True Views: The retail trends that will shape 2018.

With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to reflect on the year gone by and look at the key issues that will affect the retail industry in 2018. We’ve rounded up five of the top themes that will feature prominently and shape the year ahead.

Voice will get louder

With four of the world’s biggest companies – Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft – having rolled out their voice-enabled technologies into home products, we can expect voice integration to be the new feature of even more products, making its way into a far greater number of homes. The Amazon Echo was deemed the surprise success of Christmas 2016, in part because it is cross generational – it’s entertaining and useful for children and adults alike, with an extremely intuitive interface. As more time is spent with voice assistants, consumers are finding more and more practical uses for it. What we predict will happen is that more people shop via voice command, whether that’s through the assistant on their fridge to order more milk when they see they’ve run out, or while watching television and order something they have seen promoted during the ad break – the possibilities are there to be taken.

Greater personalisation in marketing

A trend set to stay – and grow – next year, personalisation is an area ripe for further exploitation. The need for differentiation will drive marketers towards marketing tools and data-driven information, to completely understand each customer. The benefits of this personalisation will be seen in increased traffic, conversion, loyalty and – ultimately – customer lifetime value. There are many innovative software platforms on the market – such as Photospire which creates personalised videos for brands – which will help businesses engage their audience through contextualised, super-personalised content and provide frictionless, enjoyable experiences.

Data will be the key battleground

Businesses that want to succeed in personalisation will also need to succeed in retaining – and effectively using – data. However, with GDPR coming into force next May, the topic of acquiring, storing, processing and using customer data will dominate in the first half of the year. This opens opportunities for more agile retailers to approach the data problem in new and innovative ways. Products like Criteo, an open environment powered by machine-learning technology that’s optimised for the huge amounts of shopping data that ecommerce businesses have access to, are enabling smaller businesses to share anonymous data amongst themselves to build up a more complete picture of their customers and react to their needs, helping in their differentiation – and ability to take on the giants of retail.

Digital retailers hitting the ground

As traditional retailers have transitioned to online models, the reverse can now be said with digital-first businesses. In some categories, such as furniture, traditional offline retailers have been disrupted by the likes of Sofa.com, Made.com and the Cotswold Company. These businesses have now transitioned themselves and opened showrooms to bring the touch-and-feel retail experience direct to their customers. This is particularly important with “big ticket” items where customers are traditionally reticent to spend online without trying first. However, without the need for a large retail estate, overheads can be kept down, and product lines updated quicker to meet customer desires, enabling the delivery of the “fast fashion” trend across more sectors.

Transformational investments

“Traditional” retailers who are finding gaps in their offering will continue to look for ways to plug the holes that leave them in the wake of competing omnichannel retailers. True’s Live Network brings together the giants of retail with the innovative and new businesses that represent the future of the industry, with a view to collaboration and adoption – and investment. As a result, we see first-hand how the more “traditional” retailers are investing in digital-first businesses which will allow them to explore ways to differentiate and stay relevant.

Matt Truman, True’s CEO and Co-Founder shares his thoughts with Campaign Magazine on the top nine themes for 2018 that retail marketers need to think about. Read the full article here: https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/nine-key-themes-retail-marketers-need-know-2018/1450985 

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True.

27 November 2017