With e-commerce becoming increasingly prevalent, social shaking things up and brick-and-mortar-focused retailers stepping up their online game, 2017 will prove to be an interesting year for retail. Here is just a glimpse at some of the trends happening in the industry that you may not know.
Amazon has long been cited as the catalyst for the on-demand shipping craze, and retailers have been scrambling to pick up the pieces ever since. But is fast more important than free? A study conducted by Deloitte found that even for those consumers pressed for time, free shipping remained a top priority for shoppers, with 72% of respondents saying they would take advantage of some type of free shipping deal in the near future. And nearly 87% prioritized free shipping over fast shipping (13%) when shopping online.1
Traditional click-and-collect programs have been around for some time. However it is anticipated that mobile will play a bigger role in this process. Retailers are increasingly experimenting with mobile to facilitate click-and-collect. Some, such as Kohl’s department store, now enable customers to buy via mobile and pick up in-store, while others, like Sam’s Club [Walmart], are using mobile to send notifications whenever an order is ready for in-store pickup. High-end retailer Nordstrom has also tapped mobile to help jazz up its in-store pickup experience by offering a little “curb appeal.” Last year they began testing a service that would allow customers to text or call their Nordstrom associate as they are approaching the store. The store employee would then meet the customer outside with their order. They don’t even have to get out of the car.2
From grassroots sites, to acquisitions and the expansion of shipping capabilities, retailers everywhere are diving head first into online retail. So it’s no surprise that having an online presence is the #1 strategic investment for 2016, right alongside two other components of e-commerce: social media and digital marketing.
Most retailers have taken clear steps to invest in mobile and social, like updating their websites and increasing their email campaigns. Realizing that these efforts must be a key part of their strategic plan, and nearly three in five (58%) have changed their hiring practices to keep pace with their digital and social strategy, adding staff to beef up their digital/mobile sales channels.
While retail sales from physical stores continue to outperform both web and mobile sales combined, half of retailers believe that it will be impossible to survive going forward without an online presence. As a result, retailers are treating their physical locations much differently than they have in the past. Almost four in five have adapted the role of their physical stores to be more closely aligned with their digital channels, treating them not as a primary sales driver but as a compliment to their digital strategy.1. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/press-releases/deloitte-annual-holiday-survey-free-trumps-speed-for-holiday-shipping-policies.html2. https://www.vendhq.com/university/retail-trends-and-predictions-2016