Top 5 2017 Retail Trends, from the Year Thus Far

by Bill McCarthy on 07-21-17

As the first half of the year comes to a close, a quick look back at the most significant 2017 retail trends that rocked the industry: from hybrid concepts to increased and varied levels of personalization.

Retailers can safely assume that the 2017 shopper is no longer surprised by novel technological advances in the store, but shoppers do demand a high level of customer service from store associates, no matter how intriguing the store formats or mobile gadgets are. Here are five of the key 2017 retail trends that we’ve noticed across all levels of the industry so far this year:

2017 retail trends
1.) Mobile payments are a ‘go’

The role of cash in shopper transactions is declining, with mobile devices becoming the new wallet.

According to Visa research, mobile payment will become the standard by 2020, as shoppers grow increasingly comfortable with mobile technology – entrusting their phones with functions including collating loyalty vouchers, verifying ID details and storing e-receipts.

The likes of Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay are already seeing growth across Europe, and this is likely to intensify when new EU legislation comes into force in January, which will revolutionize shoppers’ ability to carry out transactions between different payment service providers.

2017 retail trends2.) The shopping centre as a social hub

Regardless of regional differences, Europe’s shopping malls are becoming broader, more experiential retail destinations that incorporate healthcare services, offices, entertainment, and even homes.

According to Drapers, new shopping centers in this vein are opening apace across Europe. In May, following an expansion, the Oriocenter mall in Bergamo, Italy, became the continent’s largest shopping mall, offering 280 stores and 50 restaurants, as well as a 14-screen multiplex cinema.

Meanwhile, Finland’s Redi shopping centre development, set to open in 2018, will bring a climbing wall, flying centre and ride simulator to Helsinki’s retail/hospitality offer.

2017 retail trends
3.) Retail’s getting more personal

2017 is proving to be a milestone year for personalization. Shoppers are welcoming a level of service that’s more closely aligned to their needs, and retailers are benefiting from the data that shoppers share by targeting their marketing efforts toward individuals.

Co-Op Denmark has developed ‘Bip & Betal’ (‘beep and pay’), an app which guides the entire retail journey from check-in to checkout, and has the potential to offer personalized grocery-specific functions such as ‘allergy alarms’ on food orders.

Personalization can be delivered at a product level, too. In a pop-up store at Berlin’s Bikini Mall, Adidas offered shoppers the chance to design their own Merino sweaters, which were then knitted on location.

4.) Small is beautiful

In line with several other 2017 retail trends, stores are increasingly becoming places in which to engage the shopper, rather than sell to them. Facing rising rent and rates, retailers across Europe are looking for ways to make the best use of their real estate, leading to a host of smaller-format stores which offer a refined selection of products.

These showroom formats give customers the ability to explore a retailer’s wider portfolio through digital touchpoints in store.

In London, DIY giant B&Q opened its first small-format outlet, which is around one 30th of the size of its superstores. Meanwhile, big out-of-town and eCommerce brands are also exploring smaller-format outlets, seeing them as an opportunity to build their presence on the high street, or benefit from the credibility offered by a physical format.

2017 retail trends
5.) Friction-free IOT

Internet of Things (IOT) principles have become more widespread in 2017, resulting in an increasing number of ‘connected’ stores. As digital consumers express the desire for shopping journeys which incorporate their online experiences, retailers are exploring ways to deliver a more seamless omnichannel offer through technology.

Devices such as smart shelves and mirrors are joining existing tablet and self-service devices to more intelligently track and promote inventory.

For example, Nordic menswear brand, Oscar Jacobson, invested in IOT technology this year to reduce administrative tasks. This technology has also streamlined the retailer’s reporting and checkout processes, freeing up store staff to focus on the customer. The retailer plans to roll out click-and-collect and introduce a service that will allow shoppers to specify bespoke fabrics and sizes in the near future.

ShopperTrak helps retailers react to developing trends in shopper behavior by monitoring and analyzing footfall, supporting informed decision making all levels. 

Read more posts by Bill McCarthy

Bill McCarthy is the General Manager of the Americas, in which he oversees regional efforts pertaining to the Traffic Insights business unit.