2018 retail trends

Here are our top eight retail trends for 2018 and beyond.

All act to influence and shape shopper behaviour as well as have an impact on how brands engage with their shoppers.

#1 Out of home VR

We expect out of home virtual reality (VR) could see a major spike this year, and growing ever strongly as we move into 2018.

Similar to how arcades in the ‘70s and ‘80s brought video games to the masses, out of home virtual reality, experienced at high footfall locations such as shopping centres, will convince consumers how impactful immersive content can be.

Positive experiences at key destinations will lead to greater awareness and soon we’ll see more VR introduced into the home.

#2 Hello 5G

More audiences will begin consuming the majority of their content on mobile devices with the introduction of 5G wireless. The increase in data speed will also bring the ability of 360 video to the masses.

Ericsson ConsumerLab reported that weekly share of time spent watching TV and video on mobile devices has grown by 85% from 2010 to 2016. On fixed screens, consumption has decreased 14% over the same period.

#3 Trusted Influencers

The social algorithms that are filtering brand content are more savvy than ever. Additionally customers themselves can be highly sceptical and avoidant of advertising.

Despite all this 2017 is predicted to mark a major milestone for digital advertising: for the first time, digital advertising spend will surpass TV budgets. By collaborating with influencers, brands can create the type of content that consumers actually want, increasing trust and engagement for the brand.

#4 Shift to OTT

The TV viewing landscape is changing with the popularity of Internet-based, ad-free, “Over The Top” (OTT) video systems such as Netflix.

With the migration of TV consumers to a predominately ad-free environment, brands and advertisers must discover new, meaningful and integrated ways to connect with them. TV and movie advertising budgets will increasingly move to social and digital; social platforms are addressing this by developing more custom paid ad products specifically built for entertainment brands.

#5 Easy returns

One of the main pain points for consumers when purchasing online is the inconvenience of returning unwanted items.

As other aspects of the e-commerce experience grow in seamlessness and sophistication, the return process is no exception. To attract customers and secure repeat online business, retailers are offering everything from looser conditions around returns and longer warranties to services that collect returns at the consumer’s convenience.

#6 Checkout death

We already see staff-free checkouts widespread, particularly in the grocery and QSR sector. However, these services still require consumers to manually complete purchases via in-store terminals.

The next generation of smart stores will dispense entirely of the need for a till-based checkout. Mobile technology will put control entirely in the hands of the consumer as they keep track of their items and take care of any transactions.

#7 Clicks to bricks

Despite the warnings of the demise of the bricks-and-mortar store due to the success of e-commerce, a number of online-only retailers are opening their own physical stores.

However efficient an e-commerce experience is, there is still a consumer desire to try-before-you-buy.

A mixed online/offline retail model also provides people with flexibility and convenience in the consumer journey. Consumers can shift seamlessly from comparing prices online, to trying an item on, to ordering it in-store for home delivery.

#8 Stealth stores

FFonline Research reveals that around 1 in 4 UK consumers claim to prefer, when given the opportunity, to shop in independent local, businesses and will choose them over large chains. Large chain retailers can also face opposition as communities fear new openings may harm local character and out-compete local equivalents.

Established brands have responded to this by creating retail spaces that avoid over branding and better adapt to the environment around them. There has also been the creation of sub-brands that are dramatically different from the parent brand, and appeal more to the independent minded consumer.

Richard McAleavy, Head of Client Engagement, The Market Creative

If you want to talk about how we can help shape shopper behaviour to drive your business, get in touch.