5 Retail Industry Trends For 2014

bob-phibbsWe posted on our Top Trends for EyeCare Professionals and we ran across a post by Bob Phibbs in which he talks about 23 Retail Trends for 2014.  We have reprinted his 5 Top Trends and if  you can download all 23 here. I think you will find the same trends apply to eyecare professionals. It is not longer Show-rooming, it is Web rooming, The online training is an interesting phenomena and I also believe it will grow.

As the go-to expert for the retail industry, I’m keen to keep abreast of retail trends and share them with readers every year.

Here are five of the 23 larger trends. Since I don’t work for a mobile provider, deliver POS or digital shopping solutions, or have any skin in the game as they say, it is an unbiased list.

If you want to read all of them as well as my insights about them, download his free special report 23 Trends Every Retailer Should Know For 2014.

The nation’s economic outlook has vastly improved in recent weeks with signs of stronger job growth, bigger gains in personal incomes, and an improving housing market.  Because of this, sales will continue to grow in 2014 for many retailers.

Last year we saw how extended store hours mean practically every holiday will be a shopping day and with the UPS delays due to last-minute shoppers, online retailers discovered just how vulnerable online retailing can be.

That said, here are the first five trends you need to be aware of

If you are a supplier, expect retailers to push for free shipping.  If you are a retailer, expect your customers to push for free shipping too.

Mobile access will continue to be the topic of most retail news articles. But the hype still won’t match the results. Yes, you will see many of your customers using their phones in your store, but only if you communicate with them will you know if they are shopping a competitor or just checking with the babysitter. According to IBM’s recently released Digital Analytics Benchmark report, the trend of consumers using smartphones to browse but tablets to purchase showed almost 12 percent of holiday sales came from tablets while smartphones were only at 5 percent. 5 percent my friends…

Webrooming will offset showrooming. Customers are browsing online more and more at home and coming into a local store to purchase. This practice called webrooming is the opposite of showrooming where customers come into brick and mortar stores but purchase online.  The danger to most retailers is that the more you become a destination for pickup, the less important you are in the purchase process; you are a warehouse who happens to have their specific item. The opportunity for the smart retailers is to realize customers may have done the research online but what they have found isn’t necessarily the best product to fit their needs. Again, engaging customers in conversation is the key to finding the right product for them and increasing sales for you.

Online training of employees will expand. Human Resource departments, C-level executives, and managers already know that trying to train every employee is too expensive. That opens the door to virtual video training which can give the same training over and over again until the learner is certified. Therefore smart retailers will upgrade their bandwidth speed to be able to deliver online video training seamlessly.

Big Data will struggle to be relevant.  There is too much information streaming in and it doesn’t point to a clear predictor of future purchase.  Until the promise of connected data is able to be useful and not just interesting, let someone else be the pioneer.

In Summary

It’s all in how you look at changes and challenges. In 1946, Truman nationalized the railroads, but the French came up with the bikini. It’s all in how you look at the times you live.

More to follow on retail trends and how it effects eyecare professionals will be following.

Reprinted with Permission from Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor

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