How to win in 2019:

giving you the insight track

Retail is evolving into a more challenging yet exciting battleground, with the UK landscape still arguably one of the most dynamic in the world. Undoubtedly, 2019 will be difficult for brands neither open to adapting quickly nor willing to invest in creating a better customer experience

 

Understanding how to connect with consumers remains a big challenge; one that most retailers still aren’t as good at as they like to think. Whilst winds of change, in the form of AI, ever-more chat bots and cryptocurrency are set to blow, we think retail should be nailing the following:

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Supercharge the mobile experience

Over 85% of the UK own them, most people admit to feeling ‘glued to them’, but the experience doesn’t always meet expectations.

 

With more sites becoming vast marketplaces, the need for intuitive searching/filtering  and more personalised content is growing. Perceived speed is a basic that still isn’t nailed – be it long loading times, confusing user journeys, disjointed info/images and a poor call to action.

Enable big and small to join forces

Buying from small independents and local players continues to gain momentum. With a growing number of people feeling empowered to start their own business, you only need look on Instagram to glimpse a future full of more and more niche offers.

 

Here, big and small players working in partnership can prove especially potent as each is able to complement the other – minnows benefitting from the logistics power of the giants, giants being enhanced by the freshness and excitement that surrounds the little guys.

Go for genuine feel-good not tokenism

The wellbeing trend is here to stay and is broader than health as we knew it. It’s about giving customers the products, events and advice to feel good. It’s about everything from empowering vegans, helping people feel comfortable in their own skin and combatting loneliness to talking openly about mental health. Essentially, it’s about making a genuine commitment.

 

For example, on the issue of body image, this means not simply using a plus-sized model in an advert, or selling self-help books, but ensuring that the commitment permeates every aspect of the business and its products

Get more experimental in experiential

We’ve heard a lot about ‘experiential’ in-store developments in the past 3 years. However, the truth is the vast majority of UK high streets look little changed.

 

Retailers need to get better at being more experimental on a smaller scale rather than seeing improvements as being about vast investments or shiny PR stunts. Listening closely to customer gripes will reveal which precisely targeted innovations will deliver better quicker.

Make ethical STANDS not gestures

Plastic pollution really struck a chord in 2018. This is on top of mounting concerns about packaging, food waste and food miles.

 

There’s lots of scope for brands to take a bold stand here and own this space. However, this will increasingly need to demonstrate true commitment not just token efforts such as switching to paper straws!

 

Look how Iceland’s big promises and Pret’s veggie efforts are paying off – cementing themselves in shoppers’ minds as brands that care!

Radical rethinks to fix the friction

With Amazon Go expecting to launch in the UK next year and growing numbers of start-ups aiming to improve the customer experience, expectations of smooth journeys will continue to rise.

 

There are too many potholes in too many purchasing journeys. Retailers need to start thinking differently about addressing perennial woes that are likely to deepen as online sales rise e.g. slowness, disjointed complaints processes, shoddy deliveries.

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