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Industry-Shaping Retail Trends of 2019

by Ivana Vojinovic

KPMG’s 2019 Retail Trends Report reveals how hyper-personalization, offering competitive prices on cost comparison websites and apps, chatbots, experience retail, environmentally-friendly practices, and social media are disrupting the industry.

With a record-high number of retail store closures this year, it is evident that the old retail model of selling goods at a brick-and-mortar shop just doesn’t cut it anymore. Emerging technologies are transforming consumers’ shopping habits, forcing retailers to adapt or close shop. Here is a short overview of the key findings from the recent KPMG Report.

From deep retail to hyper-personalization

Deep retail is defined as the use of profound learning about customers, which allows retailers to develop personalized, highly tailored shopping experiences, products, and services. Collecting customer data from an ever-expanding list of sources, including smartphones, online searches, purchases, product views, and even eye movements, analyzing it and curating a special offer for each customer is the next step in retail according to the report.

The rise of the price-savvy consumer

More than ever before, consumers are doing their research before making any purchases. With so many retailers out there, modern shoppers have developed a money-saving habit of comparing product prices online. Apps like ShopSavvy, which allow users to scan the barcode of any product and compare all the best prices on the internet and at nearby stores, make for a very well informed consumer.

Consumer-AI bond strengthens

As artificial intelligence advances, humans are becoming more accustomed to it. At the moment, chatbots and smart speakers represent the main application of this developing technology in the retail sector.

Smart speakers, dependant on assistants from eCommerce giants like Amazon, open up new ways for retailers to reach consumers and deliver unique shopping experiences thanks to the vast amounts of data they collect.

Chatbots are another example of shoppers becoming more trusting and reliant on AI. HelloAva is a startup that based its product precisely on this trend. It helps consumers determine their skin type through a 12-question SMS or Facebook Messenger conversation. After analyzing the answers, the bot recommends skin products and regimens based on the person’s responses.

The birth of “retailtainment”

With shoppers spending more and more money on experiences and less on things, it’s time for retailers to change their offer. In addition to selling products, it’s becoming essential to provide for a memorable and immersive experience too.

Ikea’s sleepover party is a case in point. After listening to what their customers want on social media, the company came up with a plan to host a slumber party for a hundred lucky shoppers in one of their UK stores. The event which left shoppers craving more similar events was a complete success.

Environmentally friendly practices

Instead of shopping with their wallets, modern consumers are shopping with their values, the report indicates. They identify sustainability as an important factor when choosing brands to trust. What’s more, customers see through empty promises and marketing campaigns, expecting a real commitment from retailers.

The brand-building potential of social media

Retailers without a social media presence are doomed to fail. The report shows that one in every three Millennials uses social networks as their primary way of interacting with brands and companies. Other demographic groups are represented on social media as well, although not as frequently.

Social networks are an immensely powerful tool, not only for creating a brand image but also for interacting with customers. It is a space that gives retailers insight into what their customers want and a platform for cultivating and nurturing customer relations.

For more industry insights, consult the full report here.

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