How the Retail Landscape Will Transform in 2018 (And What You Need to Do to Adapt)

A year full of experiences and success is over, and now it is time to get ready for a brand new calendar year. What challenges will you tackle in 2018? As ever, there are many predictions about changes in customer expectations and new trends. And of course, a fresh new year gives us all time to consider how we can perfect long-standing customer expectations. We continue to hear that the impact of online shopping has continues to push the expectations of consumers even higher, which means that retailers have to improve their service according to rapidly changing consumer habits. 

Read on for to get clued up on a selection of the most important new trends in the world of customer service and IT world that sits staunchly in the background, keeping the whole industry ticking over.

Meeting the Expectations of Customers in 2018

Think about how technology has altered consumer habits. As the sophistication of online shopping continues to increase, so customer expectations also rise. When it comes to a shopping experience, consumers want fast a fast and convenient transaction, and the ability to reach customer service in one click. Meanwhile, people who still prefer to shop offline are beginning to demand the same.  

One of the main reasons people prefer to shop at e-commerce giants such as Amazon is that they can always trust the company to come good in cases of a problem in the delivery of an item, or in the order or return process. Providing an easy return policy and working to save time for your customers are just two of the key elements businesses need to master in order to fulfil today’s customers’ expectations.

Offering a variety of payment methods is another way that businesses can both save customers time, and encourage them to make a purchase. When you offer alternative payment options, you provide your customers with a reason to choose your business over that of a competitor For example, in bricks and mortar stores, payment methods such as Apple Pay can help you to speed up the checkout process, while a service like ZipPay – offering a buy now, pay later model to spread the cost of a transaction – can encourage your customers to make a much larger purchase than they might ordinarily.

The Importance of Omnichannel

We have already mentioned the importance of being setup to sell your goods online.. Selling online will help you to reach a wider range of consumers and, through avenues like social media marketing, provide a way for you to increase brand awareness and hone your brand image. 

Related to this – and an important consideration for 2018 – is Amazon’s presence in the Australian market. As a result of its entrance, retailers are watching to see how it affects the behaviour of consumers, and how they can best react. . Check our article about how to prepare your business for Amazon’s presence in Australia.

Another key consideration for 2018 is in providing an omnichannel experience – a consistent customer experience both online and offline. Providing a smooth and integrated customer experience across channels is not an easy task, so your retail software needs to be ready to handle it.

Erply also allows you to sell both online and offline, and makes product management and inventory replenishment easy, with the ability to handle it all in one place. With Erply, you can receive orders from multiple channels and keep your inventory in sync across them all.

The Impact of Social Media on Brand Perception

Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017 report revealed a plethora of insightful data about consumer habits in 2017. 54% of the survey’s respondents said that they get their first impression and a general idea about a product through word of mouth. Consumers always share their experiences with a product or brand, and this is truer than ever today, especially due to the prevalence of social media (and people’s eagerness to share their opinions on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter). If you haven’t already started to work on honing your brand’s online reputation and offline customer experience, now the time to act.

Cloud Computing Transforming Retail

Aside from consumer trends, another important of consideration for business owners is that of IT infrastructure expectations in the retail world for 2018. Customer expectations drive developments in the retail industry, and very soon legacy systems will be soon left behind, with many businesses stuck at a disadvantage. IN 2018, cloud-based solutions are taking over, with their simple to use and convenient features, and promises of high data protection.

As a retailer, your needs will constantly change, so working with flexible retail software provides you with a solution that will grow and adapt with you over the long-term, whatever the future may bring. When you need to adopt new e-commerce systems or open a new location, you retail software should not hold you back. With Erply, we promise that won’t ever happen.

Interested? Check out Erply’s full suite of features to find the right solution for your needs.

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