By Justin Taylor, Head of EMEA Retail Services
During 2017 many questions were raised over the future of retail, with many claiming that retail as we know it was ‘dying.’ However, there is cause for optimism. If 2017 was the year of retail’s decline, 2018 is the start of the ‘retail evolution’.
But what’s next beyond all this? Looking ahead, we have highlighted the top 10 trends we believe to be the main challenges and opportunities to the retail market in 2018 and beyond:
1. KYC: Know your customer
It remains as true as ever that to survive it is imperative retailers fully understand their customer’s wants and needs.
2. Community not commerce
Stores will need to create excitement to pull shoppers into an environment where they want to spend time beyond making a purchase.
3. Are you ready to co-mingle?
Future developments will be largely mixed-use featuring retail, leisure, office space and residential elements.
4. ‘I want to hold your hand’
As everything is now available at the touch of a button, customers want stores to offer bespoke products and informed guidance on product selection.
5. Online and in-store integration
Retailers’ must integrate online and offline sales channels in a connected space to continue to attract and retain customers.
6. Transparent Retail
Improvements in technology now allow brands to showcase the journey of a product; whether to protect their reputation, to inform their customers, or to ensure the quality and authenticity of goods.
7. Insta Influencer
Real-time engagement and rise of the ‘Insta influencer’ is changing how people shop and engage with brands.
8. The future is now
In-store tech is driving ‘assisted shopping’ – think smart mirrors, voice assisted shopping and virtual reality.
9. Off-price is on
Retailers are seeing the value of having a presence in outlet centres. This has generated global growth due to the belief that they provide a solution to ‘excess stock and slow growth’.
10. Cash is no longer king
Technology has changed the way people pay – retailers will need to accommodate this with store layouts and review payment methods accepted in store.
As retailers continue to evolve to meet consumers’ ever-changing needs, traditional retail spaces are becoming increasingly obsolete. Therefore, we believe winning bricks and mortar stores will need to adapt to offer consumers:
‘Memories’ – give shoppers something that lasts beyond their purchase and makes them want to come back for more.
‘Discovery’ – reveal new concepts on a regular basis – think pop ups, concept stores, events and more
‘Fun and Community’ – create curated spaces people want to visit and spend time in, with an emphasis on fun.
‘Every day’ – making everyday essentials easily accessible
‘Expanding Horizons’ – incorporate culture, history into the wider retail experience.
‘Togetherness’ – shopping destinations should appeal to all ages and demographics.
Landlords, occupiers and owners that have too much of the wrong space in the wrong location will be defeated during this evolution period. However, we believe these spaces can be transformed by remixing the tenant offering, redeveloping or refurbishing spaces to create thriving destinations.
It’s important to remember it is not a one-size fits all approach and strategic changes should be considered along with expert advice. One thing we know for sure, retail is not dead it is simply going through an evolutionary phase and the future is exciting.
Justin Taylor is Head
of EMEA Retail Services.