After becoming thoroughly tired of reading article after article of rehashed content and predictions, Conversity recently published a white paper on the future of retail, brands and telco. A collaboration with the retail consultant, Sarah Cameron, the paper is a concise guide for retail & telco professionals – identifying the five big ideas, trends and predictions in 2018.

If you fancy, you can download it (free of course), HERE.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that research attests that those leading the pack will employ a faster and more agile retail culture, leveraging intelligent tech enablers to unify customer benefits across all channels. They will combine physical with digital and focus the best customer advisors on selling rather than the tedium of transactions and tasks. But what are the key take away points retailers, telco and trend leaders should focus on?

TREND ONE…

First, let’s look at trend one, where the physical and digital merge for the increasingly intolerant customer. All customers are digital, but they have differing digital speeds varying from Millennials to the silent generation. Regardless of digital speed, SMART technology transcends age and all customers will demand the same accessible and hassle-free digital experience from physical stores. The rise of digital is undisputed, but stores are here to stay, with shoppers loving the energy and social interaction of our nation’s favourite past time. The physical and digital merge.

THE FREE FROM EXPERIENCE

No, we’re not talking gluten or dairy, we’re talking free from queues and free from cash. The traditional shackles of purchasing in store are expected to fall away, leaving customers free to pay by app or account.

This does not mean free from the human touch. Redirect your friendliest and most knowledgeable customer advisors to focus on personalised selling rather than transactional tasks. Focus the selling model on delighting customers, driving sales and building loyalty.

DIGITAL PARITY

This is how global business Nordstrom describe the synergy customers should experience irrespective of the channel they are using. Queue-less shops. You don’t queue online, why should you in store? Unify digital and store teams to co-create a frictionless customer journey irrespective of channel – leveraging the benefits of both.

BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE (BYOD)

The hip way to interact & pay; Seattle style. The benefits? BYOD instantly removes some of the angst over legacy systems and compatibility with mobile payment. It’s cheaper, requires less capital investment in POS, increases selling space and is easier and quicker for the customer. Retail winners in 2018 are developing fast, effortless purchase journeys on smart phones.

UNIFIED COMMERCE

The new buzzwords in retail and telco. STOP CHANNEL SILO THINKING. Customers don’t think in terms of channels and neither should retailers. A silo in any organisation slows down agility. For shoppers, all touch points and channels are blurred as one brand. Get it wrong on one ‘channel’ and you tarnish the rest.

Unify a frictionless experience across all touch points that benefits the customer and your team.

THE CONVENIENCE X FACTOR

Shoppers want an easy life. Same day or at least next day fulfilment is expected. Free shipping is a requirement and speed is now the name of the game.

Generating the convenience ‘X Factor’ that sets you apart from the rest wins repeat business. Expect a seismic change in delivery options, store layout and particularly the collection experience – an opportunity to personalise offers and link-sell.

LAST MILE INNOVATION

Retailers and telco in 2018 will to look towards Seattle and become experts in ‘last mile innovation’. This means being as skilled & passionate about making fulfilment, returns and service effortless for the customer as they are about the products they sell. They recognise this as a key influencer to purchase and repeat business.

NEW AGE DATA

The best thing about merging the physical and the digital? Advisors are available to sell, customers get their easy purchase journey and retailers capture stunning new insights into the shopping psyche of their physical store goers. Amazon knows this. Expect greater, more targeted personalisation brought to life through Intelligent guided selling both in person and online.

CHANGING ROLES

The role of customer advisors is about to shift significantly.

Customer advisors for Amazon Go focus on advice for complex purchases, promotions and cross sell – leaving the simple purchase journeys to the independent and tech enabled.

This is only trend one!  

There are four more glorious trends to come on the future for retailers, telcos and brands in 2018. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if you simply could not wait for the next installment here on the blog – so feel free to download the white paper now.

We’d love to hear how you’re merging the physical and the digital. Are you using guided selling to personalise each customer experience? Are your store staff being armed with the tech they’ve been raised on to promote best-practice selling that moves seamlessly from online to in store and call-centre?

Let us know.

The Conversity Team