As economist and retail experts make their predictions about 2019, retailers must stay aware of three emerging trends to tap into yet another year of amazing growth. In fact, total retail sales are expected to grow by 3.3% to approximately $5.53 trillion and e-commerce sales are on track to generate at least 15% annual growth, topping more than $605 billion.1 Yet, with the retail industry expected to achieve significant growth, retailers still need to find ways to stand out from the competition, while also cashing in on important consumer trends.
Here are the three 2019 emerging trends, retailers need to keep up with in order to meet consumer demand and preferences.
Make personalization top priority
Despite the growing concern over data privacy and data collection requirements, consumers still do want a highly customized and personalized experience. A recent marketing survey found that 64% of consumers prefer for retailers to save their purchase history and personal preferences, if it enables a customized shopping experience.2 Putting the protocols and systems in place now to securely store consumer data and use it to drive personalized marketing promotions can be a great way to stay ahead of the competition in 2019 and beyond.
Subscription-based models become the norm
Consumers want seamless shopping experiences that are both convenient and affordable. The emergence and popularity of subscription models have taken the retail industry by storm. In fact, e-commerce specialist estimate that traffic to product and service subscription companies has increased by 800% since 2017.3 Finding a way to differentiate your services and offer tiered subscription options can be a viable way to tap into this trend and extend your market reach.
Customer preferences will drive product design
As technology evolves, marketers will need to find ways to continually update products and services based on changing customer preferences. Incorporating technology into your offerings in order to provide real-time insights into how customers are interacting with your products will be key in driving product innovation. In fact, a recent consumer study found that 59% of retailers will invest in some form of customer-driven technology to enhance their product development by the end of 2019. So, being one of the first companies to adopt what the industry has coined “Voice of Consumer Analytics” could serve to be a key differentiator in the market.
BONUS TIP: Social media marketing is expected to help brands expand their reach to the Millennial and Generation Z markets. With nearly a third of adults using social media platforms like SnapChat4, forward thinking retailers are looking for ways to leverage such platforms and stay up-to-date on rising social media outlets and tools. As new social media features become available through Instagram and Facebook, retail marketers can begin to use innovative approaches like stories to position their brand as an industry leader and further engage with younger consumers. For more on Generation Z click here, and for more on how social media stories can enhance marketing efforts click here.