For most businesses, the difference between success and failure lies in meticulous planning. When it comes to retail businesses, that couldn’t be more accurate.
Sales forecasts are essential in planning the development of your retail business, to avoid running out of stock and risk losing business, and it helps you avoid overstock which can hinder your cash flow.
When it comes to predicting the future of retail sales, there are two elements that matter: historical data and prediction analysis. Over the years, Curve has managed to stand out in front of other forecasting solutions, due to the fact that it provides accurate sales forecasts based on machine learning technology. The fact is, trends, forecasts and statistics in the retail industry are rapidly shifting, so to help give a clearer picture of what the industry can expect we’ve put together The Future of Retail Sales by Curve.
Due to emerging technologies and a relatively positive economic background, consumer habits are now changing faster than ever. In 2019, retail sales in the US are expected to grow about 3.3%, summing up to over $5.5 trillion. Significant growth of over 15% is expected in e-commerce sales, as more and more small businesses are transitioning to the online shopping landscape. Many, traditional retailers who will be unable to adapt to the new shopping trends will see their shops close, which could cause a slight instability in the retail market for a short while.
Voice commerce and augmented reality are just a few of the many technologies that are expected to reshape the future of retail. How much these new technologies will affect your industry and whether or not you will be able to adapt to these changes will depend heavily on your sales data management and forecasting tools. Some industries will be more heavily affected than others, and only your own historical data will be able to predict how much and how fast your business will need to adapt.
The Automation of Shopping
While most people enjoy shopping, to the extent of their own budget, there are certain types of shopping experiences which we would all like to delegate. In the past few months, there’s been an uptick in what’s know as chore shopping, which is the act of buying commodities, things that we don’t really want, but which are still very much needed for a decent life. These types of repetitive purchases started to be automated in 2018 by big players like Amazon through subscriptions, auto-renewals, same day purchases and so on. So, if your business finds itself in the commodity area, you will absolutely need to adapt it to these new shopping trends.
Considering that 80 percent of consumers research items online before making a purchase, one can see that the future lies in a convergence between online and offline sales. Retailers now understand the advantages of the internet for sales and productivity boost.
Personalization For Survival.
While nobody really likes to shop for commodities, when it comes to luxury products, people still enjoy a traditional shopping experience, especially when it is tailored to their own preferences. For example, customers will still want to visit physical stores to buy products that would bring them joy, pleasure and long-lasting memories. However, as the market becomes more and more competitive, the retailers that will thrive will be those who will be able to offer their customers personalized shopping experience. As more of the products we purchase are mass-produced, consumers are starting to appreciate the value of customized items or items that are tailored to their specific needs.
According to a recent survey done by ConsumerThink, more than 64% of consumers don’t have a problem with retailers that save their data, as long as they actually do receive a customized shopping experience and their data is not shared with third parties. In other words, a big part of the major changes that we can expect will involve putting the customer, and not the product, at the center of the shopping experience.
Algorithms Will Eliminate Guess Work
Some people have a natural flair for business, being able to accurately predict new sales trends. Whether this is pure luck, or a native ability to recognize shopping patterns is still up for debate. While this might work for some of the smaller retailers, it’s far from being a solid sales forecasting strategy for large scale retailers. The good news is that in today’s technologically advanced times, no one has to rely on their gut. You just have to find accurate data management and sales forecasting solutions that can leverage consumer data for you.