2015 Retail Trends and Predictions Brought to You by Vend
Last year, we saw more merchants venture into omnichannel retailing and try in-store marketing solutions such as beacons. In 2015, we anticipate stores to double down on these strategies and continue to ﬁnd ways to bridge the gap between oﬄine and digital channels. In addition, we expect platforms such as social media and mobile to play bigger roles in people’s shopping experiences.
We’ve pulled together our top retail trends and predictions for 2015. See how you can use them to make decisions in 2015, stay ahead of your competitors and ultimately provide a better customer experience.
1. Social networks serving as shopping platforms.
In the coming months, we anticipate merchants to add “selling” to the list of things they can do on social sites. The recent launches of shopping functionalities in the social realm (i.e. Facebook’s and Twitter’s “buy” buttons and Curalate’s Like2Buy platform for Instagram) tell us that social is going to get a whole lot more shoppable in 2015. If social shopping takes oﬀ—and there’s a good chance that it will—users will be able to enjoy a more seamless shopping experience.
2. Data will be more accessible and powerful.
SMB Retailers will realize that they need to rely on data in order to get to know their customers and provide customized shopping experiences. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions like Collect, Swarm and iBeacon technologies that make data analytics accessible and aﬀordable for small and medium retailers.
3. Using customer loyalty better.
When it comes to reward programs, the “points- for-purchases” model just isn’t cutting it anymore. The loyalty programs of the future will reward shoppers for their actions and engagement, rather than just purchases. Walgreens, for example, now lets its members earn points by engaging in healthy activities like walking & weight tracking.
More retailers will introduce mobile loyalty programs. Shoppers will no longer have to clutter up their wallets with physical cards. Instead, they can track and redeem their rewards using smartphones through apps such as Collect.
4. Retailers will adopt and experiment with technology.
Initiatives to make the cash register extinct will continue to go strong in 2015. Cloud-based point- of-sale systems have proven that they can outperform old-fashioned registers in all aspects (performance, functionality, looks) and an increasing number of retailers will recognize this and make the switch. Will you be one of the savvy merchants upgrading to a cloud-based POS system next year?
We also anticipate 3D printing to make its way into the retail world. Some merchants, including online jewelry store Brilliance.com, have already found a use for the technology. Brilliance is using 3D mock-ups to help customers try on diﬀerent rings so they can determine the right size, shape, carat, and diamond arrangement for their hands.
5. More ecommerce sites will set up shop offline.
Main Street is going to get more competitive as more ecommerce sites will set-up shop offline. To stay ahead of the competition, merchants will further enrich the in-store experience by better localising their merchandise according to the needs of the local community and oﬀering services on top of “stuﬀ.” For example, Urban Outﬁtters recently opened a New York branch with on-site salon and coﬀee shop in a move to create a destination, rather than just a store.
A BONUS PREDICTION…
6. Mobile will continue to grow in 2015.
The number of consumers using mobile wallets will increase, so expect less card-swiping or cash-handling and more phone-scanning in 2015. Merchants who want to keep up with mobile payments but are confused as to which method to adopt can look into POYNT, a smart terminal that supports multiple payment technologies including NFC, Bluetooth, QR codes, EMV, and magnetic stripe cards. Whether a customer wants to pay using Apple Pay, Google Wallet, CurrentC, or iBeacon technology, the retailer can ring them up.
Bottom line: It’s all about the customer experience.
This article contains some pretty bold and diverse predictions, but if we really think about it, every single one of them boils down to one thing: improving the customer experience. Always ask yourself if your efforts are truly making shopping faster, safer, and more enjoyable for your customers. Stick with that strategy, and you’ll be just ﬁne in the future. If you’re looking for insights about these trends, be sure to check out our in-depth article on the Vend Retail Blog.
Vend is a cloud-based retail software platform, which enables retailers to accept payments, sell in-store and online, manage their inventory, reward customer loyalty, and report on their business in real-time. Learn more about Vend at vendhq.com
If you’re heading to NRF this Jan 11-14 in NYC, do come and visit the Vend team at booth #1205 and learn how Vend make retailers’ lives easier, by providing them with real time business insights to help them grow.
Written by Francesca Nicasio – Francesca Nicasio is Vend’s resident retail blogger. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that can help retailers increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. Connect with Francesca on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.