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The retail industry has weathered some big changes over the past few years, from the social media revolution changing the way that we see shopping to the explosion of digital marketing. What trends are shaping the new retail landscape, and what can business owners expect in the future?
According to Pew Research, 64% of Americans own a smartphone, and 52% of mobile users in the U.S. say that they check their phones a few times an hour or more, according to a Gallup poll. Amazon, one of the biggest e-commerce companies in the world, says that it has more mobile shopping users than Facebook users. Consumers can even use their phones while shopping in store by checking competitor’s prices with a few swipes. What does this mean for retailers?
Large-scale security breaches at retail giants like Target, Home Depot, and Neiman Marcus have companies thinking about a better way to pay. When the EMV rollout hits full force, retailers will have to adjust if they don’t want to be liable for fraudulent charges. From upgrading existing POS software, to purchasing a card converter, small business owners in particular will have to think creatively in light of this change.
With the economy starting to pick back up, workers have more options for employment. In order to retain top talent, business owners will have to provide competitive wages and schedules. Large scale retailers like Wal-Mart and Abercrombie and Fitch have recently raised their minimum wages and have begun to phase out on-call scheduling. Retailers are beginning to tap into the idea that happier employees lead to better customer service.
With the upswing in the economy also comes the move away from heavy discounting. To compensate for the lack of options on sale, companies are beginning to emphasize quality over price. Part of this is making the brick and mortar model a “shopping experience.” Millennials are starting to have increased amounts of disposable income, and research shows that they are willing to spend a little more for an experience.
Omnichannel has been a buzzword in retail circles lately, though many shop owners may not be familiar with it. Omnichannel shopping is simply the act of shopping through different means, like brick and mortar, online, mobile, and telephone sales. The novelty of this is using several of these channels at once. For example, a customer may research the best TVs via mobile while shopping in Best Buy, then use a price comparison app to ensure that they are getting the best deal available. Omnichanneling will become increasingly important for storeowners, so they should use it to their advantage before becoming outdated.
There has been a shift in advertising from globalization to personalization in recent years. Thanks to modern technology, Facebook can place an ad for those shoes that you were just eyeing directly into your newsfeed. Retailers now have an unprecedented capacity to tailor advertising to the individual, and shop owners will have to keep with the curve of technology to stay afloat in an increasingly competitive market.
By keeping an eye on technological trends and by having the ability to adapt, retailers and small business owners will be well-equipped to tackle the future of retailing.
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