If you shop online, you will note the many new and different ways that products are curated to you as a shopper. No longer are “flat” product pictures the norm. We now have 3D images, 360° views of products, close-up views of fabric, video that demonstrates the product, YouTube mini-ads showing products “at play,” and live, real-time updated customer reviews of the product. Content sells the product as much as look, fit, and feel. Savvy marketers are using multimedia content to make the shopping experience more engaging. Shoppers want to be entertained and informed as they browse the web (or store) and make purchase decisions.
Content-rich experiences extend beyond the web to the store. Brands will continue to find new ways to differentiate the in-store shopping experience from the one shoppers find online – testing, trialing, and sampling new ways of engaging with shoppers in store, thereby keeping the store relevant in the retail landscape.
E-commerce has been growing for years, but now consumers are shifting away from purchasing items on their laptop or desktop and are now buying via their phone or tablet (a trend that has grown substantially the last two years). Mobile payment capabilities will grow exponentially as brands look to deploy apps with capabilities similar to Starbucks and with the growing adoption of Apple Pay.
Cashless checkout will be an evolving trend (airlines are already training customers for this eventuality). Note that most retailers will say that cash can never go away completely (due to consumers not having credit cards, bank accounts, or smartphones) but cashless payment will grow substantially with the capability. Financial institutions, payment networks, mobile network operators, merchants, and mobile technology providers all have a vested interest in the deployment of a profitable mobile wallet solution and are battling for their own piece of the action. From a loyalty perspective, expect an increase in personalized offers, services, and rewards (vs. traditional points programs).