Pay Attention to These Retail Trends Heading into Q4

10.05.2016 Articles

When it comes to retail trends, the only constant is the fact that they are always changing. In order for brands to effectively reach consumers, it’s crucial that they stay up-to-date with these trends. So, what’s happening in the retail world as we head into this year’s busy season? Here are a few important trends to keep in mind as we approach Q4:

Pokémon Go Is Dead

Remember Pokémon Go? It seems like just yesterday that marketers were using it to lure customers into their stores. While it may have won the summer, don’t bank on leveraging Pokémon Go to sell your products or services as we enter the holiday season. According to Business Insider, its weekly average users have been steadily declining since the last week of July. In addition, 61% of all mobile game buyers made an in-app Pokémon Go purchase on July 15. By September 3, that number dropped to 22.5%.

Gen Z Is Here

Meet Generation Z – who experts define as those born after the mid-90’s. This generation is starting to drive, heading to college, and quickly becoming the next target group for marketers. While Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials are still making most of the buying decisions, the time to start tailoring your products and services to the preferences of Gen Z and getting ahead of your competition is now!

What are those preferences? According to a July 2016 report by Retail Perceptions, a global leader in innovative retail solutions, 89% of Gen Z shoppers consider themselves price-conscious shoppers. 62% prefer to spend money on experience over material possessions, and their preferred method of communication is overwhelmingly text.

Creating a unique and compelling shopping experience, setting up an SMS marketing program, and ensuring a strong social media presence are all ways to reach the up-and-coming Generation Z.

Augmented Reality Is the Future

As virtual technology continues to improve, many brands are already finding that virtual and augmented reality experiences are helping consumers make buying decisions.

One of the best early examples of this is an app from a Southern California furniture retailer, Jerome’s. Because new furniture can be difficult to envision within a home (even when you have all the measurements), they created an experience that allows customers to virtually decorate their home.

It’s not only furniture retailers who are taking advantage of this technology, either! American Apparel is bringing the virtual experience to their clothing stores, and Converse lets you view multiple colors and styles of their sneakers on your feet with a simple swipe. Shiseido’s Magic Mirror lets you visualize a variety of lipsticks, eye-shadows and blush by scanning your facial features and showing you what the make-up looks like on your face – before you buy!

Social Consciousness Is Important

While there are plenty of positive examples of brands weighing in on social issues, there are also plenty of harmful examples. Nonetheless, brands are joining the conversation when it comes to discussing what’s happening in the world. How can you leverage the conversation and be smart about it?

With 2016 being a presidential election year in the U.S., there are plenty of opportunities for brands to jump into the discussion. You don’t have to choose sides, either. Create “Go Vote” campaigns or offer deals, discounts and specials to people wearing “I voted” stickers. Tailor one of your products around American-related themes like what Ben & Jerry’s has done.

The holidays are also a great time to be charitable. Giving is a virtue not only celebrated by individuals, but by brands as well. Not only is it great for the people in need, but charity can also be good for business. According to a study in AdWeek, 70% of millennials will spend more on brands that support causes.

Shopping Experience Matters

As noted previously, Generation Z shoppers generally spend money on experiences versus material possessions. But if you’re a product-based retailer, how do you sell to this buying preference?

One of the most recent examples of what the future might look like when it comes to physical retail locations is Samsung 837 – the flagship North American retail space of the South Korean conglomerate. Filled with VR tunnels and other high-tech, cutting-edge displays, Samsung 837 is actually not a store, but it does give us a glimpse into the future of retail. As Zach Overton, the VP and GM of Samsung 837 noted, “we wanted to build what we think is the future of retail. Which is not retail, but experience.”

Another experience that many grocery retailers have started to provide is the ability for customers to drink while they shop. Wine bars, beer gardens and cup holders in shopping carts are sprouting up everywhere. This novel idea has helped some grocers set themselves apart from competitors and encourage consumers to stay in their store longer.

Other ways to enhance your physical or digital stores are with interactive storefronts, loyalty programs that reward customers for using their smartphones while shopping, and email marketing promotions. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of compelling retail signage, fixture installations and permanent displays that leave customers with a great first impression, or Brand Shops that showcase the products you want and deliver a shopping experience customized to your brand! Contact us to build your custom solution and to become an industry leader when it comes to retail trends.