The New Year brings with it the opportunity to unveil new predictions related to retail trends. Staying ahead of the curve is reliant on being on top of market expectations and anticipating how trends and forecasts will affect your retail business. Tapping into the insights of industry experts is the best way to get your understanding of what to expect in the year to come. We’ve summarized some top opinions for you here.

Retail As A Service

Retail has become more than simply shopping; it is an all-round experience. If businesses don’t offer a full-spectrum service as part of their retail experience, they might find that they start to fall short. Brand loyalty and personalised service are two ways that businesses can harness retail as a service for their own benefits, but it doesn’t end there.

Independent retailers have an advantage here, because they can mould their retail experience to suit their target markets. Many add-ons make the retail experience come alive, such as in-store activations, free gift wrapping, offering free Wi-Fi or even a delicious cup of coffee. How you choose to treat and indulge your customers will reflect in how your customers respond to you as a retail offering, and sometimes that means a complete reinvention of the way you present your business.

Customer Experience Will Continue To Drive Retail

If retail were a vehicle, customer experience would be in the drivers’ seat. Customers now engage with retail brands on multiple platforms and they resonate with the brand and its familiarity. Carrying this branding and experience through to land-based stores is an essential element of maintaining a fluid and enjoyable experience.

It’s more than personalised communication, seamless transactions and polite service. Brands are recognising the importance of having the right staff on board to maintain the brand experience. When a customer engages with a slick and intuitive application interface, only to find that the offline, instore experience is presented by lacklustre staff with little enthusiasm for their work, the overall customer experience falls short.

But when brands get it right… customers bathe in the glory of being treated like retail royalty, even if only for a few minutes. Staff who can answer questions, offer advice, make recommendations that are founded on real experience; these are the people who help customer experience remain in the driver’s seat for their retail employers.

Ensuring Employees Carry The Retail Flag High

In line with the previous point, having staff onboard who are invested in the brand and business will also carry the brand flag high. Proper treatment of staff is key in reducing staff turnover and preventing your customer experience falling flat. Employees who are disengaged and unhappy at work will not go above and beyond to treat customers with respect and professionalism. It’s an essential building block in retail success.

Data Will Work Hard For Brands

Data has always played a big role in the positive evolution of brands in the retail space. It’s been a factor in determining direction and strategy, and it helps brands understand where their efforts are being wasted or rewarded. Having access to clean, quality data is of vital importance in order to use it to its full advantage. Investing in data cleaning services and data verification are key methods of ensuring that the data you receive is of premium quality.

Why do you want access to quality data? In order to ensure that when addressing your customers or pulling up their accounts, you know everything you can about them. You cannot address customer experience issues if you don’t have a clear picture of who your customers are. Quality data will produce customer data that can include personal specifics, purchase history and loyalty information.

Make the move towards a positive retail experience in 2019. Don’t know how? We’ll show you or do it for you. Get in touch.

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