10 Retail Technology Predictions for 2015
1. Mobile consumers: 2014 was a tipping point where more consumers shopped mobile vs desktop. That trend will not slow down. If anything faster smartphone adoption and bigger screens with better mobile user shopping experiences will speed the move from desktop to mobile. Retailers shouldn’t shy away from this and need to embrace things like responsive design and even native mobile apps in some cases.
2. Rise of the consumer (good): Word of mouth and advocacy will finally become a priority for marketers. The days of articles and blog posts speculating if Facebook and Twitter have a future are gone. This has occurred for good reason. Consumers around the globe have embraced social media and in many cases see social as their primary communication channels. These socially empowered consumers are able to broadcast opinions and recommendations to increasingly large audiences at the drop of a hat. Social’s maturity might finally push word of mouth marketing to the top of the to do list for retail marketers.
3. Rise of the consumer (bad): Viral videos and stories of the terrible experiences some consumers have with brands will no longer be news; they will be an everyday occurrence. Empowered customers broadcasting their grievances to the world is the new reality. Brands need to be aware of this and learn how to deal with it. Those that don’t will be risking a huge blow to their reputations by ignoring their customer experience. If they aren’t yet, this means that retailers must start to embrace the concept of social business to stay in their customers’ good books.
4. The ugly stuff behind the scenes matters. Startups are disrupting the old stalwarts of retail with great marketing and lots of buzz. What they haven’t perfected is the behind the scenes logistics that the old guard has perfected over time. Shipping, warehousing, and payment processing and immature retail logistics and operations will show that some retail startups might still have work to do when it comes to not only growing their brands, but also creating the foundation for the next retail giants of tomorrow.
5. One (or more) of the hot retail startups will falter . One or more of the hot retail startups will falter and be dealt PR blow because of lack of preparedness when it comes to their operations. Even the most disruptive idea can’t shield you from having to deal with inventory issues and mishaps, user hacking, shipping nightmares, etc…
6. The old guard will begin to win the war online. Established retailers will become the “new” startups online. Much of the ecommerce innovation will be driven by old established brands, finally making online a priority, in strategy AND budget (big ones at that).
7. Social selling: Someone will finally buy something from a Facebook or Twitter “buy now” button and the world will overreact
8. Instagram monetization: Now that the active user base of Instagram has passed Twitter, an Instagram “buy button” will be the talk of the town… for a week.
9. Return of the old advertising formats: Online video sharing and consumption will appear a new renaissance in TV advertising. Video is the most shared content online; a TV is still the best way to consume it…
10. The rest of the world catches up to the US: Global consumers, consumption habits and channel distribution will begin to mirror American’s much more closely. And for that, those of us in the ecommerce world will be very thankful!