Staying ahead of the pack is almost impossible with how fast technology changes any industry.
But don’t worry. We have you covered.
Here are some of the biggest retail trends to prepare for in 2016:
- You Must Focus on E-Commerce Sales
Research by Forrester predicts e-commerce sales will hit $327 billion in 2016, up from $202 billion in 2011. Even if you are a traditional brick-and-mortar with an online store, you’ll have to focus more of your time and money on the digital part of your business.
If you think you have this mastered, know it’s changing fast. Social media and increased online shopping with smartphones means consumers have more ways to interact with your company – but they still want a consistent experience.
It’s harder to pull off than it seems.
- Businesses Need to Tell Compelling Stories
Gideon D’Arcangelo of ESI Design says this must happen for a new experience to stay firmly implanted in customer’s minds.
And this makes sense when you think about it. Instead of driving down the road to another competitor, your customers spend 30 seconds visiting your store online. If they don’t like what they see, they know they have limitless competing options to check out online.
- Many Retailers Will Offer Value-Added Services that Support Their Products
Home Depot is a famous example of this. Did you know they don’t make much money on their products?
Instead, their profits come from the services they sell to support those products. For example, they sell you tiles for your bathroom – and a class to teach you how to do the tiling too.
Another great example is Best Buy’s Geek Squad. They’ll deliver your new TV and recycle your old for you. And they can fix any computer problem you have.
So if you’re struggling with low profit margins, consider what problems your customers have that you could design services to solve.
- An Exceptional E-Commerce Experience
We kind of beat it to death at times, but Zappos, a high-end online clothing retailer owned by Amazon, really pulls this off well. They have $500 million or more in revenues, so they’re a great example of a big company doing things right.
In terms of experience, customers need it fast and now, and they want to know they’re getting exactly what they need. Check out this product page, and click the “video” button for example.
You get a 40-second video of the product in action and a brief overview of the top benefits of the product.
The video’s fast and gives all the necessary information so customers can quickly make up their minds. You also get gorgeous, crystal-clear images from all angles.
This leaves no doubt in the customer’s mind as to what they get. On top of that, Zappos offers free shipping both ways, including up to 1 year to return the product at no charge.
Now there’s absolutely no risk in the eyes of customers in that situation. What a great online experience!
That’s What We See in 2016! What Will You Focus On?
There’s probably more trends happening than you can possibly work on.
Which do you think will be most important for your business in 2016 and beyond?