And just what do today’s consumers want? Just about everything. Whether they’re shopping online or offline, today’s consumers have come to expect a huge selection of products, instant insight into functionality, ratings and user reviews, and comparisons with other products, as well as guaranteed satisfaction and superior customer service. Today’s top consumer trends include:
Experiential shopping – Rich, relevant, satisfying purchasing experiences that add meaning and value to the brand and the products.
Deep personalization – Customized products, localized services, and special offers based on personalized data and technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as image recognition, robotics, and chatbots.
Digital integration – In the retail context, an omnichannel presence spans brick-and-mortar, social media, and the internet. Seamless integration across channels gives customers control and convenience.
Technology is also having an impact behind the retail counter as retailers leverage technological tools, including AI and the Internet of Things (IoT), to bolster their internal systems and refine their operations. Even small retailers now use logistics apps and the IoT to improve inventory visibility and forecasting.
Owners of small retail shops often feel overwhelmed by the profound changes in the retail environment and the rapidly changing technologies that underpin them. But small retailers still have a unique competitive advantage that the giant retailers cannot fully emulate: personal touch.