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April 10, 2018 / by Rajiv Nambiar / Retail Industry Dynamics / No Comments

What’s in store for retail? (1)

The year 2017 has been a rollercoaster ride for retail industry as many where saying it’s the doom of
retail and calling it the “Retail Apocalypse”, as store closures made the headlines in 2017.The store closures on the one hand being true, there is a bright side to it, as we see the stats show us another story. Here are a few examples mentioned below.

  •  According to NRF (National retail federation), the retail sales figures released by census bureau were up 4.2% year over year in July 2017. NRF article
  •  As per IHL group over 4000 stores have opened in 2017 and plan to open more than 5000 in 2018. IHL group article
  •  As per NRF (National retail federation) report speaking in terms of percentage, 42% of brands are opening new stores, 43% are holding steady with no plans of expansion as of now, 15% are showing a decrease in stores. NRF article

On the one hand we see retailers closing down stores because of competition and on the other hand we see some retailer focusing on their ecommerce more by cutting costs by not expanding their stores. And then we have a lot of new players who are opening up shop in large numbers and some old retailers closing them down. The fortune 500 list of companies who made the list in the 70’s and those fortune 500 list of today when we compare both the lists, We see that only nearly 60 companies remain out of the 500 companies in the 70’s and a whopping 440 retailer have fallen out of the list. Only the retailers who have evolved with changes in retail industry through time have survived so far and to further survive, they have to constantly change, innovate and adapt to the new trends and shifts in the retail industry. What we need to take away from this is, “Retail is evolving” as retailer you have to be up to speed with the shifts and trends of the retail industry. Retailers need to understand the consumers changing shopping behaviours and recognize how to involve these requirements into their business.Here are a few trends that retailers will have to keep an eye out for in the near future. Some of these trends have already found its place in the market by some retailers and have proven its worth, while others retailers are still a bit curious and are waiting to see how these trends play out before they can
make a decision about them.

1. Community
2. Personalization
3. Omni Channel
4. AI
5. Digital stores

1. COMMUNITY – Doug Stephens elaborates: “I think ‘community’ will be the buzzword of 2018 as
retailers awaken to the idea that the consumer’s primary problem is no longer the scarcity of
products but rather the scarcity of genuine, human, social connection. Great retail — if it’s
sensitive to this condition — can fill the void. Your customers are merely people with shared
interests and values. Bringing them together with a sense of community can be socially
powerful.”
Sephora’s online “Beauty Insider” Community is one example of how to create a strong sense of connection based on common interests: it’s where beauty lovers can ask questions, share tips,and get recommendations in real time. This community is a key factor when it comes to building a unique customer experience. Retailer need to understand that every brand is different and what might work for one brand may not work for another. It’s important to know your community, Instead of approaching it like a business opportunity (Even though it is!), consider your community and engage with them to be true to you and true to the brand as well.Establishing community driven events, newsletters, workshops, social campaign etc. there are numerous ways to engage with your community not only in store or online consider even
outside the store approach.

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