Ten Top Retail Trends For 2017

trends-2017-on-computer-150Retailers have a pretty good idea which trends need addressing in the coming year -- and beyond. They're well aware that the retail (r)evolution includes all-encompassing categories such as consumer trends, seamless omnichannel strategies, the increasing inter-dependability of retail and technology, mobile (and mobile device) usage, big data analytics, cloud-based technology, and, of course, pricing and profit. Focussing on what retailers must do to survive and thrive in the complex and challenging marketplace, here are some of the key retail trends for the coming year:  

1.  Mobile Becomes The #1 Most Impactful Future Trend. 

Consumers' increasing use of mobile at every stage of the shopping process is impressive.When it came to "Which consumer trends do you believe will have the greatest impact on your industry in the next 10 years?" ... The emergence and use of mobile devices is the trend North American marketers listed first in survey results: 

Marketers' Most Influential Consumer Trends in the Next 10 Years

Marketers' Most Influential Consumer Trends

 

According to data just compiled by MarketTrack, Mobile had the #1 effect on the just completed holiday shopping season. Retailers are increasing their use of mobile marketing strategies, especially with regard to online sales. This past Black Friday, online sales exceeded expectations and set records, with Adobe reporting that Black Friday online sales alone brought in $3.34 billion, $1.2 billion of that in mobile revenue. 

Data from ComScore indicates that "mobile now represents 65 percent of all digital media time, with mobile apps dominating that usage." The data show that desktop has lost 12 percentage points since 2013 and has receded to 35 percent of digital time spent. "That’s not to say the desktop isn’t important anymore... most e-commerce transactions are still taking place on the PC, and a multi-platform strategy is critical," they say. However, many marketers and brands still treat the desktop as the primary area of focus, which is way out of alignment with consumer behavior.  

"Many marketers and brands still treat the desktop as the primary area of focus, which is way out of alignment with consumer behavior." 

2.  Advanced Marketing Analytics Need Revving Up.

The "Need for more advanced marketing analytics" was #3 on the list of Marketers' Most Influential Consumer Trends in the Next 10 Years (above).  

The tools for advanced marketing analytics are ready and waiting. It's more a question of retailers becoming more advanced in their use of said tools. In an eMarketer survey of Senior B2B marketers and business leaders, respondents listed the use of predictive analytics capabilities... to increase revenues; improve customer engagement; design more targeted and personalized communications... and use price optimization to maximize profits.  

Goals for Developing Predictive Analytics Capabilities

chart-predictive-analytics-emarketer-may-2016

 

3.  Price Is Always A PRIME Concern.

According to MarketTrack's 2016 Shopper Insight Series Survey, price remains the most important factor for consumers when deciding where to shop during the holidays. Nearly 70% of shoppers cited lowest price—either on the majority of items on their list, or on the most expensive item—as the most influential factor in where they would spend most of their holiday budget: 

markettrack-shot-showing-price-inclinations

MarketTrack's 2016 Shopper Insight Series Survey

The survey also noted that, in an effort to drive traffic to stores (reflecting the growing pressure stores are feeling from eCommerce competition), discounts increased this past holiday season. It was also a question of WHEN retailers (and Amazon) discounted. The study observed that Amazon was consistently competitive on price, and that Amazon also provided a seamless purchase experience. Nevertheless, nearly 80% of shoppers (for electronics) said they planned to compare prices at two or more retailers before making a purchase online. 

Nearly 80% of shoppers (for electronics) said they planned to compare prices at two or more retailers before making a purchase online.

4.  Private Label Use By More & More Retailers. 

We are now seeing how big a part private label is becoming as a defensive and offensive tool in the retail picture as more retailers go private.  We've written about private label advantages and its practitioners several times, namely: 6 Ways Retailers Gain Control By Using Private Labels  and 10 Advantages of Private Label Branding.

5.  Brands Selling Directly To Consumer.

Manufacturers are gaining opportunities to reach consumers independently of retailers. B2B technology enables manufacturers to do better business directly with retailers. It allows direct contact and shorter lines to communication. Many brands have found it convenient and profitable to sell direct to the consumer via their own websites. 

