The retail themes of 2017 are extending into this year, with merchants still closing physical stores, shop formats remaining in flux, and mobile-based shopping becoming ever more widespread.
Customers’ influence on retail strategy is strengthening as the introduction of new purchase channels puts the shopper firmly in control and leaves retailers battling to provide the best sales experience.
1. Artificial intelligence is going mainstream, with the global AI market forecast to be worth $36 billion in 2025. From Macy’s to Starbucks, major brands are using AI and machine learning to provide customers with the likes of magic mirrors, digital assistants and robots.
2. Mobile will likely soon account for 70% of global e-commerce as it becomes better integrated into other channels including click and collect.
3. Omnichannel marketing is now nearly half a decade old, yet many retailers still struggle to realize its potential by mistakenly using it to maximize logistics and communications rather than to amplify brand experience and fulfil channel-specific preferences.
4. Hypermarket-style retailers such as Ikea and Target are opening smaller stores, either to be better placed within the urban environment or as collection points for online purchases, while supermarkets are expected to add restaurants and bars.
5. Adoption of online grocery ordering for pick up in store expanded in 2017 and likely do so further to perhaps become the preferred option in many locations.