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3 Biggest Retail Trends of 2015–and Beyond

Written on
Jan 4, 2016 
Author
Adotas  |

Pat Dermody, President of Retale and former VP of Sears, shares her insights on retail trends of the past year.

“Mobile and all things related to mobile would be the number one retail trend this year,” says Pat Dermody, president of Retale (pictured left). “The customers’ increasing expectation to navigate seamlessly across channels would be number two. We saw this manifest in services like buy online, pickup in-store (or BOPIS). Number three would be the increase in mobile pay options, which could hurt or help adoption. Multiple players and greater fragmentation doesn’t necessarily mean more scale. More options can be confusing for consumers.”

Mobile Linked to In-Store ROI This Year

“People are shopping and buying on a mobile device. That has always been clear. But mobile is now more concretely linked to driving in store purchases, thanks to better in-house and third-party technology.”

What to Expect from Mobile in 2016

“The expectation of seamlessness will continue. We talk about mobile as being the remote control of people’s lives, and they want it to do exactly what they want, when they want it. On the retailer side, we’re starting to hear clients acknowledge the role of aggregators like our app, Retale. Keep in mind, most mobile users only have 2 or fewer retailer apps on their device. While retailers want people to have their particular store app downloaded, they understand that shoppers who are less than 100% loyal, 100% of the time, will gravitate toward aggregators. We’ve even heard of some retailers not building their own apps or perhaps sunsetting some of the multiples that they built previously. The shakeout is in its early days, but we’re expecting it to accelerate next year.”

Beacons in 2015 and Expectations for 2016

“You have more players in the beacon space now than you did a year ago. Also, the beacon companies see not just the front-end opportunity in monetizing messages to shoppers, but also the back-end opportunity to building attribution models and data platforms. These capabilities will only evolve in 2016, as scale increases and the opportunities to monetize beacons grow in tandem.”

Mobile Pay Means No More Walled Gardens

“Like any new technology, mobile payments appear to be growing slowly. Awareness has risen 10 percent in the last year but adoption has only gained one percent. Even with the slow growth, I think we’re starting to see the category give rise to payment agnosticism. Retailers understand that they need to accommodate the transaction any way that their customer wants to pay and that the “walled garden” may ultimately not work for them.”

In-Store is Becoming More Than a Purchase Point

“You clearly see further integration of the omni-channel experience as retailers use their physical stores not just to provide a great customer experience for their shoppers, but as mini-distribution centers to fulfill orders and reservations that come in online. From a floor management standpoint, you’re also seeing technology and connectivity be better deployed as some store associates are equipped with tablets and mobile payment devices to make shopping and buying easier for their customers.”

Wearables Integrations in 2016

“Millennials are the most coveted audience among brand advertisers and retailers. They’re also the demographic driving wearable adoption, owning 50 percent of that market. To meet customer expectations within this group, retailers need to continue to integrate wearable devices in-store. That means more than just mobile pay via smartwatch, it also means relevant proximity-based notifications via beacon technology, and more creative integrations that uniquely take advantage of the technology. We’ve only scratched the surface to this point and I expect retailers will make this a larger part of their strategy in the New Year.”


VR’s Role in Retail Next Year

“VR is likely to have a lot of buzz in Q1, especially in the gaming space. Retailers will continue to experiment with it both as a marketing tool and as a part of the customer experience.”


Data Opportunities for Retailers

“Retailers understand that data in general can make them more efficient operators and more efficient marketers overall. Most of them have more data than they can activate against. Obviously, they’re all looking for how to use that data in a way that drives incremental profitable growth and long-term customer value. I think you’ll see location data become more important specifically as it relates to its ability to increase conversion, basket size and hopefully margin in-store. The geo-fencing capabilities that exist to drive that behavior as well as catalyze a store visit will continue to be mined.”

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