Stores closings are on a record pace and the retail industry will likely see more brick and mortar store closures this year than ever before. Now more than ever, retailers must keep a close eye on current trends. No one can predict the future, but by closely watching and reacting to consumer trends, you stay ahead of customer expectations and be better positioned to leverage opportunities.
A recent McKinsey report identified five dominant forces that will shape the consumer landscape over the next 15 years:
- New consumption patterns – focus on the shopping experience
- Connected world – social medium driven consumption and big data insight
- Changing face of the consumer – globally, middle-class spending is expected to triple
- Industry shifts – activist investors, consolidation, talent drought
- Economic power shifts – China’s GDP could exceed US GDP in less than 10 years
Most buying experiences are based on how customers are treated – experiences that are now being shared with the rest of the world. If customer service is bad, many leave and never come back. It’s estimated that over $80 billion is lost every year due to poor customer service. It now takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one bad one.
Until recently, brand image was largely controlled by brand managers. Going forward, category managers will need to effectively extract customer insights from big data and apply analytics to enhance customer experiences because one trend is clear: Brand experiences are driving brand image.