As 2015 nears its end, it comes as no surprise to see a range of companies predicting 2016 and beyond.
Josh Marti, CEO and co-founder of Point Inside, a company that promises ‘the future of retail today,’ and which creates ‘detailed mobile product location features for the mobile apps for Target, Lowes and Meijer’ in the US, believes innovation and change will be driven ‘as shoppers continue to demand more interactive and personalised experiences.’
1. Big Box Retail Gets (More) Local
Big box retailers are slowly moving away from chain-wide marketing and merchandising and allocating an increasing amount of floor space and presentation based on a store’s geographic location.
With this more localised perspective, a retailer can spotlight local, favourite brands, and also source more products locally.
This more localised approach requires the retailer to reconsider digital discovery alongside in-store experiences, as retailers learn to more effectively leverage 1:1 marketing strategies. As a result, shoppers will expect a richer, more convenient and more personalised shopping experience from both the online and brick-and-mortar stores they frequent.
2. Beacons Come of Age
With big-box retailers such as Target (in the US) beginning to adopt beacons, we can expect pilot programs to graduate to chain-wide deployments in the coming year, moving spend from experimental budgets to full-blown in-store marketing tech budgets.
As beacons become more widely integrated into retail stores, retailers must be able to quickly and seamlessly scale back-office analytics, so they can capture necessary information to target shoppers and augment the user experience.
3. Retail Will Get Personal, For Both Shoppers and Employees
Smart retailers won’t have to rely on personally identifiable or account data to personalise the experience for their shoppers. Available information including location, search terms, keywords selected, items on a shopping list, and local store popularity can be powerful indicators of opportunities for personalisation.
Retailers that are able to best leverage mobile awareness to inform their personalisation strategy will have a significant advantage over competitors.
Retailers will also embrace technology to inform and empower store employees. Associates with mobile applications have immediate access to store and product information to help shoppers in-store from their very first shift, increasing the confidence of the employee and efficiency for the retailer.
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4. Omnichannel is Here, and Expanding
In 2016, retailers will invest heavily across each channel to create seamless experiences to meet shopper demand as they engage with retailers across multiple touchpoints.
Areas that will continue to gain momentum include ship from store options and Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store (BOPUS) services.
Deloitte’s 2015 holiday retail survey indicated BOPUS is growing rapidly, with 43 percent of respondents saying they’re likely to BOPUS this holiday season to save time and to avoid the holiday shopping rush.
5. Retailers Will Crack the Mobile Monetisation Code
As brands look to increase product awareness and engagement, retailers’ mobile platforms will present new opportunities to engage shoppers who use smartphones to search for specific products to purchase. Brands will desire to reach highly targeted retail audiences through mobile.
By integrating paid search options into their mobile search engines, retailers will unlock new revenue streams while providing an enhanced experience for shoppers and a hyper-targeted advertising opportunity for brands.
Just as Google AdWords helped monetise search online, paid search options in retail apps and on mobile web will help monetise in-store search and reach shoppers just before the point of purchase.