Small retailers are busy preparing for the holiday shopping season, but now’s the time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the future.
In 2018, small business owners experienced many significant highs, including months of record-shattering optimism. Small business owners also saw a new tax law introduce a 20% deduction on qualified business income.
However, the past year brought some challenges and anxieties for small retailers. With unemployment levels at record lows, many small business owners struggled to find qualified workers. Small business owners also wrestled to understand the new tax law while the impact of the China trade tariffs weighed heavily on their minds.
However, this doesn’t mean that all brick-and-mortar retailers are doomed to struggle in 2019. It just means that retailers must adapt if they intend to grow.
With a bright holiday shopping season just around the corner, small retailers are poised to end the year on a high note. They can continue the momentum by examining these three retail trends that are shaping the year ahead.
Retail Trend #1: Giving Customers Experiences They Can’t Get Online
People are increasingly moving away from material goods and spending more of their money on experiences. While online shopping is convenient, it can never replace the connection with a real human being. That’s why one retail trend to watch in 2019 is retailers creating appealing in-store experiences.
It’s worth exploring offering personalized styling services, special events, workshops, community spaces, and other opportunities to give your shoppers more.
These efforts not only offer new experiences but also give you the opportunity to add a new revenue stream.
Retail Trend #2: Multi-Channel Becomes Increasingly Important
That doesn’t mean online selling should be counted out. Traditional retailers now recognize they can’t survive with just a physical store—they need a multi-channel approach to reach new customers, generate more sales and grow.
A retail trend for 2019 and beyond is offering multiple retail solutions – both online and off. Although most shoppers still prefer buying in a physical store, many shop several outlets before buying.
Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Rakuten, Newegg, Bonanza, and Alibaba all have marketplace programs for retailers to sell on multiple channels, while Shopify, Wix, and BigCommerce offer easy to use online solutions to open your own online store.
In 2019, savvy retailers will focus on blending their physical and digital presence to better serve customers.
Retail Trend #3: Surprise & Delight in Unexpected Ways
Small retailers can impress customers in many ways.
Elevated levels of personalized attention, smart recommendations, and stellar customer service are just a few easy to implement ideas.
Thank-you notes to new customers and unexpected free products can take that to the next level
For instance, Juice company Suja Juice, used Twitter to find people using the hashtag #MondayBlues then offered free products to people who needed a pick-me-up.
When you take the time to care and acknowledge your customers, they’ll reward you with repeat business.
Revel in Retail Success in 2019
In 2019, retail’s reinvention continues. Look for a focus on experiences, meaningful connections and a multi-channel approach to reaching consumers.
Small retailers must recognize that success comes down to the customer.
It’s not about competing on price or offering the latest products. It’s about treating different customers differently and adapting as consumers’ preferences change.
Retailers who seek to truly understand their customers and provide personalized value will thrive in 2019.