, nailing digital and executing on a more effective mobile strategy. After all, Macy’s is still actively investing in their best-performing stores, even as they redirect dollars to digital.
Remember: eighty-three percent of surveyed consumers use their mobile devices while shopping. Physical retail must bring in what consumers enjoy the most about shopping online: convenience and personalization. It’s why we’re seeing more companies offer services such as fast shipping and free returns. But that won’t be enough to win.
In order be truly competitive, brick-and-mortar retailers must create more thrilling shopping experiences by focusing on providing customers with special deals, unique services, entertainment and more. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed said they like to go to stores because they can actually touch, see and hold the products before they buy. That clearly says the sensory experience of a store is a major advantage physical retailers hold over eCommerce. They should exploit it.
Retailers will get more creative on social
This year, we saw retailers boost their use of Facebook and other social media platforms. Next to family and friends, Facebook was the most popular way for consumers to find cool new products.
In 2017, look out for retailers to be more creative with Facebook and other social media platforms – anything from engaging with consumers with a more human and quirky tone or offering fun promotions you can only get through the platform.
Beacons will continue to be doomed
Beacons have struggled – the exception being Amazon’s app, which 25 per cent of consumers have on their home screens – and, much as I’d love to say otherwise, they will continue their downward trajectory.
Consumers have historically failed to adopt use cases that are hyper-granular from a location perspective. Moreover, beacons require an additional investment of time and effort, particularly with the requirement for manual adjustments every time a new promotion is available. Retailers should refocus on what they’ll get the most from: macro-level behavioral data, like how long a customer spends in the store or frequency of shopping, to shape their promotional approach.
2017 will be an interesting year for retailers – one where we will see brands land and expand. For example, businesses like Uber and Amazon established their credibility in core competencies and then expanded out from there. Physical retailers will borrow a leaf from this same playbook, thinking about novel ways to quickly get products into the hands of customers, and drumming up new in-store services that offer an unorthodox draw and a point of engagement with shoppers.
Brent Franson is CEO at Euclid Analytics