In a keynote presentation for the Shop.org Merchandising Summit, Rohit Bhargava presented 12 major trends that are set to transform the world of retail. Here are six of them.
Trend No. 1: Pervasive Shopping
With mobile devices and retail integration, the store is never closed. Anyone can shop for anything, anywhere, anytime. "Offering the ability to purchase in multiple channels, and integrating with third-party e-commerce networks, is key," notes Bhargava.
Trend No. 2: Retail Curation
Retailers responded to ever-increasing shopping options with a tailored experience that enables customers to find and share the products that interest them. Now, customers have come to expect a high degree of personalized curation.
Trend No. 3: Story Trumps Product
A strong narrative can clinch the sale. "When products are easily replicated and do not necessarily stand out," explains Bhargava, " better storytelling is the secret weapon."
Trend No. 4: Being Useful Sells
The conversation is important, but customers see value in usefulness. Are you trying to create dialogue when a customer really wants education? Sometimes she just wants a how-to guide, not an online chat.
Trend No. 5: Analytics Everywhere
Whether they're tracking the progress of their Amazon delivery or the progress of their Domino's delivery, consumers use online tools to chart every aspect of their lives. These tools—and the data they provide—will influence their purchasing decisions.
Trend No. 6: Instant Visual E-commerce
We've nearly reached the point where we can click on any image to view and purchase a product. "Finding ways to link imagery in any form (across the Web) to ecommerce pages will become more important," says Bhargava.