The retail apocalypse is continuing with its growth trajectory in 2018 coupled with a steady decline in physical mall traffic. Bigshots such as American Apparel, Macy’s and Fitch have pulled down the shutters on 100 stores each. In the growing era of e-commerce, it is becoming mandatory to imbibe the power of the internet to boost up your sales and customer base. According to MasterCard Spending Pulse, e-commerce has undergone a whopping increase of 18.1% whereas retailers have to stay contended with a meagre 4.9% rise in sales figures. This has caused companies to sit up and take notice of online retail for collaboration of latest technology to the daily store workings. They have realized it very well that businesses, who are not keeping up with these rapidly evolving trends are bound to be doomed in days to come. Enough said, let us now take a look at the most significant trends, which are changing the market dynamics in 2018.
This reigning behemoth of e-commerce space is generating almost a half of total online sales in the US with its 2-hour grocery delivery and 2-day prime shipping. The meaning of lightning-fast service has been redefined by Amazon which is removing friction and making the ordering process a cakewalk for users. Both small and medium-scale businesses are entering into a symbiotic partnership with Amazon and using its advertising platform to promote their indigenous products.
Although billions of dollars are still caught up in the debt circle, the rate of store closure is expected to diminish in 2018 as retailers understand the changing norms of commerce. This can also serve as a lucrative opportunity for the survivors to ring in higher revenues by not having to compete with liquidation sales. Retailers such as Neiman Marcus and J. Crew are aligning their inventory levels with the sales results to benefit from an opportunity of pushing up gross profit margins.
With more marketers targeting the same audience, a shift is being perceived in favor of niche content. Ecommerce retailers understand the importance of establishing authentic connections with customers for emerging as a market mogul in a specific niche. They are relying on transparent communication to bring a stronger impact with effective marketing campaigns. In-person and digital communities such as expos, chat rooms, support groups and Facebook groups need to be identified for tapping into the targeted audience. Retailers are immersing themselves in these circles for gaining a clear understanding of how to leverage them best as a marketer. They are also launching ad campaigns, contributing guest articles and posting product reviews for enhancing their visibility across customers.
Crypto Currency & Blockchain
Retailers are jumping onto the crypto bandwagon as these virtual tokens are evolving into one of the biggest ecommerce trends of 2018. More than 100000 merchants started accepting bitcoin payments on a global basis back since 2015. Shopify, Etsy, Stripe, and Microsoft are some big names who have shown a green signal to crypto usage for benefitting out of its seamless functionality without the interference of third parties. The permanent and verifiable transactions recorded over blockchain platform cannot be faked easily.
Personal & Practical Technology
Retailers understand the growing requirement of technology, but they also know that no-one is going to walk out of their shops due to the lack of virtual or augmented reality. However, these are becoming imperative in specific scenarios where they can enrich customer experience by providing them with final view post re-modelling or construction. The Voice assisted shopping trend is also expected to magnify in 2018 with consumers slowly understanding the unbridled potential of screen-less searches. The smart speaker market underwent some pretty mind-boggling price wars between Google and Amazon during the holiday season.
360 Product Photography
In an era where seeing is believing, 360-degree product photography can benefit your ultimate sales by experience-driven digital shopping. Glo3D is aiding retailers in clicking photographs and making some simple corrections and enhancement for transforming the same into a high definition format coupled with its product photography application and the capabilities of their smart device.
Increase In Research & Development
Showroom-style storefronts have replaced traditional retail sphere. Sephora, a leader in the beauty industry, has announced a positive impact of their Beauty Tip workshops and small-format offering in luring in more customers. Retailers are trying to bring along an entirely new experience for customers to benefit from as they are adapting strategies to make the users feel at home while out there shopping. Technologies such as IoT and mobiles are enabling retailers to cater to their customer base with much sass.
Retailers understand the importance of customer retention as it is considerably easier to influence previous customers than winning over virgin markets and these trends are rapidly being tested by retailers to ring in strong revenue figures.