Three things to look out for in 2019 by David Buckingham, CEO, Ecrebo

The retail industry continues to evolve, shaped by advances in technology, changing consumer behaviour and increased competition. As we start the new year, what are the key trends retailers should be capitalising on?

More technology in-store
Retailers are doing all they can to stay relevant and remain on the high street. But with consistently declining footfall, they need to do more. It is here that technology can play an important role, not just in enticing customers back into stores, but also in bringing many of benefits of the online shopping experience into the offline space. After all, online is enabled by technology.

Tech doesn’t have to be gimmicky and difficult to implement. It is often the more practical solutions that empower shoppers and staff and help to streamline the in-store experience, that deliver the most value. Within the store, this can include digital signage and digital displays, which combined with multifunctional self-service kiosks, can significantly improve efficiency. Shoppers can easily find items, check stock levels and select click and collect or home delivery options. But they can also be used to further experiential marketing efforts by visualising what a particular outfit looks like matched with certain accessories.

More personalisation
Shoppers have come to expect personalisation; targeted, relevant offers based on their needs and preferences, both online and offline. Retailers can use personalisation to increase visit frequency and improve customer retention, and it will continue to play a significant role in the coming year. This ties back to my earlier point of more technology, where at the point of sale, it can positively help personalisation efforts. Data captured at the POS can be used to return targeted, relevant offers, discounts and value-added information – all in real-time – based upon shoppers’ past purchase behaviour or basket contents. Personalisation remains key to future, sustainable success.

More consolidation
Tasked with driving efficiency and profitability, retailers are increasingly adding concessions in-store to make the most effective use of their space. Traditionally, we’ve seen this in the grocery sector, but we’ll see it extend to other verticals, such as fashion, too.

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