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Small Business Tips

6 trends in retailing you should know

Manasa Reddigari

Gone are the days when retailers could slap an ad on a storefront and watch the shoppers pour in. Changes in technology and attitudes have made old business practices stale. Brands must now learn and incorporate trends in retailing to stay afloat in the market.

Read on for six top trends in retailing that are likely here to stay.

6 trends in retailing that small business owners should know


A study found that retailers that didn't personalize well lost $756 billion in 2017. Brands must axe the one-size-fits-all retail model. They have to get to know their customers. Then they should offer goods that suit their tastes and meet their needs.

They also need to adapt their marketing, sales and communications plans. The subscription clothing box service Switch Fix does this well. It curates clothing picks for individual buyers. It uses a unique algorithm to do this.

In-store experience

Many retailers without an online presence have closed. But those with an online and physical presence have not. The task of these retailers is to turn shopping from an errand into an enticing event. One way to do this is to offer a memorable in-store experience.

For example, kids can draw or color at some Gymboree stores. But interactive features and visual displays of all kinds can engage customers.

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The aim of omnicommerce is to offer a seamless customer experience. That experience should apply across all sales channels. You should have the same experience whether you buy in a store, online or through a phone. A Harvard Business Review study found that 73 percent of shoppers use more than one channel. For this reason, all retail sales channels should also work together.

Target has a strong omnicommerce plan. If you look up a product on the website, you can also see whether your local store has it and in which aisle. You can then opt for delivery or for an in-store pickup.

Augmented reality

Customers are often more likely to buy a product if they can visualize how it fits into their lives. This is why augmented reality is one of many growing trends in retailing. It lets you superimpose a computer image onto a real-world image.

Wayfair's "View in Room" feature lets buyers see what furniture would look like in their room. Features like these help avoid buyer's remorse. This helps reduce customer returns.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the use of computers to do human tasks. AI trends in retailing include chat bots and delivery drones. AI is also used to collect insights and gain a competitive advantage.

For example, a retailer could use AI to predict what you will want to buy online based on your browsing history. Gartner predicts that AI will manage 85 percent of customer interactions by 2025.

Internet of things

People often think of smart devices when they hear the term Internet of Things (IoT). A smart fridge is an example of an IoT offering. It is true that retailers can use IoT offerings to improve the lives of everyday customers. But they can also use IoT to streamline business operations.

A normal fridge in a grocery store can't tell you that the dairy fridge temperature was set too high. As a result, the milk will spoil and the store manager will have to eat the costs. But a smart fridge outfitted with temperature sensors can alert a store clerk to the mistake. This will help save retailers money. It will also improve customer satisfaction.

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