Will AI, tariffs or some other news be the big retailing story of 2019?
Will social shopping finally take off? Will tariffs rattle global supply chains? Will automated self-checkout take another leap forward?
Those are some of the predictions for retail found across articles and blogs. As usual, many predictions focused on how events or trends that occurred in 2018 could loom much larger in 2019.
On the technology side, a major focus was on the rollout of Amazon Go and how self-checkout experimentation would likely be jump-started over the next year. Many predictions focused on how automation, robots and AI (artificial intelligence) would reshape other processes across retail and better inform decisions with data.
Some felt retailers will finally address the high cost of online delivery, including returns.
Speaking to Independent Retailer, Ricardo Belmar, senior director, global enterprise marketing, Infovista and a RetailWire BrainTrust panelist, said he believes personalization and loyalty programs will become even more important. He cited the success of loyalty programs run by Sephora and Ulta Beauty. “Their programs feed the experience and emotional connection customers want with the brand,” Mr. Belmar said. “And of course Amazon Prime is the ultimate loyalty program bringing multiple layers of value to customers.”
Some predicted a greater commitment to the transparency of data. A bigger focus on small-format stores, virtual assistants, mobile messaging and sustainability all received call outs.
A common prediction was that retailers will continue blending physical and digital well beyond BOPIS, including linking offline and online accounts and, for traditional digital-first companies, opening more stores. Indeed, the brick & mortar comeback was a common prediction as the value of stores is being increasingly recognized in building customer relationships. Delivering a higher level of curated assortments and community-oriented experiences at the store level to further differentiate from the online experience was also a popular prediction for 2019.
In a column for Fast Company, Elizabeth Segran, however, believes the push to create “Instagram-worthy” moments in stores has run its course. She wrote, “In 2019, brands will need to think of other ways to get consumers into stores. Like, you know, developing great products, or having great customer service.”
- The surprisingly bright future of retail – Fast Company
- 2019 Retail Predictions – Independent Retailer
- 2019 Retail Predictions: Surprise Partnerships, Robot Coworkers And A Brick-And-Mortar Renaissance – Retail TouchPoints
- Insiders’ predictions for fashion and retail in 2019 – Glossy
- 7 Amazon-Obsessed Retail Predictions For 2019 – Forbes
- 10 Predictions for Retail in 2019 – Forbes
- 10 Refreshingly Honest Retail Predictions For 2019 – Forbes
- 9 Off-The-Radar Retail Predictions For 2019 – Forbes
- Vend’s Retail Trends and Predictions 2019 – Vend
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are your predictions for the retail industry in 2019? Which prominent 2018 trends will accelerate and which will dissipate? Can you predict any major surprises?