How 2018 Trends Will Influence Companies in 2019 and the Future

In the past decade, retail has gone through significant changes. Omnichannel has gained more power, technology has become more advanced, and customer experience is more important than it ever has been, so what changes should we expect in 2019?

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Customer Experience

Customer experience is only going to get better thanks to personalization as this is what will help your company differentiate itself from others just as price or positioning does.

An econsultancy study gathered that in 2019:

  • 86% of consumers are prepared to pay more if the experience is better;
  • 73% of consumers state that the customer experience is one of the most important factors in making a purchase;
  • 65% of consumers claim that positive brand experience is more important than a solid advertising campaign.

Companies understand that customer loyalty is important when it comes to boosting a share of return clients and spreading word of mouth. Now, although it needs financial and intellectual investments, they have a much higher chance of paying off in comparison to others. In fact, based on PwC’s survey of 15,000 people, 1 in 3 customers are prepared to stop using a brand that they like if they disappoint them once and only 1 in 26 will reach out to the business to complain.

Buyers

Enhancing customer experience is complicated as it needs big data and deep analytics, which is where price optimizer software comes in handy. The thing is, though, buyers are aware and looking for profound experience with ethical companies and they have gotten good at sorting through real and fake marketing projects. In fact:

  • 30% of UK buyers care about the products origins problem. A YouGov study and the Global Poverty Project proved that three-quarters of them prefer to pay more for an item that pays staff fair and provides good working conditions.
  • UK’s eco-friendly travel and transport sub-sector claim that the “social good” idea is at its core, therefore, customers were willing to boost their spending by over 2,500% since 2000.
  • Based on Nielson’s Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of consumers globally are ready to pay more for an item from a sustainable company.
  • 73% of millennials have similar preferences.

This shows that customers want to be giving their money to those who care about sustainability, ethical practices, and who are transparent. In order to gain their attention, companies need their messages to hold integrity and be consistent. You also want your strategy to be defined so that you stand out, such as a plastic-free business. This goes to show how the moneymaking machine is leaning more towards responsibility, social consciousness, and small miracles that, with time, will turn into a constant cumulative effect.

Omnichannel Experiences

Today’s customers want to be able to communicate with sellers in any way possible; PricewaterhouseCoopers believes that the number of money businesses put into omnichannel customer experience will only continue growing from 20% to over 37%.

In addition, there are lots of types of retailers, some of which were online but now are click-and-brick ones, while others have opened online departments. The thing is, offline stores still exist as properly designed ones can benefit from continuously bringing back customers. However, mobile stores offer lots of opportunities, too, as everyone lives on the go, therefore, online mobile purchases have increased by more than a third. Shockingly, though, 9 out of 10 users have claimed some form dissatisfaction with customer support.

Artificial Intelligence

This tool is able to personalize everything however, you would like. For instance, this has made Amazon quite advantageous as they analyze past customer purchases, rate item search entries, and others so that every shopper receives the most relevant product. Now, 35% of sales are delivered through the recommendation engine.

IMRG & Hive’s research states that 75% of fashion retailers will invest in AI over the next couple of years with Alibaba already putting in $15 billion into research and development. In addition, 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey from Boston Retail Partners states that up to 55% of retailers will implement it in the next three years. Some examples include purchase recommendations after a survey and an algorithm that contacts certain customers at certain times. The thing is, despite the fact that a few AI scenarios are quite niche such as Sephora’s virtual artist, there will always be room for implementation since it reforms many problems including customer experience and product management, boosting efficiency, relevance, and profit.

Personal Data

Customers are gradually becoming more okay with sharing their personal data with the brand if it is safe; 75% even agree to offer sensitive information if they trust them. This is how companies will collect more useful information about shopping habits to create a solid customer base. However, with just one mistake, that trust can be lost and difficult to regain again with 82% stating that they would not make a purchase from someone they don’t trust. Even the big guns do not stand a chance. For example, only a year ago, three-quarters of Facebook users had depended on social media, trusting their privacy, but when the data breaches occurred, only half had still trusted them.

Extending Boundaries

Retailers believe that they already know lots about their customers with 82% claiming to have a good understanding of their needs and wants. Funny enough, less than a quarter of shoppers actually agree. This means that there is still plenty of room to grow. Therefore, try to provide shoppers with a highly personalized experience, leverage big data with predictive analysis to get more information to manage your company, go omnichannel to have a presence on each platform, take advantage of AI technologies, have an ethical business model, and try influencer marketing.

Even though a kid had made $22 million on a YouTube toy review channel, influencer marketing has not come to an end. There is still lots to figure out with $7.65 earned from each dollar and with micro-influencers on the rise.

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