Top 2018 Store Trends, Technologies and the Whole Shabang

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Top 2018 Store Trends, Technologies and the Whole Shabang

By Joe Skorupa - 01/31/2018

All retailers focus on three things to ensure stores succeed – convenience, great products and competitive prices. Then, when shoppers walk through the door, the execution of these essential strategies smacks them in the face.

All five senses are immediately engaged and everything the retailer stands for is transmitted in an instant and received by the shopper – prices, products, associates, marketing, music, merchandising, lighting, format, services, logos, graphics, technology, cultural markers, demographic markers, the whole shabang.

RIS and research partner IHL Consulting Group have been researching the “whole shabang” in terms of stores for the last 15 years, which is a long time in dog years and even longer in technology years. During this time, we called our joint report the Store Systems Study.

(Editor's Note: There will be a special webinar dedicated to key findings in the 2018 Store Experience Study on February 8 at 2 pm EST. The featured webinar speakers will be study principals Lee Holman and Joe Skorupa. Click here to register for the webinar.)

In 2018, we decided it is time for a change. Starting with this year’s report we are changing the name to the Store Experience Study to better reflect the importance of walking a mile in a shopper’s shoes and looking at everything through a consumer’s eyes as they experience store execution.

Here are the major takeaways we found in this year’s study:

  • Retailers will average an increase in store counts by 5.8% in 2018.
  • Retailers estimate revenue will grow 6.2% year over year.
  • Overall IT spending will increase 5.6% in 2018.
  • Tier 2 retailers, those with revenue between $500 million and $1 billion, will increase their IT budgets more than any other revenue tier.
  • Top five strategies for 2018 are: personalizing the customer experience (89%, inventory visibility (78%), Upgrading CRM/loyalty programs (72%), empowering store associates (59%), and single customer database across all channels (54%).
  • Top four technologies where budget dollars will flow in 2018 include: Mobile POS 31%, mobile devices for managers 23%, loyalty/CRM 23%, and mobile devices for associates 19%.
  • Top four emerging technologies where IT dollars are increasing include: proximity/location-based marketing 7.3%, AI/machine learning 7.0%, predictive/prescriptive analytics 7.6%, and conversational commerce 6.7%.
  • Top three departments that will incur staff reductions due to AI/machine learning are pricing 5.9%, merchandising/purchasing 5.5%, and warehouse/fulfillment 4.5%.

To download the complete report with a full set of charts and analysis, click here.

Unlike digital retailing, everything about a successful store is transparent, immediate and personal. It is a high-energy, full-contact, in-your-face sport where the customer is king. And it must be presented to shoppers as a new and fresh experience every single day.

Even in the age of omnichannel and unified commerce, brick-and-mortar stores are the purest expression of the art of retailing. Stores are not dead. Long live stores!

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