Top 4 Retail Trends of 2017 That Can Make Your Business Customers Magnet

February 2017 is nearing to an end. So we want to share some insights on the Retail Trends of 2017 that we’ve come across before it’s way too late. We’ve predicted some ourselves, such as the seamless online & offline experience and more automation.

In a nutshell, the retail technology trends are all about improving and enhancing customer experience in both online and offline shopping journey to ensure the customers keep coming back for more because of the value that you offer. What can you do to make sure that your customers truly engage with your brand?

So here are the top 4 retail trends that have been picked up by other leading innovative retailers and should also be considered to be adopted by others, especially in Indonesia and South East Asia at large:

  1. Mobile & Cashless Payment. This appears to be growing steadily in most Western countries, but it’s still not popular in Indonesia as most people outside major cities still prefer to use cash over debit and/or credit cards. However, in the last 3 years there have been steady increase in payment using e-money, according to Central Bank of Indonesia. For online shops, payment via bank transfer is still reigning followed by some payments using electronic money services.
image credit: wikipedia

This means there are great opportunities for retailers to provide a variety of payment options for customers. Not only they will make customers easier to pay, but from business point of view, it would be easier, too, for business owners to receive automated and regular updates on incoming payment from sales transactions.

2. Personalized shopping experience. How many of you appreciate Wish List and Suggestion tabs on those shopping websites? Customers feel special when they think you know what they like. The only way to personalize more their shopping experience, stores must be able to collect data on their customers’s behaviours and preferences in an easy way for both customers to share and stores to use that data to improve their service. The simplest way to do this is by having a Point-of-Sale system (Cashier) that allows you to save that kind of data and analyze it at the same time. Having just a Loyalty program is not enough to create this personalization.

Source: Magnetic/MyBuys (February 2015)

3. Blurring of online and offline shopping. In order to reduce operational costs, for fashion brands it is not necessary for them to have outlets sprawled everywhere in the city, or countries. Considering how busy people are, most shoppers are more comfortable shopping online because it’s open 24/7. Brands don’t need a huge space for showrooming anymore thanks to the online store or pictures of their products on their Facebooks or Instagrams. However, shoppers still want to use their senses when purchasing clothes, makeup or shoes to finalize their purchase. They want to feel the fabric, they want to see how the blush-on colour would look like under a natural daylight directly on their skin, they want to feel how tight or lose the shoes hug their feet. Actually, this concept is not strictly for fashion items, but for other products that are fast-moving goods like organic food or electronics will be applicable, too. Customers can browse online, add items to cart to be picked up at stores to inspect the items and pay, or pick-up only. Alfacart, an Indonesian e-commerce, is currently leading in Indonesia with its online-to-offline service

4. In-store Experiences. Due to an increase in customers’ preference for online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores must work smarter to ensure their customers still visit the stores. One of the ways to do this is by providing customer experience that is not available online, such as interactive mirror in fitting room, a Virtual Reality simulation area and of course, exceptional customer service. One of the best customer service is given the Geniuses at Apple Stores and for more examples on only-in-store experience for customers can be seen at Nike’s and Adidas’ flagship stores in New York City.

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Keep in mind that whichever technology you’re planning to implement at your store or business, you have to think of its relevance on two fronts: for the customer and for you. Does it make sense for your customers to use mobile payment? Would your customers be interested in downloading another app just for your brand? How would you gain more customers and more sales if you tidy up your back-end management with an integrated system?

The key here is to find something new that would enhance your customer experience that is scalable and at affordable cost. So that when you see it’s not working, you can immediately reiterate and try another technology.

Do you have any other retail technology ideas that you think should be picked up by all retailers? Please write in comments.