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US Retail Industry Trends and Forecasts 2016 – 2017

Do you want to know what’s happening in the global retail industry? If yes, then you need to keep an eye on the trends and happenings in the US retail sector. After all, The United States is the home of the several largest retail firms in the world. Hence, it is quite obvious that the trends in US retail industry shall create a significant impact on the global retail sector as well.

E-commerce through Mobile – A Major Growth Driving Factor

According to statistics from eMarketer, the US retail e-commerce sales is expected to shoot up to $434.2 billion in 2017 which is nearly 4.9% higher than the sales in 2016 that are predicted to last up to $384.9 billion by the end of the year. One thing is sure here that most of the retail drive for the US economy comes from e-commerce platforms. Consumer electronics, apparel, and accessories are topping the list of the sectors that drive major retail traffic for the US economy.

Retail Industry Trends 2016 - 2017

According to research by Forrester, nearly 10% of total retail sales in the U.S comes from e-commerce, which has outpaced the sales rate of the bricks and mortar stores in the country over the past few years.

Retail Trend forecast

So, what’s driving growth for US online retail section? The answer is mobile technology.

It’s the advancements in the mobile technology that have led to an overhaul in the US retail sector today. Mobile commerce is growing enormously as more and more consumers prefer to buy from their smartphones and tablets. Today, more than half of the product consumers in The United States use their smartphones to find stores, discounts and make purchases online.

Smartphones and tablets are the major growth driving sources for US retail ecommerce sales. “Mobile already accounts for 11% of ecommerce sales in 2013, and its share will jump to 25% by 2017” says a study by eMarketer. While on other hand, Forbes expects the mobile retail sales in US to reach out to 31 billion dollars by 2017 which is double the retail sales that hit US market in 2012. Apart from this, there are even many other reports online that forecast the rapid growth of US retail M-Commerce sales right from 2016 to 2017.

The changing face of the retail processes has forced its retailers to make investments in creation of mobile friendly shopping experiences for their customers. Today, even the traditional retailers are planning to invest in online, mobile friendly sales channels to boost their retail sales, while the large-scale retail firms in the country are planning to come up with omni-channel experiences to enhance their business growth.

Crafting Amazing Customer Experiences

Fallen prey to the tough business competition and challenges in mobile implementations, the retailers today are trying to make up a distinct identity for their solutions by leveraging technologies like Internet of Things, wearable technologies and Augmented Reality. They are trying to create rich, out-of-the-world experiences for their customers through such cut-edge technologies.

For example, there are many BIG firms like The Home Depot, NordStorm, Tesco, etc., which have already leveraged these technologies to provide their customers with different yet user-friendly experiences.

Crafting out-of-the-world customer experiences is becoming mandatory task for the retailers in modern age and hence, this shall require a good understanding of customer behavior. Big Data is rapidly evolving as a comprehensive data analytics tool and is being leveraged by the firms for studying the consumer behavior for their marketing needs. At the same time, cognitive technologies are also emerging as solutions to most of the challenges arising in sales and management in retail sector.

Omni-Channel Buying Experiences are The Other Way Down

Retailers are now focused on creating an omni-channel presence for engaging customers through various platforms. They are looking to build multiple store fronts on different channels to beat out the fierce competition posed from the BIG retail giants like Amazon. However, successful implementation of this omni-channel strategy represents a lot of challenges for the retail firms regarding supply chain management and inventory management to meet out the varying customer needs. While a few fail to have adequate IT system and capabilities to offer seamless visibility in their processes to their clients, many fail to have a proper mechanism to fulfill out-of-stock requirements.

Hence, many retailers are now adopting a new way called Buy Online and Pick Up in Store strategy as a solution.

According to a study, last year in 2015, BOPIS strategy was adopted by Walmart followed by several renowned firms like Target, Best Buy, Kmart etc., to enhance their online sales.

Moreover, it is found that nearly 50% of the shoppers in U.S preferred BOPIS strategy in the last holiday season and got additional items from the store giving out more sales to the retailer. Hence, one thing is sure here that customers who buy online and pick in-store spend twice as much as those who only shop in-store.

BOPIS is for sure a future strategy for the retailers to buckle up their online retail sales, though there could be order fulfillment challenges in front of the retailers to cope up with. However, with better data and inventory management techniques, retailers can make BOPIS shopping experiences seamless and profitable for the customers.

Predicting the Retail Industry’s Future

The U.S retail sales predictions from trading economics.com reveal the rise in consumer spending in spite of dropped customer confidence from 2016 to 2017. The downfall in retail sales MoM and YoY numbers shows that retail industry is dropping in the United States in spite of the fact that there can be a considerable increase in consumer spending from 2016 to 2017.

According to the recent McKinsey’s predictions, US retail market shall observe a slow and steady growth in the next few years to come, but, still the market shall offer several good opportunities for growth to the businesses.

It seems like retailers shall be entirely dependent on technological solutions for their business growth in the years to come. However, in the particular time, it would be an interesting task to watch out how well and rapidly the retailers could adopt the changing technologies with time to manifest growth for their business with out-of-the-box solutions.
However, one thing is sure that only the retailers who could make up well with effective marketing and operational strategies followed by security management and implementations of cut-edge technologies, shall make up a mark for success shortly be it 2017.