Australian Centre for Retail Studies senior research consultant Dr Isabella Maggioni exclusively outlined the top six trends for retailers in our January edition. Here is a teaser of three. To subscribe, head here.

Mobile first

Mobile devices have completely revolutionised the way people shop and will be one of the key drivers of sales growth opportunities in 2017. Retailers will look into new ways they can leverage mobile to design in-store experiences, including more sophisticated content and context-based recommendations, promotions and inspirations. Mobile will become a key part of the service experience, as an increasing number of brands and retailers will start experimenting with instant messaging and emojis to connect and engage with the next generation of consumers. Mobile will become the primary digital platform to holistically connect with customers and create interactive and convenient shopping experiences. Combined with artificial intelligence tools such as chatbots, mobile will provide assistance at customer’s fingerprint on the platform they prefer, while keeping the communication intimate and bespoken.

The rising of virtual shopping experiences

In 2017 we will see a development of enhanced retail realities, allowing customers to virtually tour stores and shop remotely. Virtual reality and augmented reality will transform the way people shop and the way stores are designed by combining the ease of e-commerce with the excitement associated to real-life shopping. Such immersive contextual shopping experiences are set to boom and will eventually result into less pain points experienced during the shopping journey, a premium customer service, and they will contribute to the creation of unique customer experiences. The overlap between digital and physical experiences will continue to grow, pushing retailers to delight, engage and surprise customers through multi-sensory retail concepts that blend interactivity and invisible interfaces.

Convenience and curation

Catering to the needs of a dynamic and on-the-go consumer, convenience has become a key source of competitive advantage for retailers across different categories. With an impact on consumers’ expectations about shopping, delivery and payment, the quest for new ways of providing convenient and seamless shopping experiences will continue in 2017. Subscription-based services combined with curated retail will be the way forward in fashion retail, providing handy and effortless options to escape the overwhelming number of choices available. Fashion retailers will select and package the products of most interest based on previous purchase behaviour, preferences, as well as on-line and offline interactions.

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