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3 Retail Trends to Drop in 2019 — and 3 to Adopt

Manasa Reddigari

Retail isn't dead. But certain retail trends are dying. Continuing to use them could take your business down with them.

Ahead, we identify the retail trends you should cancel in 2019 – and what to replace them with.

Why do some retail trends become outdated?

Some retail trends are evergreen; they hold their appeal over time. These include quality customer support and competitive pricing. But others have become novelties. These include the concept of green grocers and mail-order catalogs.

This is because new technology and attitudes have changed how we shop. Trends that don't keep pace with tech and behavioral shifts don't survive.

How can outdated retail trends affect your small business?

You may notice a decline in store or online visits and sales. If you don't nix a failed trend, you may take a hit to your bottom line over time. In a nutshell, your ability to stay afloat depends on your ability to stay on top of retail trends.

Fifteen big retail businesses filed for bankruptcy in 2018 alone, says CB Insights. The cause of their money woes was in part due to their inability to adapt.

What are some retail trends to drop in 2019?

Below is a list of trends that are on their way out. We've also listed the trends you should adopt instead.

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Out: One-size-fits-all retail experience

Many retailers still take a bygone prescriptive approach when designing store experiences. They do a) what they did in the past and b) what they think customers want. A well-known example is blaring holiday music in stores once Black Friday hits. But this routine falls flat on those with holiday fatigue or who don't observe the holidays. It can even lower your customer return rate, says Retail Customer Experience.

In: Personalized retail experience

Instead, put in place a personalized experience based on the needs and tastes of your target demo. In the store music example, you can use a blended playlist of popular and seasonal tracks.

Out: Aggressive efforts to thwart showrooming

Showrooming is when a shopper looks at products in-store but buys them online for a lower price. It's common in the age of hyper-mobility. Removing store WiFi or scolding shoppers is the wrong approach to ending it. These actions can bolster a bad opinion of the brand and make showrooming more likely.

In: Deploy in-store tablets

In a survey, 61 percent of customers said they would spend more at a store if given access to information. You can reduce showrooming by adding in-store tech that provides product information. For example, add free WiFi and tablets in-store that let people compare prices on the spot. Use the tablets to present in-store discounts you can't get online. These deals can tempt shoppers to buy now in-store rather than online later.

Out: Pitting the digital against the analog

Many retailers have gone digital by this point. But some have all but scrapped analog, human touch points in stores. Or, they haven't combined the two. A pure digital focus can make shopping impersonal. And when the two exist in silos, they can compete for your customer's business.

In: Bridge the analog and the digital

Customers should not have to choose between the analog and the digital. The digital puts convenience at your fingertips. But the analog retains the vital human element of shopping. Your goal should be to integrate both into your business in a seamless way.

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