Thursday, 12 May 2016 04:15

6 Retail Trends of 2016

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In the context of modern retail market oversaturation and high competition business development is usually related to poaching clients from other companies. In order to be ahead of the curve retailers and shopping centers should be able to adjust quickly to constantly changing customer behavior.

The most important task for retail business is to understand the direction of market changes. We live in fascinating times and watch new technologies come into being. At the same time some fears can’t but come to one’s mind:

- What will be important for customers in half a year?

- What trends will involve more investments in the future?

- How will the digital technologies influence the traffic in physical stores?

Despite the inconsistent and unpredictable nature of retail business, even in such state of uncertainty, there are trends determining  the customer behavior for the whole year.

Based on acquired data the UFATECH company has drawn a unique report, consisting of 6 trends to influence the retail business in 2016.

#1 Customer Preferences Are Changing Faster than Retail Supply

Even the most flexible companies are usually one step behind the customer needs simply because their desires are emerging exponentially. Many retailers and shopping centers can accumulate large amounts of customer behavior data, but the problem is that by the time this data is estimated and analyzed it becomes outdated.  

The main task of companies at market is to invest into high-grade solutions for customer behavior analysis that will draw reports on a real-time basis. With this in mind one will be able to react to market fluctuations instantly, being prepared for predicted customer behavior.

#2 Lessons Learned Are Going to Determine the Company Success

With ever increasing frequency repletion of buyer wants means more than delivery of quality goods or services. At present clients can choose among a great variety of places and ways to make a purchase, and many of them make decisions spontaneously. That’s why retailers have to understand that one-time purchase does not guarantee customer returning to the same store, so one have to be able to fill up the time between store visits. With this end in view one can use social networks, fostering relationship with customers. So as to utilize this information channel, one should gain an insight into buyer interests, preferences, hobbies and factors, influencing the choice of this or that product. Consequently the whole matter boils down to studying the customer behavior in stores.

#3 All Business Elements Are to Be Customer Oriented

In 2016 an ability to be consistent with customer expectations is going to imply not only understanding their needs - the client should also become the focus of all company segments.

The current trends, as against to the previous periods, will claim not only company development strategy adjustment, but also the development of a brand new top-to-bottom structure, its elements being united by one task – defining and studying retail business as a complex of customers, their needs, and factors, influencing their behavior. For the purpose of effective management of the new structure one should get rid of barriers, preventing the information distribution inside the company. In such a way you will be able to get the necessary message to customer oriented teams, so that they can get a better understanding of the problem and make timely decisions.

# 4 Shopping Is Turning into Entertaiment

Throughout a long period of time we have been watching one tendency of a great interest – the customers more than ever prefer the shopping centers with well-developed entertainment infrastructure. Development of E-commerce has created a universal trading platform, offering the widest variety of goods, all in one place. The physical retail stores don’t have such an advantage, and they have to find something to present in exchange. The idea of attracting the customers to shopping centers has taken the form of the new entertainment facilities, such as cinemas, bowling alleys, amusement machines and food courts, of course. Far and away the customer traffic in shopping and entertainment centers will keep growing in 2016. Some analysts claim that the established commerce forms will soon shift their boundaries, and we will see the entertainment objects integrated into stores. For example, you will be able to buy farm grown vegetables in a restaurant. While we are getting ready to such changes, one can’t but mention that such new forms of commerce will definitely increase the importance of some business metrics, especially the engagement time and follow-up calls data, as far as the assessment of shopping and entertainment center efficiency is concerned.

# 5  Internet of Things Will Fill the Gaps in Customer Behavior Research

Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most hotly debated topics in the field of technologies today. Despite different treatments of integration and interaction of technologies issue, the year 2015 was very significant for this idea to start ruling the minds of people and for the first carried out projects to appear. Scientists predict the 30% growth of interacting things in 2016, but the reality is that it might turn out to be many times greater.

As IoT is expanding, retailers, thinking one step ahead the others, will use the new technologies for business development and creation of first-rate service. For instance, if there is a line to a fitting room, the camera will give a signal to control unit, and the extra fitting rooms will be opened. Another reason to use IoT in retail business will be the need to utilize analytics in the real-time mode, so as to affect the customer behavior and motivate them to make purchases.

# 6 Mobile Technologies Will Tell Much More about Customers

In the days of social networks and communication means development we are all trying to be online constantly, and the greatest part of information sharing is connected with mobile devices. Nevertheless most Russian retail market companies use mobile technologies for communication with customers only, but not as data providers. At the same time the informational trace, left by store visitor’s smart phone or tablet, should never be underestimated. The modern technologies allow tracking the customer paths, using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies. Retail companies, that can find an instrument to process this data, will be able to find out what the client paths and visiting hours for every store are. This way they will get a more detailed portrait of client and create a better service. As all the mobile devices have unique MACs, shopping centers and stores will be able to make the difference between regular and first-time customers.


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