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Goodbye Retail Apocalypse, Hello 2018!

Great news everyone! Although 2017 was named the “Retail Apocalypse”, things are looking up for the industry in 2018. In 2017, many areas were evolving and being innovated on, so this year it’s time for adaptation and enhancements to ensure a more successful year. As discussed in our previous blog, change is sometimes difficult to adapt to. And 2017 was flooded with changes. From technology innovations, to company restructuring, the news was constantly covering top retail headlines. And it may be no different for this upcoming year, however these changes could be for the better.

Here are some retail predictions for 2018:

Apocalypse movement to improvement

This retail apocalypse was definitely an eye-opener. While there was no ‘destruction’ of the industry, many well-known retailers had to close their stores, deal with bankruptcies and CEO departures, Amazon made its way to the talk of the town, and retailers grew worried. Companies had to turn to sales and promotions to get their items off the shelves and still try to make a profit. And according to Business Insider, over 6,400 stores closed in 2017 alone, and compared walking through a mall this year to walking through a graveyard.

So, the good news? Many top industry sources predict that these bankruptcies will slow, and the apocalypse will make a 180 towards reformation. Philip Emma, from Debtwire stated “With fewer stores expected to close in 2018, there may be an opportunity for the survivors to generate some better margins by not having to compete against [liquidation] sales.” Even Forbes said “Retailers have come through a time of trial, and many of the ones that have survived have made the necessary adjustments to align with evolving consumer needs and desires.” So while 2018 may still bring some challenges for retailers, there are many opportunities for success.

Technology… get used to it!

The Forbes retail contributor team made some predictions for the upcoming year, many having to do with the innovations created last year. They discussed how technology is only becoming more prevalent in the industry, and retailers are going to have to adapt to these changes. “2017 was the year of digital discovery; 2018 will be the year of technology and more integration of it into mainstream retail.”

Whether you’re a consumer, a retailer, a brand, a CEO, an SVP, a store manager, technology is going to play a big part of your 2018. So it’s time to adapt to these changes and hop on the speedier bandwagon. Both physical and digital retailers have witnessed introductions of technology in 2017. And these introductions are now being adapted into everyday lives. From VR, to AR, to AI, we are constantly being bombarded with new ways to use new technologies.

Make shopping a personalized experience

Shopping is no longer just about “buying”. It’s about the entire journey from the moment a consumer steps into a store, or opens up an ecommerce site on their computer. Retailers will be focusing on a more customer-centric, personalized way of maintaining their customers’ interests and making their experiences as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

So retail isn’t “dead”, it’s just going through series of changes. 2017 was the year that retailers got hit with these changes, for better or for worse, and 2018 will be for adapting to these changes, and aligning with customers’ needs for great opportunity. And while this industry can be quite unpredictable due to many different factors (weather, consumer preferences, economy, etc) the future of the industry is still looking up for the new year.