Innovative advances in technology, coupled with seamless in-store shopping experiences, are among the top predictions for 2019’s global retail trends.
Toby Pickard, head of insight, innovation and futures at IGD, said: “In 2019, we’ll see retailers think increasingly about making every moment shoppable. A recent innovation was easyJet making it possible for Instagram users to find and book holidays to new destinations, simply by clicking on a photo they have seen.”
“Whether through targeted marketing or simple ways to make purchasing more seamless, shopping is becoming not just more convenient but more instant as well,” Pickard added. “People will no longer need to visit a retailer’s online store. As they look at pictures, watch videos or TV they’ll be able to just add products to a shopping cart. This has the potential to change the way that retailers think about selling in the future.”
“2019’s biggest trend of all is likely to be the continuation of rapid and radical change in the food and grocery industry. We have already seen a significant pivot towards innovative new technology, and there is no sign of this letting up next year. Shoppers’ expectations have changed, and the retail and grocery sectors are working to meet those expectations in every area of business.”
IGD's five key retail trends forecast for 2019
1. Data dictates the way: data will be one of the main building blocks of retail growth. 2018 has seen data become more valuable to the retail sector than ever. As well as helping to boost sales, accurate data will be vital for tools that allow retailers to understand customer behaviour - reward their loyalty, and offer more personalised shopping.
Through customer datasets, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in-store, retailers can target products and offers more effectively whilst maintaining appropriate stock levels and improving customer service. Insights gained through closer customer engagement will provide invaluable guidance to retailers looking to grow their businesses: making stronger connections beneficial to both groups.
2. Sustainability concerns will change the way retailers do business: firms will increasingly take the lead on sustainability Issues such as food waste and plastic pollution are headline news, and this has translated to changing attitudes across the generations. Nearly three quarters (74%) of UK shoppers say that they have become more aware of the environmental impact of plastic packaging over the past year, and this has led to innovations such as biodegradable wrapping and plastic-free supermarket aisles. Retailers are no longer thinking about just reducing waste, but want to make a positive, tangible contribution. The next wave of innovative and leading retailers and brands will move beyond reducing their impact.
3. Seamless shopping experiences is key. Physical stores will offer a much more digital experience in 2019, by using technology to make it easier for customers to find items and gain more product information. This should lead to a faster shop for many, where searching aisles and shelves for the right item is replaced by an app that guides shoppers to where they want to be.
Pickard said: “Physical stores offer customers a more tangible shopping experience, where they can see products before they commit to purchase. This gives these spaces an advantage over online providers, and we are seeing stores begin to capitalise on that and add in extras to incorporate more of the benefits of online.”
4. Healthy eating and wellness will grow in popularity. Retailers will play a more active role in supporting the health and wellness of consumers. Most shoppers aspire to eat and live well, with 85% saying they are actively trying to improve their diet, but aspirations don’t always translate into action. Supporting them to both look and feel good will be a major priority for retailers and their suppliers. This means that both consumers and businesses will be thinking more about wellness and the role of retail in promoting cleaner living going forward.
5. Shopping opportunities will increasingly be available anywhere, anytime. Social commerce will grow with more options for purchasing products “on the go”. It is expected that new innovative social commerce solutions to emerge throughout 2019. Retailers and suppliers will deliver targeted marketing, and new ways to make online shopping more social, instantaneous, and convenient.