Forecasting digital trends in retail is never a straightforward task. There are always new buzzwords being thrown around, and the field is increasingly populated by emerging tech providers who claim their solution is ripe to become the next big thing in retail.
That being said, it is undeniable that the current moment is an exciting one for retailers and that there are indeed certain technology trends in retail that are poised to live up to the hype. So, how can you determine the right tactics to pursue for your business?
First, it is essential to understand the context within which you’re operating and then narrow down the solutions that make the most sense. Let’s look at where the industry stands and a few of the current trends that are worth paying attention to.
Business is booming
As reported by Handelsblatt earlier this month, German retailers ended the first half of the year with an unexpectedly large increase in sales due to significant relaxation of pandemic-related restrictions. In June, the income of German retailers rose by a notable 4.6 percent compared to the previous month. The Federal Statistics Office reported that areas hit particularly hard by the pandemic, such as the clothing trade, recorded especially strong growth.
“Open shops and consumers willing to spend – that goes well together,” commented the chief economist of Bankhaus Lampe, Alexander Krüger, on the upward trend. In the entire first half of the year, retail sales grew by 3.2 percent.
How to capitalize on the moment
These are certainly encouraging numbers, but it can still be hard to know how to maximize your opportunities with so much buzz going on.
A recent report by the software company Adobe aims to help. The Digital Trends 2021: Retail in Focus provides a comprehensive overview of insights from professionals worldwide in the fields of marketing, advertising, e-commerce, creativity, and technology. Here are a few of the key takeaways:
Understand that customers want it both ways
For retailers who have the option, focusing on hybrid stores is a solid strategy for capitalizing on the current moment. Due to the switch between lockdown and opening, digital shopping, and in-person shopping, customer needs have basically been in a constant state of flux over the last several months. This has also impacted the customer journey, which has had to constantly adapt to the new circumstances at play. If retail players want to assert themselves after the pandemic, they should improve the customer journey through digital touchpoints.
Maintain a strategic focus on mobile
As a result of the pandemic, mobile apps and website orders have become solidly incorporated into many people’s day-to-day behavior. Even as we return to the ‘new normal,’ the role of mobile will remain indispensable. Therefore, any retailer looking to stay relevant in the future needs to constantly improve their mobile presence and ensure they can support contactless payment methods.
Personalization matters more than ever
In order to set yourself apart in an increasingly saturated market, it is critical to make an impression on your customers. And more than ever–people want to be treated like friends when shopping, be it through Ecommerce or in-person retail. To bolster feelings of “this company really knows me,” businesses should look to create an omni-channel experience that covers every relevant communication opportunity and provides a streamlined customer experience.
AI has an increasingly relevant role to play
Artificial intelligence is becoming more integral to the retail sector with every day that passes. Now is the moment for companies to seize this opportunity and replace outdated technologies with the exciting new possibilities offered by AI. By capitalizing on this technology trend early, brands will be able to create a unique customer experience that will strengthen the bond with the company over the long term.
How to apply digital trends in retail
These are some of the bigger trends to bear in mind over the next couple of years—but as always with digital, there are many things to tackle and take into consideration. How do you implement all these tactics and trends in order to benefit from them with your own business? Get in touch to speak with one of our experts about crafting a tailored plan to implement digital trends into your retail marketing strategy.