2018 was a wild year for retail. Just a few years after the “Retail Apocalypse”, brick and mortar retail is experiencing a “Retail Renaissance” with more and more online brands opening popular physical storefronts. This complete 180 has turned much of the narrative around ecommerce replacing traditional retail on its head. Increasing competition from startups and independent brands, combined with high consumer demands will continue to push retailers of all sizes to be more innovative. Here’s just a taste of what’s in store for the year ahead:
All About the ‘Gram
Instagram will continue to dominate retail conversations. Stores will keep striving to create an Instagram-worthy appearance and create experiential popups. But most notably, shoppers will continue to buy more and more products directly through the app, making it a retail powerhouse for actual sales as well as marketing for both physical and digital retailers.
Loyalty Programs and Steady Revenue Streams
Amazon Prime is arguably the most successful loyalty program in history. And more and more retailers such as Dollar Shave Club and Fab Fit Fun are succeeding with the subscription model. In 2019, retailers will continue to experiment with revenue models that both drive loyalty and increase buying frequency to stand out from the competition.
In 2019 we will see more retailers offer installment and payment plans targeting cash-strapped Millennials. Many payment providers offer plans where the retailer gets paid instantly, and the customer pays in interest-free installments. These plans provide a wider audience base and more sales for retailers, while also making purchases easier for customers, especially those that avoid traditional credit cards.
Treat Yo’ Self
During the holiday season, more shoppers than ever splurged on themselves in addition to, or sometimes instead of, holiday gift for others. Throughout 2019 we will continue to see shoppers, especially Millennials, spend increasing amounts in the health, wellness, and beauty categories.
Digital Driving Brick and Mortar
In 2019, digital brand experiences will continue to drive shoppers to stores. Far from replacing stores as was the fear a few years ago, ecommerce is an asset to physical storefronts. Social media posts from pop-ups and experiential retail experiences will motivate casual browsers to visit stores for themselves, a la the Glossier flagship.
BOPIS Finally Gains Traction
Throughout the holiday season, we saw BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) finally take off as a way for crazed holiday shoppers to navigate brick and mortar stores. BOPIS is a way for shoppers to ensure they will get the product that they want before leaving the comfort of their home, without having to wait for shipping. Best of all, this is an easy tactic that many indie stores are joining in on by letting shoppers claim products over social media. In 2019, we will continue to see BOPIS gain traction and be a driver for in-store sales.