New practises, technologies and tools are redefining retail. The trends coming through are today’s opportunities, so below we take a look at three to see how things are changing and what is ahead for 2019.

1.Pop-ups without products

From brands to apps, we are seeing an increasing number of players look to pop-ups in retail environments as a way of attracting customers that are not just shopping for products, but experiences.  This year will see the social and dating app Bumble continue to grow a physical presence with its Hive pop-up concept; a play on the beehive branding to offer entertainment activities and networking.  “They’ll be something no one’s seen in the space, and it won’t be a model that you’ve seen outside the space” said Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.

Fresh from the holiday, perhaps you watched Miracle on 34th Street this Christmas?  The film shows Macy’s Santa Claus serving customers by telling them where they can find the toys they’re looking for, even if that means sending them to shop elsewhere. The story showed it to be a huge success for Macy’s as people felt more aligned with the store they could trust.  Customers are increasingly shopping with their emotions instead of their wallets, which leads to our next trend…

2.The rise of cultural hubs 

Customers are looking to engage with companies outside of conventional shopping parameters, so brands are increasingly aligning themselves with cultural agendas.  Leaders are seeking diversity of thought and using their internal culture to convey brand identity.  This not only attracts customers but staff as millennials are pushing preferences for authenticity and social consciousness.

3.Data with purpose

Tools that measure change and unlock value are increasingly popular to support teams with a live view on data tailored to different roles or tasks. Fast access to data helps to develop the right tactics, decide how much to invest in each effort and how to prioritise opportunities. A tailored platform powered by real-time analytics can free up managers from day-to-day specifics, allowing them to survey the competitive landscape and effectively lead the business with purpose.

As we carve the future of retail and the spaces where we live, network and play, it will become increasingly important to measure success in new ways. Data will drive this as we innovate and experiment.

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