There are signs that 2018 could be a welcome antidote to 2017’s rather unsuccessful retail year. There were many retail closures in 2017, and while 2018 can expect further losses they’re unlikely to be on the same scale.

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The 2018 tax cut has seen consumers anticipating the goods on offer this year. Below are some key trends that are set to change 2018’s retail outlook.

Transforming technology

Technology continually changes, and retailers will need to adapt to survive. Small changes are more likely to succeed than a complete transformation. Artificial intelligence, for example, can be applied to many areas of retail, including customer service interactions and manufacturing.

2018 will probably also be the year in which digital integration emerges in both small and large-scale retailers. The customer shopping experience will be focused on, with retailers using technology to ensure that customers have an enjoyable experience.

WhatsApp has mainly been used as a communication tool between friends and relatives. However, retailers such as Yoox Net-A-Porter have been testing WhatsApp as an order confirmation and customer service tool. It’s likely that other retailers will follow suit and also begin using WhatsApp as a communication channel.

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Customers come first

2018 will see retailers put their customers’ needs and wants at the forefront of their business strategy. The customer is now in charge of what they wish to buy, whereas retailers previously had more power to tell the customer what they should be purchasing.

Consumers now expect lower prices and competitive deals, and want to be enticed to purchase products. Retailers will have to compete by using in store media to ensure that they don’t lose customers to other chains.

Smaller shops can offer a personal touch that bigger retailers just can’t, and these shops would benefit from reaching customers during the purchasing process by using in-store media, and in store media can be arranged through Mood media.

Change is needed

Retailers are realising that in order to stay relevant, they need to meet their consumers’ needs and demands. Large chains such as Boots will survive, but we’re also likely to see an evolution of smaller high street stores. While some predict that online shopping will eventually destroy the high street, the personal touch that smaller stores can offer may ensure their survival.

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