How To Discover Retail Trends
The article will examine how retail professionals are able to spot trends. Professionals use trends to help make decisions about their business, but they need to know what is happening in other businesses so that they can make informed decisions that ensure that they aren’t left behind by competitors.
What is a retail trend?
A retail trend can be defined as any change occurring within the retail industry. These include new product launches, changes in consumer behavior, the introduction of new technology into stores, a shift from physical to online shopping and an increased focus on customer service. Retail trends have been identified for many years now and there has always been some sort of change taking place. One of the biggest influences on today’s retail landscape comes from technological advances. Technology allows us to shop anywhere, anytime and buy almost everything without leaving our homes.
What have been the trends in retail in 2021?
Three major trends in retail in 2021 include the boom in ecommerce, the investment in omnichannel experience in-store and the leveraging of dynamic logistics to ensure products get to their customers — either directly or via the store.
Omnichannel can be defined as having one single customer journey across all channels for any given product or service. Omnichannel involves integrating online shopping into your physical stores through technology such as mobile apps, self-service kiosks, interactive screens and digital signage. It means a retailer offers more than just selling goods; they provide a complete customer experience from start to finish. Retailers and even shopping centers are now investing heavily in omni channel experiences because they want to offer shoppers a seamless experience whether they shop online or in a brick-and-mortar store.
The rise of eCommerce has seen more people buying goods online than ever before. In fact, according to Statista, there were 1.8 billion global online shoppers who made purchases from online retailers using websites in 2019 alone — and this consumer behavior will have likely been increased by the coronavirus pandemic when people had to stay at home. According to another study, in the last 12 months, 34% of shopper bought a product online via PC, 38% bought a product online via tablet, and 44% bought a product online via mobile phone or smartphone. (pwc.com) To add to this: Statista estimated that by the end of 2021, 73% of ecommerce sales will take place on a mobile device. (bigcommerce.com)
Within ecommerce there are multiple trends including social commerce where more shoppers turning to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to research brands, compare prices and even buy through these sites. In 2020, we witnessed a partnership between TikTok and Shopify an expansion of Snapchat’s Native Stores for brands, and the introduction of Facebook Shops US social commerce sales are expected to grow by 35% to surpass $36 billion by the end of 2021. (google.com)
When it comes to trends in logistics, one of the major themes is a delivery service called drop shipping. Drop shipping involves companies sourcing stock themselves rather than relying on third party suppliers — and then shipping direct from factory or warehouse to the end consumer.
To get a sense of the trends that are preoccupying the minds of executives in the retail industry, look through the titles of trend reports that market research companies like PSFK are producing for their clients including the Future of Retail 2021 trends research report. These white paper PDF libraries are full reports that cover specific micro trends impacting the retail and service industries like hospitality and retail banking.
What will be the retail industry trends in 2022?
There will be a lot of micro trends impacting the retail in 2022 because there are so many aspects of the customer experience journey. We will continue to see the fusion of virtual reality and augmented reality in the shopping experience. Gartner predicted that 100 million consumers will shop using AR by 2020, so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out next year. (gartner.com)
VR headsets allow you to immerse yourself in another world while AR allows you to see things around you without actually being present. Both technologies could revolutionize the way we interact with our environment.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics are some of the biggest trends that will also impact retail. AI enables computers to learn how to do tasks better than humans. Machine learning uses algorithms to teach machines to make decisions based on past events. Big Data Analytics helps retailers understand consumers expectations, needs and wants. This information can help consumer brands and retailers create personalized marketing campaigns, online experience, price promotions and customer loyalty programs.
In terms of new technologies, blockchain is set to become an important part of the future of retail. Blockchain is essentially a distributed ledger system which records transactions between two parties securely and transparently. The technology was first developed for Bitcoin but its potential applications go far beyond cryptocurrency. For example, it can track products from farm to fork and ensure transparency throughout the supply chain.
To get a truly progressive sense of where things might go with retail over the next few years, consider getting access to the PSFK’s Future of Retail 2042 report as a PDF which explores topics including metaverse malls, omniconsumers and on-demand brands.
How can I research and understand retail trends and the opportunities of my business?