6. Retailers Embrace Cloud-Based Technology. 

The increasing complexity of retailing and the maturing of cloud-based services converge. Five quick benefits of using cloud-based technology are: Costs, Capacity, The Latest Technology, Flexibility, and Frees You To Focus On Your Business. (Why Retailers Are Embracing Cloud-Based Technology - Internet Retailer).  

7. Retailers Innovate To Make Their Stores More Interesting. There's no end to the news of what retailers are doing to create unique, memorable, effective customer experiences. You'll see it if you follow retail news sources regularly, and you'll see some examples at How Today's Retailers Are Striving To Provide Unique Customer Experiences.  

8. We'll Always Have... Consumer Trends.

 "2017 will favor retailers who come up with smart, bold ways to personalize and elevate every aspect of the shopping experience." (Vend).

There's no end to the importance and complexity of consumer trends. The Top 5 Consumer-Driven Trends in Retail (according to BazaarVoice) are: 

Shopping is social. Mobile. Omnichannel equals a seamless experience. Big data can uncover unprecedented insight. Millennials are setting the tone.

9. Amazon "Amazons" on.

Amazon continues to grow, expand, and threaten all other forms of retail. If "Google" can become a word, so can "Amazon", as in "to Amazon someone" or "To be Amazoned." Amazon wins, hands down in price comparisons, but stores are still favored for providing in-store, "in-person subject matter expertise, immediacy of fulfillment, and unique shopping experiences." (MarketTrack). Among Amazon's ongoing basic advantages are Prime membership program, assortment, and being consistently competitive on price.

10. Some "Under The Radar" / Stealth Predictions for 2017.  

Forbes asked several retail experts: "What do you predict will be the stealth trends of 2017... small but notable activities of today that will influence retail in 2017?" Responses included: 

***Digital marketplaces will rule. 

***Retailers will begin to shop just like consumers in connected B2B marketplaces.

***Men will play a more important role as shoppers and targets of retailers: (Today's male is seen as aspirational, self-determined, manly but not macho, and certainly not feminine). This rise of men as prime targets of the marketplace is called, "The Menaissance".

***Millennials will prefer smaller, more focused shopping, which bodes for smaller, more specialized stores.

Bottom line for your bottom line:  

It remains imperative for retailers to:

Keep a constant eye on the competitive landscape. (What we've been saying all along)...  ...Invest in tools that make sense. ...Keep your eye on the future. ...Keep your mind open. ...Think Different... 

Finally, accept that you may not know what might be around the corner, or up in the sky, like an airship or blimp being used as a flying warehouse!!!  

REFERENCES/CITATIONS

-- Marketers' Most Influential Consumer Trends in the Next 10 Years.  MarketingCharts for New York American Marketing Association (NY AMA) and BrandSpark, in association with Dapresy  

--  2016 Shopper Insight Series Survey.  MarketTrack

-- All digital growth now coming from mobile usage. comScore  

-- Goals for developing predictive analytics capabilities. eMarketer

-- Why Retailers Are Embracing Cloud-Based Technology. Internet Retailer  

-- The Top 5 Consumer-Driven Trends in Retail. Bazaarvoice.      

-- Twelve forecasts for the Retail Industry in 2017. Vend  

-- Four Holiday Challenges, article in Commercially Retail. MarketTrack  

-- Price plans for Holiday Season Shopping. MarketTrack  

-- 7 Under-the-radar retail trends for 2017. Forbes  

 

 

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Naomi K. Shapiro

About Author

A seasoned market communications specialist, Naomi headed public information for several academic and professional associations and was the founder and CEO of award-winning agency, Creative Brilliance Strategic Marketing Communications. She created and published Brilliant Ideas for Publishers Magazine and authored popular newspaper trade reference, The Brilliant Book of Promotions, Sales Tools & Special Events. Simultaneously, Naomi savored the world as an adventure travel writer that included trekking on glaciers, fishing with saltwater crocodiles and swimming with piranhas. Naomi holds her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, including participation in a unique industry-science-technical writing program.
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