Retail trends that are changing the retail industry
The retail industry is changing rapidly. The rise of the Web and mobile devices have made it so shoppers can engage retailers regardless of where they are, they could be in the comforts of their own home, commuting or anywhere else. Here are three game-changing retail trends that have assisted in the growth and development of the industry over the past few years and should continue to aid the surging sector in the future:
1. Amazon Prime & Amazon Fulfillment
Amazon redefined the online marketplace when the company first launched two decades ago and even today continues to offer innovative services and retail trends that fuel evolution in the retail industry. Most recently, the rise of Amazon Prime and Amazon Fulfillment has significantly changed how many merchants sell and ship their inventory.
The number of merchants opening a Seller Account on Amazon is increasing everyday. With the backing of a trust-worthy brand, Amazon experiences a steady stream of consumer traffic, who enjoy access to features like 1-click purchasing and free shipping. Due to this, Amazon has also attracted start-up and multi-channel retailers around the globe to sell to these consumers through the Amazon marketplace.
Two of the most innovative services offered by Amazon is the subscription service for frequent buyers, Amazon Prime, and fulfillment service for frequent sellers, Amazon Fulfillment (FBA). Retailers who utilize Amazon FBA are able to offer Amazon Prime to their customers. Not only is Amazon Prime an effective way to boost conversions for a retailer, it also greatly improves the shopping experience and loyalty of the customer. People paying for a subscription service such as Prime are more likely to return to shop with merchants selling on Amazon.
However, these conveniences and incentives offered by Amazon, are causing merchants, who choose not to sell on Amazon, to re-think and improve their operating strategy. A recent study conducted by Multichannel Merchant found that many retailers who do not have a Seller Account are already feeling the pressure of Amazon Prime and free shipping. Nearly one-third said Amazon had an effect on their decision to offer free shipping to compete, while 12 percent also noted Amazon as a factor for them improving order fulfillment processes to ensure faster deliveries.
2. Rise of new technologies
New technologies are providing retail trends that are impacting the retail industry significantly. In a separate article, Multichannel Merchant pointed out the development of radio-frequency identification technology, which can be implemented in internal warehouses to improve movement of inventory throughout the supply chain. This sort of insight can improve forecasting, provide retailers with more transparency regarding inventory levels or delivery processes and otherwise bolster the accessibility of pertinent information.
New eCommerce solutions allow merchants to exert a level of control of their broad retail chains as never before; mobile devices installed in-store can help reduce customer service demand; and new Web platforms can help merchants get their eCommerce business up and running in no time.
Technology is one of the foremost retail trends simply because it allows merchants to reduce operating costs and do their jobs much more efficiently.
3. Innovative services that are customer centric
Retailers have traditionally held the customer at the center of their eCommerce operations, but one of the more recent retail trends has shown a renewed focus on the customer. For many merchants, the greater availability of customer information allows them to personalize the shopping experience to a higher degree than ever before, creating innovative services to sell to them.
This tends to most commonly be seen with product recommendations and suggestions but can be used in other ways as well. For example, coupons can be customized for specific targets and retailers could also offer specific services based on personal information (such as creating custom outfits based on customers’ browsing and buying habits).
A recent survey conducted by Infosys found that personalization can have a significant influence over purchase decisions. Approximately nine in 10 customers said personalization caused them to consider buying from a retailer, with 25 percent of those respondents suggesting personalization heavily influenced their decision.
New retail trends are always cropping up. Merchants looking to improve eCommerce operations should take a look at these three and see whether they can be applied to their own businesses.