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Now, New, Next: Retail continues to innovate to keep pace with shifts in customer behaviors and expectations

The retail landscape continues to be shaped by changes in customer behavior and ever-increasing expectations. Needs for seamless paths to purchase, personalized interactions, instant gratification, and more engaging experiences are growing as younger demographics continue to make their presence felt throughout the retail industry. Those thriving in today’s environment are adept at using data and building new tools and tactics that enable the brand to remain relevant and offer compelling value.

In the Summer/Fall Retail Trends Update, we take a look at how some of the trends we identified in our annual Now, New, Next retail trends report have evolved, driving the retail landscape forward.

1. Purpose-driven partnerships: Unique partnerships drive value for brands and customers alike
Strategic alliances are becoming a key tactic brands use to introduce new customers to brands, allowing retailers to rethink the ways they use their store spaces, and providing new opportunities to add value to the customer experience.

  • Ikea and Adidas are teaming up to solve the myriad of challenges faced by at-home exercisers. The partnership is taking a holistic wellness approach that will include workout equipment, space design, as well as eating and sleeping solutions.

2. Predictive personalization: Data and analytical tools personalize the customer experience
Brands are leaning on predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence tools to anticipate customers’ needs and serve up more tailored experiences faster than ever before.

  • In order to drive digital sales and increase social media conversions, lingerie brand Natori used artificial intelligence to create customized creative combinations and optimize media placements. The AI tool increased conversions by 24% in one month, and increased social media revenue by 76% over six months.

3. Curated collections and services: New subscription services give brands robust customer data and insights
As growth in subscription boxes and services continues to increase, brands are exploring ways they can strategically leverage these services to unearth new customer insights and enable new avenues for brand and product discovery.

  • In order to cater to new segments and expand their reach, Walmart has launched Jetblack, a digital concierge service targeted to busy, urban millennial moms. For fifty dollars per month, customers gain access to free delivery to any location and perks such as gift wrapping, handwritten notes, curated recommendations, and easy returns.

4. Retail re-invention and transformation: Bringing tomorrow’s retail innovations to today’s customers
As customers shift their expectations of the shopping experience, retailers are swiftly adopting new strategies, technologies, and innovations to remain relevant and deliver compelling value.

  • BJ’s promised to “de-hassle” the shopping experience, adding a variety of services and tools that remove friction. The brand rolled out “buy online, pick up in store” and a new mobile-first strategy that includes digital coupons, order-ahead for deli orders, mobile checkout, tracking of the current price of gas, and the ability for customers to track their savings throughout the year.


For more on these trends, check out the full Now, New, Next: 2018 Retail Trends Report.




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