The state of retail has undertaken a great transformation in the digital age. In order to remain relevant and competitive, it’s imperative that brands continuously evolve and reshape their strategy. As a result, the retail industry has grown stronger and become more customer-centric. From subscription boxes to personalized experiences, in 2019, retail brands are continuing to deliver what customers want, exactly when they want it. To learn more about these innovative trends, keep reading.
1. Subscription Boxes
Curated and personalized subscription services have been on the rise in the past few years and now, in 2019, there is a subscription box for everyone, even your pets. Meal kit companies, beauty boxes and personal styling subscriptions all contribute to the rapid growth we are seeing in this sector. A study conducted by McKinsey & Company shows that, back in 2011, the largest subscription box retailer was producing $57 million in sales and by 2016 the largest retailer was bringing in over $2.6 billion. Since 2010, subscription box sales have seen more than a 100% growth year-over-year. So, what makes subscription boxes so popular? McKinsey & Company surveyed thousands of shoppers in the U.S. and found that:
- 55% of people subscribe for the curation factor, they love being surprised by the variety of products.
- 32% subscribe for replenishment, these subscribers enjoy saving time and money via subscription boxes.
- 13% subscribe for access, these subscribers enjoy the exclusivity and perks that come along with the subscriptions.
With the dramatic growth of subscription boxes in the past few years and their subscribers love of curation, replenishment and access, the continued growth of subscription boxes won’t be holding back 2019.
2. Personalized and Predictive Experiences
In 2017, Sephora introduced a new store concept combining “traditional elements with mobile apps and activities that are completely unrelated to making a purchase.” Sephora’s new store design is intended to create a more hands-on experience for their customers. Personalization in the market place is a trend we are seeing grow due to consistent customer demand for unique experiences in recent years. Research conducted by Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association found that a growing number of consumers desire personalization in their shopping experiences, with 63 percent of those surveyed expressing interest in personalized recommendations. Predictive experiences, which rely on science to predict a consumer’s wants and needs, are also a valuable resource in today’s retail market. Netflix is one company that has mastered predictive analytics. Subscribers to Netflix have their data, such as demographics, watch history and ratings, analyzed by an AI-driven algorithm to predict what they will want to watch next. Approximately 80 percent of what a person watches on Netflix is due to predictive analysis and, while users may not be aware of the science behind their experience, they are loyal to Netflix because of it, and it saves the company $1 billion a year in customer retention.
3. Loyalty Apps
If your loyalty program is still a stamp card, it may be time for an upgrade. Customers love the perks of loyalty programs and they are willing to share their data in exchange for automatic coupons, loyalty points, exclusive deals and rewards, all of which can be contained within an app. Starbucks has been an innovator in the field, with their My Starbucks Rewards® loyalty program and Starbucks Card mobile payment launching in 2009. The program and mobile payment app were an instant hit, with consumers hitting “Gold Member” status and receiving rewards for their coffee purchases. In 2016, Starbucks relaunched the program, which came with a bit of backlash, but it continues to dominate the competition and remains the most popular mobile payment app, outperforming Apply Pay and Google Pay. Other retail businesses are taking note and making great strides in the loyalty app arena as well. Sephora, once again, goes the extra mile to provide their customers with the ultimate app experience, combining subscription boxes, personalized experiences, rewards programs and more. On the Sephora app, users can virtually try on makeup, receive updates regarding new products, shop their entire online store, subscribe to their monthly subscription box “PLAY!” and redeem rewards they collected via the Beauty Insider program. If there is one thing made obvious by the success of Sephora and Starbucks’ loyalty apps, it is that users love receiving rewards especially if they’re made as convenient and accessible as possible. When customers are able to access their loyalty programs on their mobile devices, they have a more rewarding retail experience, literally.
The retail trends that are dominating the market all have one thing in common: they are giving the customers an experience unlike any other. Whether they know it or not, customers want your brand to know them better than they know themselves. They order boxes of curated goods that they know they will love, sometimes without ever seeing what’s inside before they buy. They subscribe to streaming services that offer personalized recommendations for videos and music that they’ve never heard of before. Customers want an individual experience that is all their own and in 2019, we can make that possible. If you would like to learn more about retail trends, marketing and branding, contact Orange Label.