We all now have supercomputers in our pockets. We’ve come to expect a limitless catalogue of products, immediate insight into functionality and user reviews, comparisons with related products and, in some cases, same-day delivery. Responding to these expectations, progressive retailers—online and offline—are finding increasingly creative ways to raise the bar and put an end to the one-size-fits-all approach to retail. Just putting stuff on shelves no longer cuts it.
Here are 5 trends poised to transform shopping for the better in 2018.
1. Experiential shopping, minus the gimmicks
From espresso bars in salons to popup lemonade stands in stores, experiential shopping was all the rage 2017—almost to the point where it became a gimmick. It’s not enough anymore to add superfluous bells and whistles (or the ubiquitous DJ) in a bid to appear on trend. Retailers that are winning in the realm of experiential shopping are doing their homework to ensure the experiences offer real value to their core clientele.
Take London’s House of Vans, which made a concrete commitment to counterculture when it opened a custom BMX and skate park in the bottom of its flagship store. This wasn’t an afterthought: it was a dedicated effort to give customers a place to do what they love. This same upleveling of experience is happening digitally. Victoria’s Secret’s millennial-targeted PINK Nation app is a social media network that offers games, prizes and of course, discounts and promotions. But what sets it apart are on-campus events that move the socializing offline and create opportunities at colleges and universities for members to forge real-world connections. The key here is that these experiences are incredibly authentic—not cheap marketing tactics. They add meaning and value for the customer.