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Four Insightful Predictions for the Future of Retail (and Where Media Fits In)

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It turns out that the customer personalization ideas presented in 2002’s “Minority Report” will not be far from reality in five years. Costumer data, behavior, and derived intent will be not only stored, but utilized by media in the retail setting, and throughout the measured lifetime value of a customer.  Over the next few years, it will be imperative that retailers focus on data accessibility, omnichannel measurement, and personalized experiences for media and customer interactions to efficiently build affinity and sales.  Below are four predictions we expect to see in the wide world of retail:

  1. Accessible product information will be increasingly used to enhance store visits though supplemental devices.
    Expect to see personal smartphones, in-store displays, voice assistants, and augmented/virtual reality used to close a sale. Customer behavior continues to adapt to AI technology, which will play a large role in showing matching accessories or associated parts, additional imagery and videos, and product information to improve both store close rates and basket size. In addition, virtual assistants will also help big box retailers with wayfinding and retailers could sell placements to manufacturers for promoted content on the virtual shelf.
  2. Convenience, or speed to solve a want, will be an increasing costumer need.
    Especially for Millennials. The race for same day delivery (and convenient returns) must become a focus for retailers in order to compete with darlings Amazon and StitchFix. Customers will expect exactly what they want, when and where they want it and retailers will need to be nimble.
  3. Local inventory and pricing feeds will be used to drive customer demand for optimal visit times.
    Customer visibility into real-time pricing, inventory levels, size availability, new arrivals, and discounts is around the corner. There will be personalization of presented data based on a customer’s history, preference filters and bots. Additionally, home-based virtual assistants will connect with visual displays. With enhanced pre-shopping data and media, shopping trips will become more efficient resulting in loyalty to data-savvy brands. Further, there will be an opportunity to differentiate your brand through technology usage, especially to earn that prideful Millennial purchase.
  4. Centralization of customer data will improve measurement and targeting of media and marketing.
    Leading retailers are already focused on customer lifetime value, omnichannel measurement and cross-channel integration vs. a single sale/click ROI. Measurement technology such as in-store beacons, geo-location data (i.e. store visit rates), eye/movement tracking, and facial recognition through in-store signage and cameras will validate and improve methodologies. Device or geographic algorithms should be layered on top of other strategies, such as different bidding or messaging for someone on a mobile phone five miles from a store vs. a desktop 20 miles away.

Future of Retail Media

In the future, innovative brands will adjust prices to increase the visit frequency of customers looking for the optimal time to visit, using real-time local inventory feeds and store traffic counts along with addressable media channels to immediately price items with different rates for certain customer segments. There will be a shift to local specialization and customization while online retailers battle on price for more commoditized products.  Media will enhance these points of differentiation and unique selection while reducing ad budgets for more commoditized goods to maintain margins.

Overall, successful retailers will embrace technology to centralize data/systems as well as establish rigorous internally focused education and change management initiatives to help traditional stakeholders understand and believe in the influence of this new omnichannel paradigm and not overlook internal campaign needs. Reach out to Resolution Media to learn more about how to navigate the inevitable sea of retail change by partnering with the most innovative media and technology companies crucial to help distinguish brand experiences in the hearts and minds of customers.