2016 Predictions from Tensator Group – Retail

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The start of 2016 has seen the media awash with predictions for the months ahead. Stories have ranged from fashion trends for the summer, run downs of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of the year, and the en vogue in interior design.

Not to be outdone, we have been speaking with the business development managers who head up our three largest sectors here at Tensator Group – retail, transport and health & safety. Together, we have compiled our own trend predictions for the coming months.

Over the next three days, we’ll be sharing these with you and today, we begin by taking a look at retail.

Clicks & Mortar

The two buzzwords for 2016 are set to be omnichannel and showrooming.

Omnichannel should come as no surprise really as it has been constantly present in analysis of the retail sector for the past couple of years now. However, 2016 will see many retailers put their foot on the omnichannel pedal. In fact, the 2016 Global Powers of Retailing report cites that:

“Rapid shifts in consumer shopping behavior, driven by technological advances and changing preferences, are forcing companies to accelerate an omnichannel approach to the business.

“This growing trend to find a balance between e-commerce and physical retail stores, to integrate online and offline into a seamless process, to view them as enhancements to each other, not as threats, will be key to maximizing both customer satisfaction and retail performance in the years ahead.”

Our own research highlighted the need for a greater cohesion between the online and offline experience.

We found that 83 per cent of shoppers believe that high street stores will continue to close their doors at an unsustainable rate, unless they are able to significantly improve the way in which they use their floor space. Meanwhile, two thirds of the respondents stated that they prefer to do their shopping online when they can, which highlights the challenge bricks-and-mortar retailers face in having to tailor their offering so it meets the demands of a modern shopper.

Furthermore a staggering 86 per cent of shoppers said that they have used a store to view a product before purchasing online – a technique known as ‘showrooming’. In addition, 68 per cent admitted to using their phone to check the price of an item online before deciding whether to purchase in-store. With the economy looking a little more unstable this year, we believe that ‘showrooming’ is set to rise as more of us use the technique to ensure the best bargain possible.

Of course all of this only serves to demonstrate the need for a seamless customer journey across all channels. As the 2016 Global Powers of Retailing report points out, “as this clicks and mortar trend unfolds, the digital channel is reshaping the retail store — from location and space configuration to inventory management to marketing and customer relationship management.”

Now is the time for retailers to review, refresh and innovate their in-store customer journey.

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