Five things you need to know about the future of retail

With 1 in 10 people working in retail, the industry remains to be the single largest private sector employer in the UK, resulting in annual sales totalling an astonishing £358bn.

While retail sales are looking strong, saying that the relationship between retailers and consumers has changed would be an understatement. New technologies and innovations – such as the quick transition to the world of digital – have completely transformed the nature of “popping to the shops”.

With the rise of consumer demands and technological advances happening by the minute, brands must maintain the expected level of deliverance when it comes to their products and services. To keep up with the changing needs of the buyer, brands now require certain resources to ensure they’re producing distinctive products, seamless service levels and offering a meaningful customer experience.

With Genr8’s Rochdale Riverside nearing completion in Easter 2020 – with an impressive tenant roster including H&M, Next, River Island, JD Sports, Boots and M&S who continue to provide their customers with a great retail experience – we have been looking towards the retail trends that are affecting the way we buy.

So, without further ado, here are the 5 things you need to know about the future of retail.

 

Sustainability

Over the past few years, sustainability has had a huge impact on the world of retail, whether it be the products or services your brand creates or the materials you use for packaging.

Packaging is possibly one of the biggest ways a brand can put their best foot forward in helping the ecosystem and maintaining eco-friendly brand values – green alternatives are exactly what consumers are looking for nowadays!

According to Coleman Parkes Research, 88% of consumers want packaging to provide more information about sustainability, and 92% of consumers would choose paper-based over plastic-based packaging.

As documentaries and news stories show the extent of what is happening to the environment through the use of non-recyclable materials, consumers are becoming more and more aware of how their buying choices can take a toll on the world. Seems as though there’s some gaps in the market for eco-friendly brands with strong messages and values, doesn’t it?

 

Artificial Intelligence

With rising customer expectations, retailers can sometimes be found 10 steps behind their demographic, suffering from the difficulty of launching new, in-demand products fast enough for their clients. Nowadays, in the retail sector, speed is all that matters.

Before the creation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), new projects would be completed over the course of 1-2 years, yet in this day and age, they need to be carried out and executed perfectly within a matter of months to stay current within the consumer’s eye. AI is a tool that can give retailers up-to-date insights into inventories, financial forecasts and technological skills, thus making the customer journey easier by maintaining a constant value of service.

 

In-Store Experiences

Now that consumers can browse and purchase products and services online, in-store retailers have had to up their game to bring the customer back into the store and get them purchasing straight from the rails. How do they do that? By offering in-store experiences that you simply can’t get online.

An example of some of the most powerful techniques used is bundling products or services, making them an in-store exclusive. An example of this is Boots – a major role model of a business putting their customers first – who now offer premium beauty counters with makeup and skincare professionals at the ready.

That’s just one small example, but if you’re trying to work out how to keep your customers coming back for more, innovative thought like that of Boots will definitely keep you in the game.

 

Personalisation

As retailers look for striking new ways to bring their consumers to their brand, personalisation has become really important when searching for that exclusive product. The demand for products created “just for you” has spread like wildfire throughout retail and here’s how they make it happen.

For personalisation to be an attractive quality of the brand itself, retailers must find ways to collect consumer data on past purchases and browsing habits. It’s no secret that consumers generally don’t enjoy filling out multiple surveys and receiving countless emails, therefore the best method to collect data seamlessly is through a loyalty program or by tracking online shopping journeys.

 

Payment

Many UK retailers have been seeking innovative ways of offering credit to sugar coat the price tag, and this has seen schemes like buy now, pay later (BNPL) become customary.

With companies such as Klarna, ClearPay, PayPal and many more offering the buy now, pay later scheme, we’re beginning to see basket totals rocketing up with people feeling more confident in trying before buying.

 

And that’s it!

If you’re thinking about relocating to Rochdale, get in touch with our agents Lambert Smith Hampton on 0161 228 6411 or Cheetham Mortimer on 0161 832 3375 today to discover what Rochdale Riverside can offer you!

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