There are several different ways to find retail and sales trends:
By yourself : You can find out about current trends on a daily basis by reading industry publications such as Forbes, Business Insider, Trend Hunter, Wired Magazine and others. There are also plenty of blogs out there dedicated to covering retail trends. Use Google Trends and also look at your own sales trends data. Walk into brick-and-mortar stores, think about the physical space and wonder about the possibilities of far-out-there ideas like drone delivery.
With your team: If your company has a consumer insights or market research department, these retail executives may be tracking the key trends in the marketplace. They should know who customers are talking to online and offline, what problems people are having and what solutions are available.
Using Syndicated Research: Some companies offer retailers and consumer goods companies a database of trend reports, white papers and best-in-class examples and other data points. Retail trends firm PSFK offers reports through their IQ platform although it’s worth checking if this kind of resource already exists at your organization.
Hiring A Consultant or Analyst: Consultants and analysts often work closely with businesses to provide industry expertise and insight into emerging trends. Many consultants specialize in one or more areas of interest. Others focus on broader issues related to strategy, innovation, etc. Sometimes a company’s advertising agency can provide these services as part of their retailer. PSFK also offers bespoke services and has helped major companies understand how to activate retail trends including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Samsung.
If I wanted to study retail trends on my own, where could I start?
If you want to study trends yourself, consider looking at some of the product lines and topics connected with key retail verticals. Scan social media for industry expertise and use Google Trends. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Fashion — Clothing, footwear, accessories, jewelry, beauty & personal care, home furnishings, sporting goods, toys, books, music, electronics, health/wellness, food, babycare, pet supplies, furniture, garden equipment, gardening tools, lawnmowers, snowblowers, outdoor power equipment, household appliances, kitchenware, linens, bedding, mattresses, rugs, flooring, window coverings, lighting, plumbing fixtures, building materials,
- Home improvement — Tools, hardware, paint, lumber, roofing, siding, windows, doors, cabinets, countertops, sinks, faucets, toilets, bathtubs, showers, fireplaces, stoves, heat pumps, air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters, dryer vents, dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, freezers, microwave ovens, ranges, cook tops, grills, electric motors, generators, blenders, mixers
- Automotive — Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, motorcycles, boats, trailers, ATV’s, scooters, golf carts, utility vehicles, farm machinery, construction equipment, heavy duty equipment, recreational vehicle, commercial truck, buses, limousines, ambulances, emergency response vehicles, police cars, fire engines, rescue vehicles, military vehicles, aircraft, helicopters, drones, space exploration vehicles, spacecraft, rockets, missiles, satellites, submarines, hovercraft
- Electronics — Computers, tablets, smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles, televisions, digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, DVD players, Blu ray players, video game systems, smart watches, fitness devices, GPS units, eReaders, tablet computers, portable media players, headphones, speakers, earbuds, wireless headsets, Bluetooth® enabled phones, car audio systems, navigation systems, satellite radio receivers, garage door openers, security alarm systems, thermostats,
- Health / Wellbeing — Fitness centers, gyms, spas, massage therapy, chiropractors, naturopaths, nutritionists, dietitians, weight loss programs, wellness retreats, yoga studios, meditation centres, holistic practitioners, alternative medicine clinics, medical doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, physiotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychics, hypnotherapy, reflexologists, acupuncturist, herbalists, aromatherapy
- Travel — Hotels, resorts, cruise ships, airlines, travel agencies, tour operators, transportation services, rental cars, taxis, shuttle bus companies, public transport, airport lounges, hotels, inns, hostels, motels, vacation rentals, campgrounds, RV parks, cabins, lodges, cruises, ferries, yachts, charter fishing boats, private charters, yacht clubs, marinas, boatyards, boating schools, sailing lessons, sail
- Pets — Pet stores, grooming salons, veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, dog training classes, boarding kennel facilities, cat litter boxes, bird feeders, fish tanks, aquariums, reptile houses, zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers, horseback riding academies, equestrian events and competitions, hunting preserves
Traditional retailers have a responsibility to be aware of changes happening in their industry and outside it. They should look for new products, services and customer experiences that will be popular and try to make money by selling them. This way retailers can stay ahead of competition and increase sales.