Digital Innovations within Retail: Current and Future Trends [Infographic]
In the retail industry, there has been two evident shifts. One is an increase in technological use, and secondly, changes in consumer behaviour.
Currently, there is now a higher expectation to have more convenient alternative to shop which is resulting in digital innovations within the retail industry.
In February 2019, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, announced a plan to eliminate show rooms and physical retail locations transitioning into only an online approach.
According to Elon Musk, this change will increase attention to customer service and enable a more effective way to sell cars.
This is 2019 - people want to buy things online - Elon Musk.
Several companies are beginning to develop an online shopping method while others are slow to catch up on the trend resulting in bankruptcy such as Claire’s and Toy ‘R’ Us.
This article will discuss the current trends amongst the retail industry, and the future trends that are expected to change the way consumers currently shop.
Current Retail Trends
TREND#1: THE GROWTH OF ONLINE RETAIL
In between the years of 2000 and 2018, online retail has grown to 300% while simultaneously, department store sales have dropped down to almost 50%. This is followed by several companies like Gap, JCPenny, and Claire’s declaring bankruptcy and store closures.
While companies like Amazon continue to dominate online retail. According to a new study by Feevisor, 74% of consumers go to Amazon immediately to purchase specific products and by the end of 2019, Amazon will account for 52.4 of the e-commerce market in the US.
TREND#2: CHANGE IN CONSUMER SPENDING
Consumers are now finding other ways to purchase their items at lower prices. As a result, consumers are diverting to thrifting at thrift stores or buying used clothing online. As a result, retailers are losing customers due to their full retail prices that consumers no longer want to pay for.
TREND#3: OTHER RETAIL ALTERNATIVES
In the US Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) orders accounted for 21% to 30% of online revenue among the respondents.
Furthermore, according 28.8% of US retailers reported internet orders and in store pickup to make up 11 to 20% of their sales.
Another retail alternative are mobile applications that account for 59% of online shopping.
TREND#4: ONLINE CHALLENGES
As online shopping becomes more prevalent, this also brings out the challenges that come with it. For example, in association with BOPIS, 45.6% of retailers surveyed by Signifyd found challenges within their logistics and inventory tracking. While 16.1% of retailers found challenges within fraud and customer information security.
Future Retail Trends
TREND#1: DIGITAL MARKETING
As customers continue to use online avenues to shop, this means that digital marketing is gaining greater importance. According to Gartner’s 2018: Retail Industry Insight, digital marketing is considered to be one of the top areas for spending in business.
This makes sense, as digital marketing can help retailers connect with their shoppers and attract more exposure to their brand.
Using methods like, digital coupons or monthly newsletters can increase their exposure and ultimately invite more customers.
TREND#2: OMNI-CHANNEL RETAIL
In order to enhance customer experiences, companies will begin exploring a new method of retail shopping called: Omni-channel.
Omni-channel is referred to as a new digital approach to shopping that intends to create a seamless connection between in-person and online channels. This approach is meant to provide customers with alternative and more convenient options.
For example, as a way to compete with Amazon, Walmart announced a plan to introduce their new “order – by – text service”. This allows Walmart customers to shop via text message and receive same day delivery.
This technology can also create personalized shopping experiences through product suggestions and reminders to purchase products the customer may be running out of.
TREND#3: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
In order to keep up with the increased use of web and mobile applications, companies are also innovating the in-person shopping experience with AI technology. Amazon, for example, has begun opening stores that require no cashier which eliminates check out lines. Amazon Go, is a fully – automated grocery store which allows customers to easily walk in, scan the items they wish to purchase and leave. Amazon will then charge your account which means no wait times with a quicker paying process.
TREND#4: AUGMENTED REALITY (AR)
Another in-person shopping experience alternative is the introduction of augmented reality. This allows customers to virtually try on items from clothes or makeup using AR technology. This is a game changer as it presents a quicker and more convenient way to shop. Sephora, for example, has a mobile application that allow their customers to virtual try makeup in real time.
UX Design Trends
TREND#1: IMPROVING IN-PERSON EXPERIENCES
With future trends like AI an AR rolling out, this indicates greater importance to improve in-person experiences and how to effectively maximize the advantages of this technology.
Especially with online shopping alternatives, retailers will need to pay closer attention to customer needs and pain points.
Customers require more than just a hello as they walk through the door, but they are looking to find the most convenient and quickest way to shop while satisfying their budget.
To exceed consumer expectations consistently, brands must ensure those customer interactions are rooted in empathy, genuine engagement, and emotional intelligence - Chris Guillot.
TREND#2: SOLUTIONS TO UPCOMING CHALLENGES
As consumers continue to demand more from retailers, this will increase challenges. Therefore there is a greater need to satisfy both business perspectives and customer goals.
There are already evident challenges within the BOPIS service, however, with UX design there could be solutions that can be explored to overcome these challenges and satisfy both parties.
In summary, the retail industry has a few challenges coming their way as retail companies continue to explore other possible alternatives to shopping. Retail companies are trying their best to come up with the next big thing and to create a greater competitive edge. But in doing so, this also highlights opportunities for user experience design to enter and assist to create a greater customer experience to ensure quicker and more convenient ways of shopping exist and ultimately to keep up with the demands off consumers.
Idea Theorem is a Toronto based UI UX Agency. We create simple and usable products for web and mobile. Our human-centred design approach lets us understand your customers, identify their pain points & deliver solutions that enhance their experience with your brand. Contact Us if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you.