Over the last decade, the retail landscape has been transformed by the growth of e-commerce and by shifting consumer expectations. Retailers have therefore needed to find new ways to succeed in a changing environment. A new trend report by retail data company EDITED predicts that, in 2020, retailers will focus on short-term pop-ups, human-centered technology and sustainable applications.
Rising rents, combined with the efficiency of e-commerce shipping, has led to many store closures in the last few years. However, a new kind of physical retail emerged that EDITED expects to dominate in 2020: the pop-up. Short-term leases enable retailers to test brick-and-mortar strategies with lower commitment, while providing excitement for the consumer. This is particularly effective with DTC brands that are launching physical retail for the first time.
Pop-up retail frequently involves more interactive experiences than traditional stores. This encourages consumers to step away from online shopping and try something new. The EDITED forecast says that, in 2020, retailers will utilize technology to better create these immersive experiences, but they need to focus on adding value, not just flash.
“Advanced tech will still play a crucial role in future brick-and-mortar businesses,” said the EDITED report. “However, a human element is required to focus on the customer. Chanel has already reported a positive impact on sales through its pilot digital innovation project with Farfetch: the Rue Cambon store in Paris introduced an app for customers and sales associates along with connected mirrors in the changing rooms.”
Consumers have demonstrated that they are not impressed with gimmicks, and so retailers need to leverage their staff in order to maximize results. The Chanel project gives sales associates access to the product choices that customers have already made and saved in the app. Associates can then prepare changing rooms and make relevant recommendations, providing an enhanced and curated experience.
Technology is also expected to be used earlier in the product journey. With brands and retailers more concerned about environmental impact than ever before, sustainable innovations will be highly valued. Digital sampling reduces the waste product usually created in traditional sampling by using a digital record to replace physical swatches and prototypes. EDITED predicts that it will be used more frequently in 2020.
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