As we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, our McKenna Logistics team took some time to consider how the shopping and shipping experience may transform and evolve in the year ahead.
Here are our collective predictions:
1. Online Shopping Will Increase
As retailers continue to track in-store purchasing data versus online purchasing data, we expect that more and more businesses will convert to focus solely or primarily on their online shopping experience.
“Retailing executives must acknowledge that the new technologies will get faster, cheaper, and more versatile.” – Darrell K. Rigby, Harvard Business Review
With shoppers preferring to spend money on goods from the comfort of their homes or offices, online shopping and the pressure for quick shipping will increase.
However, retailers and consumers need to be conscious of the impact this shift will have. For example, department stores will continue to face bankruptcy, and did you know: same day shipping is bad for environment?
“What should I do differently today if I believe that 20% of our sales will soon come from digital retailing—and that 80% of our sales will be heavily influenced by it? Should we be opening any new stores at all?” – Darrell K. Rigby, Harvard Business Review
2. AI Machine Learning & Emerging Shopping Tech
Drones, robots, virtual reality, and more. 2019 will see an insurgence of retail tech dominating the future of delivery. We also expect that the shopping and shipping experience will become more personalized due to the collection of big data – much like the way Spotify playlists are personalized to each music listener.
In other words, buyers can expect to see even more online items that are catered to their unique and specific interests.
“Consumer engagement is entering a new level in 2019 and will only be possible by investing in complex data software and exploring ways to collect and leverage data in their sales, CSR, and marketing.” – Devin Fitzpatrick, CDF Consulting
3. More Retailers Will Offer ‘Click & Collect’ Services
Have you been online shopping recently? If you have, you may have noticed that more and more retailers are suggesting that shoppers can pick up their orders in-store instead of choosing delivery.
“Why the change?”, you might ask.
Well, the push to ‘click and collect’ largely emerged due to:
- The desire for instant gratification
- Delivery cost savings
- Time crunch for delivery during holidays
Take HBC’s push for ‘click and collect’ during the 2018 postal strike this past holiday season for example.
4. Omnipresence Over Omnichannel
As customers expect more from companies, cross-channel returns and inventory demands will also grow. If inventory is not available or low, customers will want to know. If inventory will soon be restocked and a waiting list exists, customers will want access to that too.
“Integrating innovative ideas with the base business, in contrast, requires collaboration, compromise, and detailed planning.” – Darrell K. Rigby
Shopping journeys are more complex than ever. With dozens of touch points from Google searches, Facebook review checking, ad viewing, blog reading, and more, brands must reach out to buyers in a variety of different ways – creating frictionless experiences that result in a sale.
According to Ray Hartjen of RetailNext, “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where the transaction takes place, as long as the transaction takes place within the brand’s ecosystem.”
5. Millennial & Gen Z Market
It’s no secret that millennials are drawn to popular, “cool,” workplaces and brands like Amazon or Google. And as more millennials enter the workforce, and companies require employees with innovative, tech-savy skills, retail businesses will have to do more when it comes to their recruitment strategies.
Retailers will also have to do more to attract millenials to buy their products or services, as competition in the marketplace continues to become fiercer.
6. Pop Up & Store Design
In response to an increase in online shopping and delivery, marketers have had to create innovative store experiences to draw people out from behind their computers. In 2019, this trend will undoubtedly continue in the form of more ‘pop-up’ shops, instagrammable design spaces, and exclusive in-store giveaways.
We also expect store sizes to decrease, as department stores will continue to shut down and make way for boutique, photo-perfect speciality stores, coffee shops, and more.
“As retail footprints continue to shrink, dollars per square foot industry-wide will significantly increase as D2C retailers begin to more aggressively expand their offline presence, utilizing a small store mentality to penetrate key markets.” – Ani Collum, Trade Collective
However, we do wonder: when will people become nostalgic about the department store experience? Or being able to walk the aisles, to try on clothes, touch and pick up items, to carry bags, etc. Will department stores one day rise to popularity again? Maybe, but not quite yet.
“Retailers are investing in stores of the future and expensive digital technologies, yet the shelf, where 91% of purchase decisions for consumer-packaged goods are made, remains an emotional hinterland,” – Wendy Liebmann, WSL Strategic Retail
7. Payment Methods & Points
As Apple Pay, Android Pay, Bitcoin, PayPal, and other third party payment service providers emerge, the ways in which people pay for goods will continue to change. In fact, with many online purchases, paying by cheque, credit, or cash is simply not permitted.
Incentives to spend money at certain businesses will also continue to evolve as companies look for ways to offer perks, discounts, and points cards to attract customers. For example, someone may be more inclined to bank at a certain institution due to movie points or at a particular grocery store due to discounts.
What do you think of our predictions for 2019?
Have predictions of your own? We would love to hear from you!