Retail 2015: Participation, personalisation and experiences with substance

This time of year presents a great opportunity to take a look at how trends have evolved over the past 12 months, and to look ahead at what’s to come in 2015. With that in mind, BookingBug’s CEO and founder Glenn Shoosmith shares his predictions for the year ahead when it comes to services and experiences in retail…

Looking at the coming year, it’s easy to identify technologies like beacons, mobile and NFC payment that will continue to grow in retail. But here at BookingBug, the most interesting trends we’re seeing in the market go a bit deeper. For 2015, we see emerging focus around participation, personalisation and creating experiences with substance.

Participation

First up is participation, also identified by IDC as a key label for the coming year. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that you can build an elaborate store design and fill it with all sorts of impressive gadgets — but that alone isn’t enough to attract customers.

Customers need experiences that beckon their participation and teach them something new. That means more than fitting rooms and casual advice, it means experiences that revolve around them, are made for them and made to bring them closer to the brand. Create a space for them in your stores and make it easy for them to be there.

Personalisation

The second trend we see among the retailers we work with is personalisation. Lots of retailers currently use data to map out big patterns and improve their proposition — but true personalisation means finding non-invasive ways to express the value of customers’ data directly back to them, not just your wider invisible strategy. By the time they hit your store doors, you should be ready to give them the experience of their lives one a one-by-one basis.

Again, this means designing ways for them to interact with you where they aren’t just another cog floating through your sales machine.

Experiences with substance

Finally, this is what it all comes down to. Most retailers now know that it pays to focus on your fans. But many have tried to do so by hijacking their conversations on social media or trying to impress them with cat pictures on brand pages that aren’t even showing up in streams.

Truly impressing your fans starts by creating experiences with substance at the point where they have chosen to focus their attention on you. If you can wow them when they arrive in store, then you give them something genuinely worth talking about and sharing. But more than that, you achieve it by giving them a better service. That’s how you create real brand advocates, with real, personal relationships.

It’s the ultimate meritocracy and our number one observation among the most successful brands we’ve been working within 2014.