Five Retail Trends to Look for in 2020

By Aila Staff

January 6, 2020

With 2020 officially underway (and NRF 2020 just a few days away), industry insiders are placing their bets on the retail trends we’ll be seeing this year. We’ve selected five of the top trends that are sure to impact the way consumers shop and transform the stores they shop in. 

1. BOPIS is key to connecting online and in-store experiences

The retail service with the worst acronym is one of its best hopes for improving customer satisfaction. Buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), also known as “click-and-collect,” is one of the most important technological integrations stores can make in 2020.

According to analysts at TCS, BOPIS will play a larger role in overarching retail trends involving omnichannel experiences as consumers decide to save on shipping charges but still take advantage of the ease of online shopping.

“This trend is driving traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy to enhance their online functionality and offerings, while also pushing e-commerce retailers from Bonobos to Amazon to open brick-and-mortar stores,” said Charudatta Ganpule, Head of Retail Research Desk for TCS.

2. Collaborations between digital natives and traditional retailers

Brand collaborations have gained momentum in recent years, and that isn’t likely to slow down as consumer demand for personalization rises.

When Adidas and Arizona Beverages teamed up for an iced-tea-themed sneaker collab, fans of each brand flocked to a pop-up store (with maybe a little too much excitement).

We also saw digital natives like Rent the Runway team up with traditional retailers like Nordstrom to improve the customer experience. This collaboration gets shoppers into Nordstrom stores while also making it easier for Rent the Runway members to return their clothing so they can get their next rentals. 

Rent the Runway drop-off at Nordstrom. Aila's Interactive Kiosk.

Brand collaborations simply make sense in a competitive retail landscape where different retailers can leverage their strengths to raise their own profile while better connecting with consumers. 

3. Physical and digital will converge in other unexpected ways

As brick-and-mortar retailers leverage their resources to compete with digital brands, we’re likely to see more “concept” stores where physical spaces are used as a laboratory to test in-store initiatives. 

The Nike flagship store in New York City, for instance, contains six floors of innovation where the brand can test new ideas and where shoppers can try out new experiences, like dip-dyeing, embroidery, lasering and more.

Nike NYC House of Innovation

While many next-gen in-store experiences remain to be seen, having experimental spaces will be vital to the process. When asked about the future of brick-and-mortar, Nike Direct president Heidi O’Neill replied, “my honest answer is: we don’t know. But I do know, no matter what the future looks like, we can build it here, in Nike NYC.”

4. Community-building will continue to gain momentum

As Millenials and Gen Z continues to make up a larger percentage of American consumers, retailers are shifting to better represent the values and preferences of those demographics. Studies show that younger shoppers seek out products and stores that offer a unique experience—they value personalization, social connection, and authenticity in their shopping experiences. 

With the rise of YouTube and Instagram influencers as well as massive online communities like Reddit, consumers can find a niche for any number of hobbies and interests. Retailers are currently leveraging those communities to make sales, collect feedback, and improve their product offerings. This trend will continue into 2020 and beyond as younger shoppers enter the workforce. 

5. The most innovative and interesting retailers will thrive in the new landscape

While ecommerce has made shopping more convenient for consumers, it has also made shopping more competitive for retailers. To differentiate their brands from competitors, successful retailers will seek out customer feedback, engrain themselves in the communities their customers belong to, and stay a step ahead when it comes to experience and personalization. 

Jamie Merrick, head of Industry Strategy and Insights for Salesforce put it best:

“Being able to generate awareness, footfall, and additional revenue from genuinely useful and convenient offerings are the prizes, but only the imaginative and operationally nimble will be able to take advantage.”

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