Retail sales trends are changing at a fast pace today and the consumer is enjoying some significant benefits as a result. As an end user, you are sure to have witnessed how many retail practices have transformed over a very short period in the past. With the growing use of hand-held devices and shift in focus of customer preferences, there is much more that you, the consumer, can look forward to in the coming years. Here are five trends that are changing the way retail sales are done in the United States.
#1: Onward to Online Sales
According to a Forrester Research report, retail sales through the internet are expected to increase at a 10% rate annually from 2010-2017. By 2017, 10% of retail sales across the U.S. will be done online. Even now, businesses are scrambling to get on to the internet bandwagon and this shift has changed the way you compare prices/products and shop. Even more current is being mobile friendly, and retailers who are not geared up for mobile shopping are often left out, as shoppers move on to more tech conscious sellers.
#2: Inbound Marketing rather than Intrusive Marketing
Retailers are gradually realizing that intrusive advertising, like cold calling, is not earning them brownie points with their customer base. The switch from these marketing techniques to inbound marketing where you have far more choice in what ads you see, is a new trend among retailers today. That means you have the option to get information or ads about services and products that you are actually interested in, and your buying decision can be made more easily and quickly.
#3 Social Media in the Spotlight
Retailers are making good use of social media channels to engage their customers, assess market trends, promote brands and simply keep their finger on the pulse of the customer base. Now, it is far easier to communicate with your retailer, tell him what you liked about his product, what you would like to see on the shelves. In effect, the tools to shape the retailer’s offerings are right in the hands of consumers like you. Social media also impacts retail selling in another big way. A report by consulting firm Booz & Co tells us that a whopping 93% growth can be expected per year in sale of physical goods through social media channels.
#4: Self Service is the way to go
Whether it is self-check in at a spa, self scanning machines at super markets or other DIY kiosks, it is evident that retailers are favoring the new self- service trend. One big advantage for them is that this saves them a huge chunk of money that would otherwise be spent on getting someone to man the kiosk. For you, the advantage is the immense flexibility you get when these routine activities are in your control.
#5: Selling ‘Experiences’ Rather than Products and Services
If you think that every retailer needs a product or service to sell, you need to think again. Today, there are a few retailers marketing ‘experiences’ rather than actual items. For example, a two-day underwater expedition, a French cuisine tasting vacation or similar eclectic offerings may become common in the coming years.
Retailers are acting swiftly to understand changing customer preferences and grab new opportunities that these changes create. There is no telling how much the retail sales landscape will change in the coming years but the one thing that is certain is that it will dramatically transform.