Top Retail Trends for 2016
In the past few years, standard retail has literally gone out of the window. Taking its place now, is a hybrid of technology, personalized service, and seamless transactions. 2015 was the year of global expansion and e-commerce blending with pop-up and physical store formats from brands like Birchbox.
What will 2016 bring? Here are our proposed trends for 2016:
There is no more important priority for retailers today than the ability to serve, promote and engage customers seamlessly across online and physical channels. This requires a redo of a retailer’s infrastructure around a unified platform that consolidates key elements traditionally housed in multiple systems.
Growth of off-pricers
Add Lord & Taylor to the burgeoning list of traditional department store retailers opening off-price offshoots. The company’s Find @ Lord & Taylor format, which debuted in November in Paramus, N.J., joins the likes of Macy’s Backstage, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off 5th, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Bloomingdale’s, The Outlet and others selling brand-name goods at steep discounts.
Mobile, mobile and more mobile
Mobile devices have become essential tools to customers, who are using them for everything from redeeming coupons to researching products to buying product. The role of mobile devices in retail cannot be overstated. Don’t have WiFi in your store?? Better get on the bandwidth—and sooner rather than later.
From augmented reality experiences to “magic” mirrors in the fitting rooms to interactive widow displays, merchants are investing in new technologies to improve the experience the physical store.
Athleisure still trending
Fueled by the likes of Lululemon, Nike and Athleta, more and more women (now men and kids, too) are embracing workout clothes for every day life. And brands are responding by upping the fashion quotient of everything from sneakers to Lycra pants. With brands like Dick’s Sporting Goods (via its new Chelsea Collective format) and Tory Burch now entering the fray, there’s no telling how big the industry can expand.
The Bridgewater Commons in New Jersey proves the market can support multiple athleisure retailer – including special offerings for kids and men. The mall sports Fabletics (Kate Hudson even made a personal appearance), Lululemon, Athleta and Ivivva (Lululemon Kids’ girls athletic apparel) along with selections at anchors.
Clicks to bricks
Call it the Warby Parker effect, but more and more digital retailers are realizing that physical stores are central to omnichannel retailing. The need to provide a seamless online to in-store experience (and vice versa) is only expected to gain more momentum going forward.
Cookie-cutter stores and cookie-cutter merchandise mixes don’t cut it anymore. Store formats, product mixes and promotional offerings that are tailored to local audiences have the best chances of success in today’s hyper-competitive market.
Empowered store associates
Equipping associates with the right technology—with tools that can provide a 360-degree view on customers and inventory data among other things—allows for a more personalized selling experience and increased conversions.
More and more retailers are thinking smaller, often using in-store kiosks to spotlight product that downsized footprints can’t accommodate.
Consumers’ desire for the rapid interpretation of runway fashion at value prices shows no signs of abating. Most recently, global import Primark make its U.S. debut, in Boston, with plans to spread out across the Northeast.
Social networks as shopping platforms
From Facebook’s “Buy” button to Instagram’s “Show Now” features, social sites are increasingly adding sales to their mix. Retailers need to respond to this growing phenomenon—or risk getting left behind.
Physical stores as fulfillment hubs
Whether it’s buy online, pick up in store or at curb side, physical stores are uniquely suited to provide the ultimate in flexibility with regards to online delivery choices.
Technologies like fingerprint systems, facial recognition, iris scanning and voice identification are a natural fit for retailers.
Improved data and analytics at store level
Finding out who is shopping the store, teamed with beacons, apps and central order management, represents a huge opportunity for retailers to improve in-store performance.
Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker
Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Northeast powder hound. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. SVP Marketing and Business Development, Doodle owner and lover of all things chocolate.