Technology’s influence is so strong in today’s world that it is starting to drive trends rather than just being a response to them. In retail, it’s playing an equally large part as many of the trends that are shaping the market seem to be a confluence between the consumer behavior and tech. Here are the 10 trends that will drive retail according to Synchrony Financial and what they mean for retailers.
1. Interactive shopping experiences. There’s a lot of research that shows that not only do consumers value experiences over owning things, but they will pay a premium for the experiences they think are worth it. This spans all income groups and generations.
The most innovative retailers are leveraging this trend to get consumers into stores by transforming stores into experiences themselves. Think Williams Sonoma with its in-store cooking classes and REI with its rock climbing walls.
Offering these kinds of experiences entice the consumer to stay in the store longer, browse more and feel more connected to the brand.
2. Augmented and virtual reality. Brands in all consumer product categories are using virtual reality for advertising purposes, not only for 360-degree and 3-D videos, but also for content creation with immersive storytelling and product demonstrations to help consumers experience the products in a way they wouldn’t have before.
A great example of how a virtual reality app can create excitement and engagement is the über- popular Pokémon Go game.
3. Healthy living. Consumer spending on healthy living goods continues to grow.
The Organic Trade Association said consumer demand for organic food has grown by double digits almost every year since the 1990s. Meanwhile, the number of gyms, health clubs and fitness clubs has grown over the past five years while sales for products related to the segment have grown and athleisure has drastically expanded as an apparel category.
4.The “robot invasion.” While not something quite as dramatic as what you might see in the movies, robots have quietly been making their way into the retail segment, mainly in the areas of logistics and customer service.
Some retailers also have brought robots and artificial intelligence into the store, where they have been used to identify products, retrieve items in the warehouse for shoppers and instantly order products.
Target, for example, recently started testing Tally, a robot that travels through the aisles and takes inventory.