The Future of Retail in 2018: 5 Changes to Expect in the New Year
Anyone who works in retail knows that it's an ever-changing field that requires businesses to adapt and change along with the times. Being willing to change and adapt to ever-changing consumer demands is vital to a company's longevity and prosperity. Understanding what the customer wants and ensuring your business delivers it not only ensures that the customer is satisfied but that the company continues to grow and prosper.
Having said that, in 2018 there are some new and emerging trends to be looking for in retail and some of those include the following:
1. Less Brick-and-Mortar Stores
While 2017 was the year of the retail apocalypse, with stores closing up 218% during the year, 2018 could be the year of the retail regeneration. Although it is predicted that the number of brick-and-mortar stores will keeping falling (in the UK, for example, from about 281,930 stores down to about 220,000 in 2018), it is unlikely to be as harsh for retailers as the previous year was: businesses have learnt to adjust and consumer confidence is growing.
On the other hand, in 2016, online retail worldwide amounted 1.86 trillion US dollars, and it is projected to grow steadily to 4.48 trillion US dollars in 2021. More people will shop online and especially to those retailers who succeed in implementing technology to adapt to their customer's needs.
2. Increasing Per Capita Consumption
The amount of shopping that the average person does has risen about 12% since 2006. Operating costs have also risen by about 20% since 2000. This trend is expected to continue to climb throughout 2018. As more shopping is done on the internet companies must determine a balance between multichannel advertising of brick-and-mortar stores versus an online presence.
3. High-Streets Will Transform
There are more and more "high streets" which used to be vital corridors of storefronts that provided employment to locals turning into new types of facilities. In Europe, these will be vacant and closed storefronts that are turned into other types of amenities as population continues to expand. These newly-vacant buildings can be turned into housing to accommodate growing population or other "leisure" facilities, schools, classrooms, vocational training centers, doctor's offices, etc. High streets will change quite a bit in the coming years.
4. Customers Shopping Habits Will Change
Shoppers will shop via multiple channels, by using the Internet and brick-and-mortar stores to carry out their shopping process and engage with brands.
Comparison shopping between chain stores are taking on a new age with the smartphone making it easier than ever to look up price comparisons. Stores will have to be sure to offer their sales and deals through all channels of sales as well as comparing between other stores. If there are better deals out there companies will lose the business to those competitors.
5. Large Chain Grocers Are Going Online:
Even grocery shopping, something that used to be a very hands-on experience, is going online. More and more large-chain grocers are offering online shopping that is delivered to someone's home or able to be picked up in-store at a specified time. This accounted for about 3.7% of all grocery shopping in 2012, but by the end of 2018 is estimated to be 9.7% of all grocery shopping done in the UK.
As these trends change into 2018 and beyond retailers will have to adapt to keep the business coming in their doors versus going to other competitors.