The Indian Retail Industry has undergone a paradigm shift from a product-oriented industry to a more marketing focused industry with the ‘customer’ taking center stage. The customer today is spoilt for choice owing to diverse factors like multiple brand choices, extremely attractive value propositions and availability of content 24X7 due to various social platforms and technological access.
Also there are radical changes and explosion in the retail landscape with the emergence of new age e-commerce players giving the larger organized players a run for their money. All this explosion is resulting in mad rush for new customer acquisition however the same is fuelled largely by deep discounting, which in the longer run is unlikely to be un-sustainable. As discounting is very transactional in nature and does not build any engagement with the customer over time.
Trends give us a purview of the latest market dynamics that influence shopper behaviour. Loyalty programs bring retention and long-term focus on customer trends, usage, and social media behaviour to the retail sector. Keeping this in view, 2017 predicts a stronger, more efficient, agile strategy for retail e-commerce and loyalty programs.
Retail trends to watch in 2017
• Personalized Services: The future of services is increasingly pushing for higher demand. With a pragmatic approach, the interface between companies, brands and customers will improve. Social media conversation tracking is going to be trending in 2017, which is a ground-breaking path to the future of handling customer behaviour and deliver tailor-made solutions.
• Data is king: In a world, which is fuelled by the internet and smartphone penetration, it is very clear that data is the king. Technology has come a long way from the numerous promotional campaigns to personal offers to a customer by tracking their choice of products and transaction details. Pricing plays an important role in data analysis; luxury brands who are looking at protecting their positioning are consistently changing their interface and adopting new measures of communication.
• Connected devices: The future of e-commerce lies in the hands of connected devices. Large players have immersed their data research into further enhancing their customer experience by simply placing Wi-Fi chips that update automatically. Thus, any depleting item automatically updates itself sending the customer a message and issuing an order for replenishments. This further leads to the building of brand loyalty and adds a treasure trove of consumer behavioural data.
• Pricing architecture: The price war will become a point of conversation with the latest 2017 trends in the retail structure of the future. Big data, interactive mediums, and IoT devices have broken the traditional shopping journey. The brick and mortar are undoubtedly trendy and cool, but with the advancement of e-commerce platforms, these off-line stores are getting old school.
• Consumer Trends: Online beats the brick and mortar format in the age of IoT. As the future of e-commerce grows, retailers will realize that the breadth of an online store has clearly more advantages when compared with the offline stores. Online has a great potential to innovate and curate an assortment of items. This will enhance the customer experience in the future, as more and more shoppers are moving to the Internet of Things and increasing their choice of buying power.
Loyalty trends to watch in 2017
• Omni-channel: From the brick and mortar to the online e-commerce stores, the need to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of retailing and consumer behavior is by using all platforms of communication to reach the customer. This will help the industry to accurately track real-time data and analyze the tendencies of a single shopper. Omni-channel changes the way we deal with a shopper, this route will give brands, and e-retailers a chance to pursue a certain trend or season. Furthermore, it will help enhance customer approach behavior and build loyalty between the brand, the store, and the customer.
• Single-view and cloud solutions: In today’s world, where online experiences are based on fast-paced interactions, Push emails and mass campaigns have become obsolete. Most customers’ tendency is to delete promotional e-mailers. And, with the introduction of advanced technology every now and then, it clearly seems that 2017 will change methods of customer tracking and behaviour. In a mobile-first world, tracking transactional and behavioural data will emerge as a game-changer.
• Partnerships between brands: Data analytics prove that 2017 will bring improved results for brands who are in the process of developing agile systems to track social media conversations. Counting the number of visitors to a website or the number of likes, followers, and favourites now come in the ‘old methods’ list. This is the point where big data analytics and partnerships step in. It will help in bringing brands closer to the customer through various loyalty programs while building a better and more effective communication channel for the customer.
• Personalized exclusivity: 2017 is all about leveraging the mobile world. With a multi-channel approach towards marketing to customers, brands have to focus on the bigger picture. Research and thorough tracking of social media content will help in targeting the customer seamlessly by avoiding unnecessary promotional messages and mass campaigns.
• Customer retention: Every individual shopper wants personal recognition. While loyalty programs offer rewards to existing customers the challenge is the acquisition of new customers. Innovation in content is the key to retaining and acquiring customers.