3 key trends that drive your retail business in 2016

Do you want to prepare for the future of shopping? It is high time to look at the key trends and innovations that are changing the retail industry today and at least try to adjust your e-Commerce business accordingly. Retail landscape is constantly evolving, striving for perfection in customer experience. And if you want to stay at the forefront of the market, you’ll have to keep pace with the industry leaders.

  1. 1.       Blurring the boundaries

The two, as it may seem, separate worlds – online and offline retail – are coming closer together, mixing up the traditional shopping experience of those, who prefer brick-and-mortar stores over web surfing and vice versa, into the unified comprehensive customer journey.

More and more online retailers tend to open offline stores, making it one of the hottest e-Commerce trends of the year. Even the most renown online retail giant Amazon opened it’s first ‘real’ store, where customers can enjoy a special smell of ordinary paper books together with the best accumulated online shopping advantages.

Leveraging both, online and offline customer experiences will bring you to the understanding of the real power of a unified way to purchasing. Many retailers start to analyze online and in-store data together, obtaining a full view of the customer behavior. Today many customers prefer to buy the products they like in brick-and-mortar shops, but only after they searched for them online. The more user-friendly is your web store in terms of providing the necessary info about your offline locations, the wider is your customers’ circle.

  1. 2.       The power of mobile

It is quite simple: the more payment options you provide, the more happy customers you get. The rise of technologies, giving us multiple payment options, from mobile payments to EMV cards, leave the retailers no other choice rather than adopt and support the additional payment types.

Moreover, mobile will play a crucial part in click-and-collect experience. It means that people, traditionally shopping online and picking up their purchases in physical stores will do it using their smartphones. The process will be totally streamlined. The customer will be able not only to choose the item and pay for it using his phone, but also to get notifications, when his purchase is ready for pickup and call to the store, when he is near the shop so that the shop assistant could meet the customer outside and give him his purchase. Pure perfection, isn’t it? Imagine how much time it will save!

Besides, 2016 is the year of in-store tablets and mPOS systems. During the peak hours, when the queues in your brick-and-mortar store promise to never end, switching on additional payment terminals can help.

As you can see, pure offline or online retail is fading away, giving way to multichannel experience. According to Forrester forecast, cross-channel sales will reach almost $1.8 trillion only in the US by 2017.

  1. 3.       Social media as the most effective sales tool

Despite the hot arguments around social media influence, it’s hard to underestimate its value and impact on purchases. Social networks gradually become highly effective platforms for selling the products and communicating with customers in real time.

From Facebook and its ‘chat bots’ platform to Pinterest with its ‘buy buttons’, it becomes hard to ignore the real force coming from social media towards the retail industry. The solutions, such as Soldsie, raise social selling experience to the new level: you can sell through Instagram comments. What can be easier than that? Customers, who want to purchase something just leave a comment with the word ‘sold’ and the e-mail address and the app will immediately create the invoice and send it to the customer. Therefore, you’d better never stop investing in social!

Finally, there are numerous trends and innovative strategies that can change your retail business, but the key focus will still be put on Omni channel. No matter what kind of business you are dealing with, connecting online and offline will be first.

Author: Alexandra Pankratyeva

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