From greater personalization to “social shopping,” retailers are finding technologically driven ways to meet shoppers’ needs, says “The Trends Shaping 2019,” a new report from credit card company Alliance Data.
“Today’s customers expect more from brands than ever before, and it’s these demands that continue to push the industry forward,” says the report, which is available here.
The credit card company, which recently inked a deal to administer Signet’s credit program, listed 10 trends it thinks will shape retail over the coming year.
– Brands are making a great effort to connect all their assets and channels.
Retailer apps now aid the in-store experience. For instance, Uniqlo’s app gives customers fashion advice and then directs customers to its stores with those products.
– Retailers are “embracing everybody.”
“There is a growing expectation that brands will recognize the value in every individual,” the report says, and so brands are offering inclusive items that mirror the trends toward body positivity and gender neutrality.
It notes that Nordstrom now requires its women’s apparel brands to produce clothing in all sizes and has incorporated plus sizes into its regular racks. Chanel has just launched a makeup line for men.
– Brick-and-mortar businesses are encouraging customers to use the product in-store.
Examples include: Office Max offering workspaces for customers to use its printers and technology; JoAnn setting up “studios” where craft enthusiasts can rent sewing machines and take classes; and DSW making available pedicures, on-site shoe and handbag repair, and fitting for custom insoles.
– Brands are showing their “deep connection” to causes customers care about.
Starbucks has pledged to end its use of single-use straws by 2020 because of the impact of plastic on the environment. Hasbro now recycles its toys and games for free.
– Retailers are offering a “more precise level of personalization” by offering bespoke products and services.
Online custom menswear company Eison Triple Thread designs products by analyzing a personalized quiz and the shopper’s Spotify listening habits. Another site, Ivyrevel, designs dresses by analyzing where customers live.
– “Secondhand” has gone mainstream.
Banana Republic now sells gently used items by Chanel, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton on its site. The resale apparel market is currently $20 billion, and that’s expected to double by 2022, says the report.
– There’s a “social shopping revolution.”
More brands are playing with social media exclusives: Kylie Cosmetics sold an eyeshadow exclusively on Snapchat, while an Allbirds shoe collection was offered only on Instagram.
– Companies are offering digital solutions that overcome the limitations of online shopping.
Original Stitch has debuted Bodygram, which creates personalized sizing by scanning photos of users’ bodies. It claims the service is 99 percent accurate—though, if it isn’t, the items can be returned. Wayfair uses virtual reality to let users see how its furniture and decor looks in their homes.
– User experiences are being dictated by artificial intelligence and data-driven algorithms.
Some retailers now give each consumer a customized website experience, tailored ads, as well as individual product recommendations.
– Brands are finding ways to make users’ lives easier.
HP has developed “intelligent printers” that reorder ink when the supply runs low.
(Image: Getty Images)