With 2019 fresh upon us, Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.’s company thought leaders are peeking into their crystal balls to predict what the coming 365 days have in store for the retail and point-of-purchase industries. Indicating everything from uncharacteristic marketing opportunities to continued growth for self-service, their forecasts illustrate the constant objective to stay relevant to today’s consumer.
Trend 1: Innovative marketing across industries
By nature, marketing and advertising is an ever-evolving process to reach an audience. The TV commercials of our youth have given way to short clips before YouTube videos, while radio, print, and other traditional advertising now battle influencer and experiential marketing.
Creative director Ryan Lepianka says we’ll notice even more innovation in marketing cross-pollinating industries. “The marketing industry is turning any reason that people must leave the house into a selling opportunity,” he states. “Working out is a prime example. Marketers have a captive audience for 45 minutes. Why not engage a person during a time when he or she would gladly spend time thinking about something else?”
So how does this translate to the point-of-purchase industry? This heightened marketing that extends into a customer’s daily routine affords ample opportunities to merchandise a product or offer a service. “Did you know sports betting is no longer prohibited by federal law? There could be betting kiosks in every sports bar in very short order,” Lepianka asserts. “Who’s going to build those?”
Will we see more merchandising displays and interactive kiosks in unlikely places this year? Keep an eye out for those brands and retailers who recognise these chances to promote to buyers through unconventional avenues.
Trend 2: Augmented reality continues impact
2018 had no shortage of industry news articles confirming that retailers were beginning to explore how to utilise augmented reality (AR) to their benefit. Shoppers have been seeing AR pop up on mobile apps for a while now, using it to envision a piece of furniture in a tight space or instantly visualise how a paint color will look in a room.
But, more and more we see retailers harnessing its power at physical locations through in-store opportunities. Sephora serves as a prime example, offering kiosks for customers to experiment with different shades of makeup. Fast-fashion retailer Zara also encourages customers to download the brand’s app and take photos of in-store podiums to reveal a virtual model walking and displaying clothing pieces.
“Augmented reality will continue to make its way into retail,” says David Anzia, VP of sales. “The point of differentiation will be whether AR is a more solid tool for the retail and brands themselves as they measure client responses and foot traffic, or if customers will embrace it to help make more educated buying decisions at the point of sale.”
Both scenarios will likely play out big this year, with businesses adopting the technology to continue the important task of personalising experiences for customers as well as consumers eagerly using it to watch products come to life. With more buzz surrounding things like 3D car models and virtual fitting rooms, the excitement behind augmented reality and its value to brands is only just beginning.
Trend 3: Convenience remains a necessity
The goal to offer customer convenience is certainly not new. In fact, coupled with ‘personalisation’, both vocabulary words are used frequently when referring to common brand objectives. However, 2019 will continue to expand on customer service agendas put into place last year.
“It’s all about minimising the impact on consumers’ time and making transactions easy,” president Mike Mayer reveals.
More retailers will continue to expand programmes like Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) because of its popularity with customers who desire quick fulfillment of an order. In fact, a March 2018 report titled Kibo’s 2018 Consumer Trends Report – Engaging the Informed Consumer indicates 67% of survey participants had used BOPIS in the previous six months. With so many shoppers taking advantage, convenient opportunities like BOPIS will continue to be essential tools for retailers to entice new customers through the door.
Similarly, Mayer predicts self-service kiosks and devices will be a lasting mainstay in retail and the quick service restaurant industry. While a handful of restaurants and retailers rolled out self-service options over the last 12 months, 2018 mostly proved to be a year of testing as businesses began ironing out the details of launching their own programmes. 2019 should be the year when we’ll see many of these self-service plans come to fruition.
Furthermore, other verticals like hospitality and healthcare will also capitalise on integrating self-service technology for customers and patients, allowing their clientele to save on time while brands learn from information collected.