It is December, the season of thinking ahead and planning for the New Year. With 2016 around the corner, retailers focus on upcoming trends and try to prepare themselves for the challenges of the future. Here is a proposed summary of key things retailers should expect in the next 12 months.
As we enter 2016, mobile commerce is going to grow. The number of smartphone users increases every year and a 2015 Ericsson Mobility Report predicts that by 2020, there will be 6.1 billion smartphone users globally. This means that customers’ interaction with brands is rapidly shifting to mobile. More and more customers are going to shop via their mobile devices rather than via traditional desktops. In the New Year, retailers have to focus on developing great mobile apps that drive engagement, deliver omni-channel shopping experience and provide easy billing and payments process. With the growing number of mobile-only retailers, current brick and mortar retailers need to think of how to bring customers in-store. Linking the online and offline worlds and proposing shopping experience that is continuous through variety of channels is expected to drive competitive advantage in 2016.
2. Internet of Things
The Internet of Things provides retailers with vast amounts of data, but they still aren’t using it effectively. In 2016, a growing number of retailers should focus on understanding the value of all the available data thought the IoT. The key challenge for them is going to be how all this data can be successfully used and how to identify what data from sensors and connected technology is best utilised.
3. Individualised/Personalised marketing
Focusing on the customers’ needs and wants is crucial for retailers in 2016. They need to engage in meaningful conversations with their customers to deliver great customer experience. To do that, marketers need to send personalised, relevant messages about products that customers would be truly interested in. A 2015 Localytics research suggests that mobile users are more likely to respond to segmented push messages rather than broadcast messages. The trend of sending individualised messages is going to continue in 2016. The difference is that it won’t be enough to just send a “Hi John..” welcome message that illustrates that you know who the customer is. The messages in 2016 need to be more engaging, containing relevant information about deals and personalised offers, based on historical purchase data and current customers’ location. Marketers and retailers need to create conversations with their customers in real-time to improve the customer experience.
With embracing mobile and personalised marketing, beacons are seen as another rising trend in 2016. A BI Intelligence research predicts 85 percent of the top 100 U.S retailers will adopt beacon technology by the end of 2016. Micro-location technology is not only growing in the US market. More and more retailers in the UK want to know where their customers are right now. Since beacon-powered apps collect valuable data on customer’s in-store activity, retailers can target them with relevant, personalised offers about items that the customer is looking at in that exact moment. Beacons are not only going to be used to deliver offers but provide a truly personalised experience, including providing a better service to the customer. Beacons in combination to mobile commerce are going to build a bridge between online and bricks and mortar customers’ experience to raise brand awareness, increase engagement and drive in-store traffic and sales.
Do you agree that mobile commerce, personalised marketing, Internet of Things and beacons are the key trends in 2016?
Look forward to hearing your insights in the comments below.