There is a lot of buzz about what’s going on in the world of retail. This has been going on for quite a bit, especially with the rise of Amazon and internet shopping. Many assume that retail is going out the door because of how easy it is to shop online, but that isn’t necessarily true.
Don’t get us wrong, online shopping is growing as retail is falling, but retail does have a special niche that online shopping will never be able to fill.

These trends will dictate the future of retail

One thing brick-and-mortar stores have that online shopping can’t provide? A personalized experience of sorting through tangible items. Sure, you can scroll through your phone and browse items with pictures and descriptions, but that’s not the same as seeing things in person, especially for personalized items like clothing.

Brands can also perpetuate their own culture in brick-and-mortar stores, which can’t be replicated in any way, not even with a strong web design. Everything from the ambiance, to the smells and vibes you get from staff and turn a shopping chore into an experience that you can take with you.

New levels of retail merchandising will also offer an interactive approach that cannot be replicated online. This will go hand-and-hand with the culture brands will look to animate for their customers.

This is one way a brand’s culture can really come to life

In any business setting, efficiency is the way of the game. To compete with rival brick-and-mortars and online retailers, artificial intelligence will introduce big data and machine learning to stores that will help them operate smarter. It will use analytics to measure customer behavior and analyze trends, which help them predict future purchases.

Expect to see more small, even pop-up stores that cater to niche consumers. They are evolving from the once, heavily-relied shopping malls. These will have dedicated staff designed to help customers feel like it’s their custom, shopping experience. Because these small stores are designed for a more specific kind of shopper, they will work to be more productive and lead to a stronger word-of-mouth reputation.

Big stores give the illusion that consumers are on their own and THAT’S what the online experience can replicate, only in a more comfortable manner. Re-creating the personal experiences of the “old days” is what will bring back the joy of shopping.

Retail stores are taking the personal experience to mobile devices as well. For the past few years, retail brick-and-mortars are utilizing SMS text marketing to send promotions and exclusive offers via text messages. We see this trend heading upwards and expect stores will leverage these more, with how much more people are becoming involved with their mobile devices. These messaging strategies have a softer, less aggressive appeal than app-based messaging (plus they don’t require consumers to have downloaded a specific app).