As 2014 draws to a close we look at some of the key trends and retail insights for brands and retailers and how this translates into plans and priorities for 2015.
Technology and Multichannel
There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about multichannel retail, and this is now a reality, if retailers do not adapt and have a strong multichannel strategy they are going to be left behind. We have seen large retailers like John Lewis and Argos invest in and adapt their business models to provide seamless multichannel experiences, and others are expected to follow.
In 2015, consumers expect to be connected anywhere, anytime and anyplace and to anything – they anticipate seamless experiences. Retailers will continue to incorporate technology into their stores, whether it is through augmented reality, digital displays, shelf edge pricing or queue systems – savvy retailers will make sure that technology is not just used for the sake of it, and that it has an intrinsic value to consumers.
Over the coming year, shoppers will demand more from stores – consumers are increasingly valuing good store layouts, easy navigation, and great product displays. In fashion stores, consumers want good fitting rooms, whilst in consumer tech, they want to be able to access the products to test them. Retailers will need to continue to invest in their store designs and brand experiences to deliver on customer expectations.
Customisation and personalisation
Customers are increasingly becoming co-creators in brands and products, and they are demanding products that demonstrate their individuality – they want products that are credible and are different to the rest. Customers are also increasingly willing to sacrifice their personal data to receive personalised products and services whether this is through loyalty schemes or beacon technology. 2015 will see a greater focus from brands on creating unique and individual products for consumers either through co-creation or effective loyalty and customer management schemes.
Retailers and brands will continue invest in point of sale (POS) displays but the focus will shift to more digital technology in design from shelf-edge talkers that update prices and offers to digital displays that can quickly adapt to the latest campaigns.
As consumer lifestyles are changing, retailers adapting their business models to become more tailored to consumer needs. We are seeing this shift with the big four supermarkets where they are opening more convenience store-sized formats. There is also a huge trend towards commuter commerce, with more retailers trialling ‘pocket-size’ versions of their stores and offering greater convenience in terms of click and collect (supporting their multichannel offering).
In 2015 retailers and brands will need to invest in their stores and brand activations to keep up with these changing consumer and retail trends.
Retailers will have to differentiate themselves from the competition through the way they serve customers to provide great customer experiences.