The retail world is constantly in a state of flux. Trends change far quicker than the seasons, and stores are forced to adapt to technological advancements or be left behind.
Consumers have expectations which they know must be met to ensure return patronage. So we’re going to outline a handful of forecasts for retail in 2018, to keep you ahead of the game.
1. Complete smartphone integration
There’s no doubt about it; mobile e-commerce is only going to grow. Customers are increasingly using their smartphones to make purchases and expect online stores to be mobile friendly. Short attention spans mean that if your e-commerce store isn’t mobile responsive or working at optimum efficiency, customers won’t hesitate to swap to a direct competitors website. Ensuring that all of your systems can be accessed via smartphone is also important. Physical gift cards and loyalty cards are now just items that bulk out a wallet. Customers expect to be able to access loyalty points and promotions on their smartphones, so making sure that your POS and ERP systems can offer this is a surefire way to stay afloat in 2018.
2. Unique physical store experiences
Bricks and Mortar stores have been encountering a lashing in recent years, in competition with soaring online sales. But the act of shopping is still important for many consumers. That’s why it’s essential to give your customer’s an experience that they will remember. Stores that incorporate immersive experiences such as VR or AR, collaborate with artists and designers and offer in-house, customised solutions are far more likely to grab the attention of a passer-by.
3. Strong branding on social media
If you aren’t assuming that all of your customers are on social media, you aren’t doing it right. When you hear people talking about staying “on brand,” it’s for a fundamental reason. Having a branded presence on social media is paramount to reaching your target audience. This doesn’t mean constantly pumping out sales material – it means knowing what your target market likes to eat, where they hang out on the weekends and what activities they’re interested in. It means engaging in their lifestyle and sharing relevant content that they will like, click on and share. There might be thousands of businesses selling a similar product to your own, so it’s the brand that you create around your product that will really grab people’s attention.
4. Omnichannel analytics
Data, data, data! This is how we make all business decisions. But what happens when data just gets too overwhelming? When you have to monitor ten different data inputs and then sit down and compare them all? It’s time-consuming and confusing. That’s why omnichannel analytics is essential for 2018. It’s quicker, easier and assists you to make more informed business decisions. Imagine being able to view all of your analytics in one easy-to-read format? Having a POS system that integrates seamlessly with your ERP will streamline your data, and make your life much easier!
5. Superior purchasing convenience
Making your e-commerce store mobile-friendly isn’t the only way to provide a more convenient way for your customers to access and buy your product. Incorporating your online store across your social media platforms will make buying even more enticing. Encourage your audience to promote your product with buyable pins on Pinterest, online stores on Facebook and easily clickable links back to your website. Integrate a customer’s online and physical store experience by offering the ability to Click and Collect, or provide free home try-on services.
If you’re looking for a true omnichannel approach to your retail functionality in 2018, contact InfoPOS, the best point of sale system for Sage ERP.