Growing your retail business is no simple process. Store owners who have turned their passion into a small business face significant challenges in the face of ever-changing trends in the retail sector.

New technologies have decreased the barriers to entry in retail but have also lead to a substantial increase in competition. In order to stay ahead of the market, retailers need to pay close attention to emerging trends and act quickly to stay innovative.

In this article, we explore where retail is headed in the near future so you can get a leg up on the competition and stand out from the crowd.

Consumers will have more control than ever

Today’s consumers hold most of the power in the buying process. They are omnichannel consumers, meaning they choose where, when, how and what to buy.

Retail businesses that fail to implement shopper-centric omnichannel retail strategies will inevitably find themselves trailing far behind competitors with effective strategies in place. In essence, an increasing number of consumers will expect a seamless shopping experience across all channels (in-store and online) andbusinesses that don’t provide this are destined to lose out.

Brick-and-mortar will be used to improve customer experience

In the not-so-distant past, most retailers began as a small physical store and slowly made their way into the online space. However, as the digital economy continues to broaden and grow, we will see new retailers doing the inverse – launching an online store first and then expanding into brick-and-mortar.

This new retail landscape will see physical stores used primarily to enhance the customer experience, which will become the main driving factor in making a purchase. Brick-and-mortar will allow e-commerce businesses to create unique experiences and events, curate special collections, learn more about their customersand build long-lasting trust and loyalty.

New technology adopters will thrive

As with most business sectors, leveraging new technology in retailis a sure-fire way to open up new avenues for growth. However, many retailers don’t keep up-to-date on the latest tech and are therefore missing opportunities without even knowing it.

Here are 5 new technologies you can expect to disrupt the industry in the coming years (and you should keep an eye on):

  • Augmented reality
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Contactless payment
  • Blockchain
  • Voice assistants

Hyper-personalization is the way of the future

One of the most important retail trends in the digital age has been a shifting focus from market segments to individual consumers. The service end of retail is increasingly becoming tweaked to fit the unique desires of each customer.

Going beyond simple personalization like tracking preferences, hyper-personalization means using data in real-time to personalize the customer experience in new and exciting ways. Think along the lines of no two customers having the same experience, on- or offline (dynamic web pages, unique promotions triggered by actions, etc.)

Conclusion

The retail industry has a very bright future aheadbut brands will also be faced with more challenges than ever as the sector is transformed. Retailers that want to lead the fray would be well-advised to focus on shopper-centric strategies, deliver authentic experiences with brick-and-mortar, adopt new technology and take personalization to the next level.