Stores have become more relevant than ever, as consumers seek and crave experiences to share. At the same time, retail has never gone through greater transformation. We have noticed a major shift in consumer behavior and values driven by technology and new, innovative industry players, who constantly disrupt and drive consumer expectations upward. Online is no longer a separate entity, but an expectation and counterpart to other shopping channels. Technology has reached a new level of innovation and is the ground for ultra-personalized shopping experiences, where new disruptive waves are changing the game. Change is here!
Ebeltoft Group has been monitoring brand and store innovations for more than a decade, uncovering trends both underlying and emerging in modern retail. Our retail experts around the world join forces to share insights from their local markets that will inspire your ideas to innovate and future-proof your business. We have evaluated more than 40 innovative cases from more than 18 countries, revealing four different retail trends to create a detailed big picture of what’s to come: Omni integration, Extreme Convenience, Extreme Experience and Sustainable Practices. In this blog, you will find an introduction to these trends.
The rapid change in retail is being driven by new technologies and digital innovations that allow consumers to always be connected. They can shop, return, or share products anytime and anywhere at the touch of a button. Bricks and mortar and the online channel, otherwise known as “bricks and clicks,” are no longer separate entities, but complementary platforms that improve the retail experience. Customers no longer distinguish between the physical and digital worlds. An omni experience encompasses everything from online to off-line experiences. With click and collect, augmented reality assistants, endless aisle, lockers, and data-driven stores, omni experience dominates retail today.
The modern consumer is busy, and the era of seamless, frictionless retailing is here. Friction is every barrier we put in place to prevent customers from buying a product. Retailers are removing friction from the experience by adding elements of technology, subscriptions, delivery, and pick-up, while also streamlining the key elements of everyday operations.
Game-changing power in retail is being ignited by great experiences. The new age of flagship retail is centered around Instagrammable moments, lavish displays, large stores, and a mentality welcoming change. In-store shoppers crave a personal, human experience that the online world cannot provide. Interaction and engagement in the store with products, staff, and brand is essential, as it allows for more accurately identifying customer needs, building relationships and loyalty, and personalizing the shopping experience. Consumers do not choose products based solely on functional value, but, rather, based on emotions that engagement and experience ensure. Intensive storytelling and strong content are paramount to creating identification and emotional ties, boosting brand loyalty. The customer-to-customer relationship is also important for the brick-and-mortar experience. Retailers and brands can differentiate the experience by providing a social dimension beyond interaction and engagement with store associates. Stores should create elements of the following to develop a well-rounded, engaging experience:
Consumers are more conscious now than ever about their impact on the environment, the food they put into their body, and how products are produced. Conscious consumers are becoming a larger and more vocal segment of the population. Implementing sustainable practices is all about demonstrating social responsibility and highlighting an ethical, honest, and responsible business. It means taking responsibility by offering consumption in good conscience by producing environmentally sound and responsible products and services. Sustainability, animal welfare, and fair trade are in high demand. Consumers are increasingly looking to align with brands and retailers that share their values. It is about demonstrating responsibility through the entire value chain and far beyond the brand core products or service. Retailers connect on a deeper level with consumers to help them feel like they are contributing to a greater purpose when shopping the brand or retailer.
In the following months, we will share some innovative concepts with you. Which breaking brands will inspire you? Stay tuned!