Most people now shop online. You do not have to think too far back when asked about the last item you bought on the internet. Online sales continue to grow year by year. However, there is something about the experience of real-life shopping that customers still find attractive. There are certain ways in which the brick-and-mortar experience cannot be beaten. For example, you can try out new things with no shipping delays. Also, it is a social experience that gives you instant gratification. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the in-store shopping industry has been disrupted at a rapid rate.
Customers not only chose but were advised to stay home during the pandemic. This resulted in customers tending more towards eCommerce. Even if it was not for the pandemic, retail stores are losing pace in the US. Many of the changes the pandemic has bought are likely to stay. However, that does not mean that retail stores are going to die out. The most relevant question for both old and new retail stores is how they can best position their business for a prosperous year. Here are some expected trends for this year:
API means application programming interface. An API is the umbrella term for multiple applications interacting with and helping each other via data. APIs have become a vital tool for businesses in all sections. Simply put, an API ensures a most transparent and straightforward end-user experience. Businesses have sales forces, large paperwork, and so on, which can be automated with the help of APIs. It can aid advertisement-driven businesses as they can place their ads on external party apps and devices.
Multiple Payment Options
Smooth payment processing plays a key role in overall customer experience. Manual billing options and paper checks will soon become outdated. Not only that, they also put an extra burden on your system. An electric payment method can successfully streamline the cash flow experience. The trends are predicting invisible frictionless payment methods. Such software is created so that payments can be embedded into applications.
Mobile payment methods will also be a big trend in this and the coming year. Making your business’s payment method digitized is crucial. Millennials and Gen Z make up almost 40% of global consumers. They expect to provide minimal information about themselves and be able to pay digitally. They expect to pay anywhere and anytime without contact. Flexible payment options allowing you to not pay the full price of the product at the time of transaction are also expected to increase.
AI and AR
AI and AR are said to have a huge impact on retail marketing in the coming future. Most of the businesses have moved online. This implies that the online shopping experience is not a personalized one necessarily. However, users would prefer a personalized experience. AI can help with this. Similarly to how you have an in-store assistant helping you and guiding you through your shopping, an AI can serve as your online personal assistant.
The AI learns from your customers and makes them feel that they are recognized and cared for. That is why AI will become an important trend in retail. It will add a human experience to online shopping. AR or augmented reality is another great product of technology that is set to revolutionize fashion retail. Be it shoes, sunglasses, or a new dress, people would want to try them on before purchasing them. AR will make it possible for them virtually. Apart from this, AI and AR can be utilized in the shipping process workflow as well as the custom shipping labels all the way to home delivery.
When it comes to marketing, the importance of social media cannot be emphasized enough. You can tell people about your business on various social media platforms. Influencer marketing through social media is a trend that will take on a swing. Posting about your business on Facebook, posting pictures on Instagram, and telling people about your services on Twitter can all be a part of your sales campaigns. Half of US customers use social media to ask questions about products. Any business planning to be around in the long-run is highly recommended to have a strong social media presence.
Online sales will continue to grow. There will be a bounce-back of retail stores after the pandemic ends. The survivors in retail will be determined by how well they can match the demands of Millenials and Gen Z. Incorporating AI and AR into your business while using social media to its fullest is the trend that almost everyone will follow.