We used Adyen data and market research to get a glimpse into the future of retail technology in our global retail predictions for 2018.
The retail world always takes leaps, but as 2018 approaches, we have some early clues as to where it might land.
Savvy retailers constantly look for innovations that make shopping faster, simpler, and more intuitive. Last year we predicted that mobile payments, data-driven risk management, and the rise of subscription businesses would make 2017 the year of ultra-convenience.
This year, quite different themes have emerged. The first: efficiency. Millennial and Gen Z shoppers want an experience that offers the best of the online and brick-and-mortar worlds and doesn’t waste their time in either place.
And as people tune in to mobile phones and devices around the clock, shoppers of all ages are embracing innovations in voice technology and augmented reality, as well as personalized shopping experiences that incorporate big data and AI.
The 10 predictions below are based on Adyen data, market research, and anecdotes from Adyen merchants around the globe.
Retail predictions for 2018
Unified commerce becomes the norm
Tomorrow’s consumers will insist on efficiency, whether shopping online or in a brick-and-mortar store. This means queue-busting, more ways to pay, and seamless omnichannel experiences. In a recent survey, Adyen found that shoppers of all ages would shop more often if they could avoid lines and do things like return items in a store that they bought online using unified commerce.
Predicting customer preferences using big data and AI
Retailers are already using predictive intelligence to customize shopping experiences, but now they’re taking a leap forward with AI and machine learning, forecasting product preferences, habits and the way clothing fits. Live shopper recognition lets them send targeted offers to shoppers as they enter a store. And data from online shoppers can be used to create heat maps to help retailers identify new store locations. All this is made possible with unified data, which tracks shopper behavior across regions and channels.
The pop-up becomes permanent
Why does a luxury brand need a pop-up? It adds even more exclusivity to an already exclusive shopping experience. Fendi, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton rolled out imaginative pop-ups this year, positioning themselves for social media and viral marketing opportunities. More stores will start building pop-ups into their annual budgets.
Chinese shoppers become the new global power shoppers
Well-to-do Chinese Millennials are looking for iconic brands, and they have an average of $8,000 to spend on them. In fact, Chinese tourists will by far outspend American tourists next year, a trend that will continue until 2025, when Chinese tourists are projected to spend a collective $255 billion while traveling abroad.
Ordering more than pizza on Messenger
Ordering pizza via Facebook Messenger was last year’s news. But as consumers get more comfortable spending money on Messenger, WeChat and other communication platforms, they’re doing more than buying tickets and ordering food there, plunking down larger and larger amounts for high-end luxury goods and clothing.
Real-world cyber-hacks will boost efforts to fight fraud
After the Equifax hack and a slew of other breaches, cybersecurity will be top of mind in 2018. Savvy retailers will start syncing up data from all channels to know exactly what to block.
Augmented reality becomes an everyday shopping reality
In years past, shopping using the technology behind Pokemon Go seemed like a longshot. But Target just added AR to its mobile website, and Mastercard recently rolled out an AR shopping experience that uses ODG smartglasses and checks your identity through an iris scan. It launches at Saks Fifth Avenue in 2018.
Voice shopping goes mainstream
“Voice” has been the technology buzzword of 2017, but now voice shopping efforts are entering the mainstream, as Target and Walmart both recently rolled out voice partnerships with Google Home, and Alibaba said it was getting into the game.
Physical stores turn into town squares
The fate of the brick-and-mortar store has been unclear for years. But a new vision has bubbled up after big announcements from Apple and others, describing stores as “town squares,” places for shoppers to have social experiences like eating, drinking, and watching entertainment, rather than shopping for goods and leaving the store with them. The newest Nordstrom store reflects the shift toward “retailtainment.”
The disappearing sales associate
The next generation of shoppers can do their own product research, thank you very much. In a recent consumer survey, Adyen found that only 7 percent of Gen Zers want sales associates readily available to make recommendations while shopping in-store. Combined with self-service and “just walk out” checkouts for everything from designer clothing to Macy’s shoes, the role of the sales associate will diminish or radically shift in 2018.
Trends change fast
Whether a shopper pays with voice recognition or an iris scan, a transaction is still a transaction. A payments platform capable of processing transactions quickly and efficiently is essential to ensure that the latest nifty retail experience isn’t interrupted in the end by a failed payment.