Retail sales are being transformed by the arrival of new technologies to companies. Business sustainability nowadays involves obtaining new points of view and adapting to digitalization. New technologies and the digital transformation of the retail sector are causing a set of changes, some of which we have slowly started to notice, and we expect them to continue during the following years. Others are new and still unnoticeable. In this article we will go over the retail trends that are expected to prevail, and those that are expected to emerge, in 2018.
Retail trends for 2018
Metrics and accounting are as important as the product
Companies of the retail sector are increasingly considering data to be of great importance. This is because, based on that information and analytics, a greater knowledge about users can be obtained and trends can be detected, sales and marketing traceability can be measured, problems in products or campaigns can be corrected and demand can even be predicted.
As stated by the MODAES magazine, “we live in the world of instantaneity and it is very important to be able to use technology to manage departments in a highly effective manner while, at the same time, storing all the managed information to draw conclusions.”
Instantaneity and information management – two must-haves
Information demand by customers requires increasingly immediate responses. Sales agents should be capable of offering details on products, personalized promotions, stock or new services in real-time. With this in mind, retail trends show that technologies will have to adapt in 2018 to an online and offline service in order to never get disconnected from databases.
Information about visits and reports will always be made instantaneously thanks to onsite reporting systems, which are made possible thanks to mobile technologies and the sales applications available to sales representatives.
Further information: How to increase the profitability of your business efforts with sales reports
Mobile technologies as a link between marketing and sales
Mobile applications, which are becoming increasingly popular among sales representatives, also seem to be particularly useful to marketing departments. Thanks to them, marketing teams may take advantage of information collected by the sales force to create targeted advertisements at a lower cost (special campaigns, segmented catalogs for different consumer groups, etc.).
This will not only cause an increased marketing ROI, but will also generate synergies among marketing and sales departments which were up until now practically disconnected.
Related reading: Marketing intelligence: improve your ROI using sales data
Automation, personalization and recommendation
According to Fundación Orange, the integration of mobile technologies is another existing retail trend that will continue in 2018. The use of technological tools allows us to “accomplish improvements in the customer’s experience, more personalized offers based on user habits and tastes, and changes in processes for a greater automation. All of this helps retailers strengthen their brand, get closer to customers, anticipate their needs and make revisions and recommendations in a more effective manner.”
Concern over the buyer’s experience
The sales process needs to be interactive – a true dialogue with consumers in which they let us in on their problems and we can build a bond of mutual trust. Salespersons need to be capable of collecting important data on users, only then will they be able to provide an added value to the service and an improved purchasing experience.
The strength of sprint selling when getting to know users
As we have seen, buyers are the center of the entire sales ecosystem. Therefore, within the techniques salespersons carry out to boost sales in the retail sector, so-called sprint selling is the one that is gaining the most strength, and one of the prevailing retail trends for 2018.
Active listening is one of the key elements of the perfect sales process. Its essence involves properly listening to the customer, knowing how to adequately interpret their messages and communicating optimally.
As stated in our article Guidelines to improve customer management from the very first moment, knowing our prospective customers will provide us with insight to adapt to them and properly fulfill their wishes and needs.
New tools and technology are already implementing these active listening techniques and will continue to do so in 2018. For example, inaCátalog has a number of features focused on getting to know the customer.
Among them, we can mention the onsite reporting system, which includes customer satisfaction surveys that can be performed at the very moment when the purchase is taking place. In this way, in addition to making the customer participate in the development of the company, we can collect highly valuable information, since it will be at that moment when he will communicate his most immediate feelings and opinions to us.
Bet on mobile technologies
Preparing for the future and the rapidly changing markets is a difficult task, but not impossible. It implies developing new skills and knowing how to take advantage of the tools we have at our disposal, as well as finding those that are better tailored to our teams and their needs.
In this regard, technology is hard at work to stay updated on the work of our sales force in order to offer them the best possible solutions for the performance of their sales, and enhanced customer relationships. For example, a mobile sales & CRM app such as inaCátalog offers access to all customer information, stock levels, sales routes and organizer within a single application.
Furthermore, its advantages include a geolocation system, which makes it easier to know about sales performance by means of onsite reports, which allows salespersons to fill out their reports anywhere, anytime. All of this is integrated with your company’s ERP and has an automated information transfer system that works both on and offline, so that key information is available at all times to optimize sales efforts.
Now that you have seen the retail trends for 2018, we recommend you study the opportunities at your disposal and analyze how they will help your sales force. You may use our document “How to choose the best mobile CRM to boost your sales” for inspiration, and to learn about the results obtained by applying technology to your sales force.