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By Joe Holley – Frank Mayer and Associates

The ball has dropped, the confetti has fallen, and the New Year has officially been ushered in. With 2017 on the horizon, it’s time to look to the future. What does the future hold for retail? Let’s take a look at what a few of our colleagues have to say.

Smaller Footprints
The New Year holds much for retail and we see it in the new programs and displays in the marketplace. Retailers and brands are asking how they can shrink footprints within brick and mortar establishments and still focus on a targeted product mix for the consumer. Ensuring that our footprint is smaller and specific to customer needs establishes brand and retail loyalty. This also makes it easier to shift focus from trying to sell customers on an item they already know that they want to upselling them on upgrades and add-ons.

Personalization: Using Technology to Tailor a Classic Retail Strategy
Today’s shoppers are doing their research online; no surprise. This has opened up a new playing field for technology in store as retailers are able to target personalized shopping experiences. The idea of collecting customer information for the sake of retail analysis is nothing new, but here is our take on the topic.

In the New Year, retailers and consumers will be expecting more personalized experiences through today’s technology that will enable a truly personalized offering. Retail will see their successes gathered from the integrated personalized shopping experiences of their customers which have been woven into the fabric-of-the-store. Frank Mayer and Associates Senior Vice President of Sales, David Anzia shared that, “by personalizing the shopping experience, we are also more able to focus on a particular type of consumer and their needs.” He also mentioned to stay tuned for some of the programs which will be deployed in the upcoming months as the personalized offerings really roll out at retail.

Technological advancements have made quite an impact on retail over the past year, allowing retailers to connect brick and mortar stores with the online purchasing experience. Often times, the two experiences overlap. According to Digital Signage Today, 75% of customers use their phones to research products while shopping in store. However, this does not mean that the two are one quite yet. This is where point-of-purchase displays come into play. In-store displays, particularly interactive kiosks, act as a medium between digital merchandising and a brick and mortar retail. Companies will be looking to connect the convenience of online shopping with the physicality of the in-store experience. By embracing technology, we can focus more on additional items and upselling the customer once they enter the store. Brand marketers will be using this to their advantage and using technology to push discounts, promotions and loyalty programs via smartphones within the store in order to draw the consumer into their category.

Connecting to a New Generation of Shoppers
In our 2016 predictions, shopper empowerment was already on our radar, meaning that shoppers preferred self-service via technology. The assurance of customer comfort and empowerment will be a key player in this new year of retail. Ryan Lepianka, the Creative Director for Frank Mayer and Associates, points out that, “the concept of self-help within brick and mortar stores is becoming increasingly popular, particularly among millennial shoppers.” Self-checkouts are replacing rows of traditional cashier-manned stations, and some stores are going so far as to eliminate salespeople on the floor all together. With an increasing number of Millennials becoming primary household consumers, self-help retail will likely be expanding, making an effective point-of-purchase program essential for brick and mortar stores in 2017.

The Industrial Internet of Things
In an engaging conversation with Ron Bowers, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Frank Mayer and Associates, his New Year prediction immediately zeroed in on the Industrial Internet of Things. He predicts that, “The Industrial Internet of Things will come into its own in 2017 because of the strategic benefits that Internet of Things affords, such as cost efficiencies, convenience and consumer personalization experiences.” The Industrial Internet of things has a substantial benefit in the logistical and supply chain of retail. These benefits will be instrumental in the personalized experiences retailers will be executing. There will be a lot more data with billions of new connected devices. Not just text and numbers but also images, video and voice which can all impact significant personalized opportunities for brands, retailers and consumers.

So, there you have it: our predictions for the New Year in retail. Do you have any of your own predictions for 2017 regarding Small Footprints, The Industrial Internet of Things, or Advanced Technology in the New Year? Looking forward to hearing about your 2017 predictions and what is in-store.

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