5 Trends from the US that retailers should know
Find out which retail trends to keep an eye on
It has to be easy for customers to shop. So easy that they don’t have to speak with the shop assistants. Data is becoming even more important for tailoring buying experiences to the individual customer – it has to be personal to a completely different extent than we are used to today.
This is what the American retail expert, Naseem Sayani, principal at BCG Digital Ventures, says of the biggest trends in retail in the US. For more than 20 years, she has helped companies transform their business, among which include customers such as Nike, Sephora, and Coca-Cola.
We have asked her to point out five trends that Danish retailers must keep an eye on, given that the US market is far ahead of the Danish market where Amazon is 50% of the market.
1. AI IS DEVELOPING NEW PRODUCTS
In the US, artificial intelligence is no longer solely used to predict which products customers are buying next time. It also gaining traction in product development and creates brand new products that do not exist today.
This is something Amazon has had success with. Amazon utilises artificial intelligence in the design process, where an algorithm designs new clothes based on the knowledge that this algorithm collects regarding new trends. Consumers can see Amazon’s clothes, but it is only produced after an order is placed.
Another retailer who uses artificial intelligence is Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix sends customers clothing packages that are made up of all available data on the customers’ body measurements and clothing taste, whereby it predicts and selects the clothing that best suits the customers’ style and size.
2. DATA FROM ONLINE IS USED OFFLINE
Digital channels are being used more and more to scale businesses. When new brands arrive on the market, they no longer start with wholesale and physical stores to later scale to online. Instead, they start online, learn everything they can, and then either scale them to physical stores and wholesale or scale them online. For example, Amazon uses knowledge from their online sales to customise which books are on the shelves in the various stores because they can see that customers from Seattle buy different books than the customers from Miami.
3. DROP ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL
The personal buying experience is not a new concept, but it must become even more personal. In the US, retailers develop unique products for the individual customer based on customer data that algorithms convert to products. For example, buying a shampoo from Prose begins by being asked a number of questions about the customer’s hair and lifestyle before a shampoo is mixed from 135 factors about the customer, while Hawthorne, who develops products in a similar way, uses data to calculate when customers are running out of e.g. their personalised deodorant and sends them a new one.
4. REQUIREMENTS FOR TRANSPARENCY
Sustainability and health are a major part of consumer awareness, and Naseem believes this is even more prominent in the Nordic countries.
In the US, consumers want to know how the products have been manufactured, and how they have been shipped, but they do not want to pay more for it. If a brand does not meet consumers’ moral expectations, they choose another brand. This places demands on brands to be transparent throughout the supply chain. For example, in the autumn of 2018, IBM launched the Food Trust, a blockchain-based solution that follows products throughout the supply chain and makes this data available to consumers.
5. CONSUMERS DO NOT WANT TO WAIT
Shopping must go fast. Consumers no longer want to queue. They don’t want to wait. They don’t want to speak to salespeople. One of the fast-growing trends in the US is to reduce the buying process so that it is as fast and simple as possible. When ordering a coffee, Naseem does so via the Starbucks app, where she chooses a coffee shop and pays. When she arrives at the coffee shop, she must only ask the barista for her order, and then she is hastily on her way out the door with a coffee in her hand.