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What do consumers really want from retailers in the near future?

Via MIPRO : As anyone who works within the retail industry is fully aware, the market is always evolving.

customer-insight

As technology advances at an alarming rate, and consumers become more tech savvy, there has been a constant push for retailers to make sure they’re keeping up with these advancements.

Unless you’re a retail expert, looking at the industry figures from month-to-month doesn’t always paint the clearest of pictures when trying to figure out just what it is that you, as a retailer, should and shouldn’t be doing.

With figures skewed by holidays, political news, the value of the pound, the weather and so on, it can be difficult to see straight away if new strategies are working effectively. So perhaps it’s time to rely more heavily on what shoppers want, and how they prefer to shop.
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I wrote a piece earlier this month about how there’s still plenty of life in bricks and mortar, with a number of great retailers still opening up new stores in the UK because there’s demand from their customers.

We’ve also heard a lot about the ‘omnichannel’ approach – making sure you have a presence online as well as on the high street, but what does it actually take to make it all work effectively?

There has been some interesting insights recently that delve a little deeper into how retailers can combine physical stores, mobile apps and online shopping to get the most out of today’s consumers.

In part of a recent column for internetretailing.com, Apadmi CEO Nick Black looked at what consumers actually want to see in the future.

“Given the evidence that younger shoppers are beginning to favour apps – even above shopping via a laptop – it’s highly likely that retail apps will continue to become more popular in the future and will become more advanced,” said Black.

A recent Apadmi report shows that consumer expectations are beginning to stretch even further than the straightforward apps available today, which allow users to make simple purchases.

“As technology becomes more revolutionary, customers are increasingly expecting retailers to invest in new phenomena, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), so they can enjoy a more personalised shopping experience,” said Black. “More than a quarter would like to see retailers incorporate AI into shopping apps that could remember previous purchases and recommend products and deals based on their shopping history.

“For retailers, this tech could present a wealth of opportunities to maximise sales thanks to the mass of insightful information that would be collected. Chatbots, for example, could tailor online shopping experiences by alerting shoppers to upcoming offers, or sale items or purchases they might be interested in. This would likely encourage more people to start using retail apps.”

This could be very useful for encouraging customers to re-order things once they run-out or need replacing. For example, if you’re a drummer and know exactly what sticks you like, your favourite store could remind you to stock up on a few more pairs when the time comes.

While, right now, this still sounds quite futuristic, it may be closer than we think. A new report from Moneymailme found that two thirds (64%) of 18-25 year olds now use a mobile wallet, and 62% feel frustrated if they are forced to make purchases with cash.

“This generation of young people has grown up with mobile technology and for many of them using cash seems like a very dated concept, especially with the range of alternatives available to them,” said Moneymailme CEO Mihai Ivascu said.

“In 2015 electronic payments overtook cash for the first time in the UK and as this generation gets older this trend is only going to continue until producing physical cash is no longer desirable.”

So with a large portion of shoppers already entering stores with their mobile in hand, it might be time to start taking more advantage of it.

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