Shape of things to come

Shape of things to come


STOrai Magazine

STOrai Magazine

341 week ago — 4 min read

Here is a look at trends that will drive retail in 2018.

1. Refined personalisation & customer service
Personalisation will be the key differentiator in the years to come. We will see more companies offering highly tailored products and experiences: retailers that have integrated their channels, and can recognise the shopper across touchpoints and offer tailored services, merchandise and promotions, online and offline. In addition, we see rise in retail companies that invest in predictive customer analysis, and use data from an intersection of multiple sources (included connected objects) to better understand and delight their customers.

2. Quick check-outs
Frictionless payment is a key component in a seamless shopping experience. The aim is always the same: using technology to make the shopping experience smoother, quicker and safer. We will see a lot of action on the check-outs front.

3. Spread of social e-commerce
“Buy” buttons have revolutionised social media: from Twitter, to Instagram and Facebook, all the big boys have adopted buttons that invite users to shop on the spot. Far from being a fad, the “social commerce” trend is expected to intensify.

4. Increased mPOS adaption
Retail winners will invest both in m-commerce and in digital channels to aid shopping while in-store. In-store mobility will also translate into mobile Points of Sale (mPOS). mPOS are reaching critical mass in the retail industry, and understandably so: they facilitate interaction with customers, speed up transactions, and help retail staff provide accurate product information on the spot thanks to the access to real-time inventory.


5. Mushrooming of small formats
Small-format stores have been popping up everywhere in the past couple of years; the trend will continue. Many retailers, instead of trying to compete with online stores on large catalogue and endless aisles, are taking an inverse approach: survive by becoming small and nimble. These new locations are conceived as one-stop shops storing all sorts of goods with a bit of everything. This is an attempt to bring flexibility to the organisation, as well as an endeavour to attract new crowds. The small size, in fact, enables these retailers to open at downtown locations, where they can target young, affluent city dwellers.

6. Growth of omni-channel
Omni-channel is still a long way to go and we shall see more companies adapting to this. In 2018, success for retailers will translate into the ability to bridge the offline and online experience with original and functional solutions.

7. Focus: Millennial mentality
Millennials are the largest customer group at the moment, so forward-thinking retailers need to listen to what this generation has to say. In 2018, we’ll see a decline in brand loyalty, as Millennials shift from big brands to local shops, boutiques and smaller brand name stores. At the same time, Millennials tend to be loyal to brands that stand for the right values ie. authenticity, transparency, and social responsibility. Transparency will indeed be one of the buzzwords of the year: consumers want to know where their products come from, and they will reward brands that are genuine, down-to-earth, and honest in their communication.


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Article contributed by Sharad Venkta for STOrai Magazine


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