Cincinnati, OH — Toronto-based innovation shop Trend Hunter has cranked out over 10,000 custom trends profiles in the past decade, and they compressed their annual 3-day innovation experience into an 8-hour intensive course.

One of the day's talks focused on the evolution of consumer behavior and what will influence their buying decisions and shopping habits going forward. “Future of Shop: Retail Innovation, Omnichannel & Marketing” covered the future of retail, and how success in the future will hinge on seamless omnichannel experiences. This subject is not limited to retail and is something everyone should be working toward if they plan on sticking around.

Why This Matters

Ady Floyd, Research Manager, and Courtney Scharf, SVP of Research Services of Trend Hunter have broken this consumer trend into four factors: Hybridization, Personalization, Experience, and Artificial Intelligence. These factors are the leading determinants for success in omnichannel utilization. With each one comes a unique challenge, but also a unique opportunity to innovate. 

Hybridization: This is the seamless experience a consumer has between channels and platform. Your shopping experience should be the same whether the consumer is using mobile, online, or physically at a location. The shift to Brick-and-Modem is an example of e-commerce companies taking cues from their traditional counterparts, offering online experiences that mimic brick-and-mortar shopping.

Personalization: Offering shoppers an experience tailored specifically to them is one way to engage consumers and create a more loyal customer base. Now with rising technology this can be done across multiple platforms. Omni-Personal experiences use new technology like AR and VR, combined with social media and consumer data to fully tailored experiences for consumers regardless of how they shop.

Experience: It’s been proven, people are spending more on experiences than they used to, so as a brand how are you supposed to attract customers? Immerse them in an experience of your own. This is exactly what brands are starting to do, creating interactive shopping experiences to drive sales. Retail Gaming is one example of this, making shopping fun again. Even major brands like Nike have used experiences to sell their basketball shoes, a segment in which they controlled 93% of the market in 2015. 

Artificial Intelligence: You’ve probably heard these two words recently. Whether you watch John Oliver or heard Elon Musk acting relatable on a popular podcast, AI has been a popular topic lately. Retail has also been abuzz with AI and the potential it brings to the consumer experience. If you’ve ever had Alexa order you a pizza, you’ve experienced this potential come to light. Voice-Activated Retail is one space where AI seamlessly integrates into your life using the technology you already use and own.

Going forward companies have continued to find new and innovative ways to stay ahead of the competition. Omnichannel is just the next step in that evolution, with early adopters of Hybridization, Personalization, Experience, and Artificial Intelligence leading the way. With consumers being inundated by brand messaging, creating an easier, personal, and seamless experience can only increase your chances of gaining their attention and favor. 

Stay tuned here for more updates from the conference in the coming days.

About the Author:

Colin is an Associate Director of Innovation helping the team show the way in a changing marketplace. A graphic designer by trade, he comes from a brand marketing background. Colin hopes to continue bringing life to brand’s stories through innovative and attractive new ideas.