Angus Burrell, General Manager UK, Omni-Channel Payment Solutions, at international payments solutions company, Valitor, shares some retail predictions in 2020.
It’s no secret that the retail landscape is in the midst of a dramatic shift. Consumers needs are constantly changing, the high street has been hit by the full force of online behemoths and this doesn’t look to be coming to a halt. On top of this, social media platforms have launched their own retail features, with Pinterest the most recent to embrace its position as a visual discovery search engine.
Looking to how this will unfold in 2020, social commerce will continue to empower social-savvy retailers to make a dent in the traditional world of retail. The reason it will continue to be such a powerful force is because it serves one of consumers’ most pressing needs; convenience. Over the next year, social networks will continue to make the path to purchase shorter and less complicated, allowing consumers to make a quick purchase with minimal effort. The future of social commerce lies in allowing retailers to deliver personalised content and a simplified purchase process, making consumers’ time spent interacting with brands on social more worthwhile.
The high street isn’t dead, but it does need a leader. Household retailers are struggling to remain current and Britain’s high streets are emptied out. But looking ahead to the next decade, the high street will continue to redefine itself, becoming a destination for experiences not just product purchases. Small and independent businesses are to be integral to this transformation, becoming the ‘nuts and bolts’ of local communities. People go to the high street to feel a sense of belonging and these local retailers can plug this need. The pledges outlined in the SME Finance Charter are a good first step to support small business but with 2020 shaping up to be one of the most turbulent years to date for the retail sector, local councils and authorities must support their local retailers if they are to make a real step-change for bricks and mortar in Britain.
The power of DTC
In order to better serve customers in 2020, direct-to-consumer brands will continue to take the lead in retail. Gone are the days of easy to win customer loyalty. Consumers feel no shame in looking to a competitor if a brand cannot offer them the right experience and the right price. Social media has helped to fuel this mentality, with the likes of Instagram allowing consumers to jump from retailer to retailer, with direct-to-consumer brands able to sell directly to their customers. The brands that triumph, are those that not just offer products, but an entire culture and ethos for their audience to buy into. In 2019 we saw household names from Debenhams to House of Fraser struggle as they failed to carve out their identity in an industry experiencing a seismic shift. Whereas the likes of Joules reigned with a clear vision. It’s not about what you sell on your shelves, it’s about what you represent to your audience.
By Angus Burrell
General Manager UK, Omni-Channel Payment Solutions