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What’s In Store for 2016

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Many companies are issuing year-end predictions on what they think will be the retail trends for 2016. Vend, a company that designs POS systems, inventory, customer management, and inventory software, sees an increase in mobile POS usage. They note that 2015 year-over-year growth rate of mobile POS software installs in North America is an impressive 41%.

While traditional POS systems still exist, it’s predicted that almost all systems will be mobile by the end of 2016 because of several factors: mobile POS solutions are much more efficient for retailers, since they take up less space, store more information, and provide great flexibility.

Secondly, as far as the consumer is concerned, mobile POS systems streamline the in-store shopping process to create a better overall experience.

With the advancements in cloud computing, mobile POS systems are becoming much less costly than traditional cash registers.

Location-based technology will see increased use. Since so many shoppers are carrying smart phones, technologies like Bluetooth-connected beacons will provide retailers with ways to offer consumers more personalized, real-time messages, offers and promotions. These customer-centric personalizations will be absolutely crucial for retailers to have, and will become much more targeted and focused as retailers have the ability to record shoppers’ preferences and social media data to better understand them.

This type of technology is expected to result in more than $4 billion in U.S. sales just for 2015, so it will be interesting to see what happens in this area for 2016.

More in-store digital displays are on the horizon. Smart retailers realize the importance of combining content marketing with digital technology that enable them to repurpose content and reach a new demographic. Widespread adoption of in-store touch-screen features and interactive displays and help desks are expected to be more of the norm.

Market intelligence agency Mintel notes that many consumers have replaced “bigger is better” for more prudent purchases and supporting small businesses. Choosing local mom-and-pop stores have led to growth in farmers’ markets and interest in buying handmade items, which has led to a new emphasis on craftsmanship, regardless of the manufacturer. Retailers and brands, no matter what their size, “will be creating genuine stories to help to form relationships that give consumers the security that products are worthy of their investment and loyalty.”

With retail giants like Target and Wal-Mart already firmly ensconced in omni-channel marketing, 2016 will see more small and medium-size retailers developing their omni-channel capabilities. It’s thought that while these stores will be more dependent on physical sales, they’ll still have the online revenue stream and visibility necessary to sustain growth and sales.

Software AG, an enterprise technology provider, sees price differentiation becoming much more dynamic, with real-time electronic shelf pricing replicating customers’ online experiences.

The use of predictive analytics in retail will become more widespread. (Predictive analytics is the process of developing data-mining techniques that use analytical models to uncover hidden patterns and apply them to predict future trends and behavior). Retailers who adopt this technology will be able to know what customers are going to want and when.

The Internet of Things will play a big part in the store of the future, with its sensor-oriented devices enabling the most detailed and targeted customer centricity.

The ability for stores to monitor real-time operations like correlating and automating processes from staffing to inventory will be critical for retailers.

The necessity of real-time inventory will dominate the retail landscape, since customers demand to know the status of in-stock availability at all times. Retailers will control inventories by using technology that shows inventory levels across all channels.

We’ll explore more trends for 2016 in upcoming features.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, omni-channel,
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