As technology, big and small, continues to disrupt the once-settled retail industry, it’s becoming more and more critical for struggling merchants to predict where they should expend the most resources in the coming year, not for success but financial viability. Coincidentally, they won’t have to look far from the principal agent of change in their industry in 2016.
In Synchrony Financial’s most recent report — “10 Things to Know — the Top 10 Retail Trends for 2016” — the consumer finance firm explained that emerging high-tech product verticals, as well as advanced services only made possible through similarly advanced tech, will dictate what sells and what doesn’t this year. In fact, eight of the top 10 retail trends are directly linked to high-tech products or services:
- Wearable devices
- New retail holidays
- Voice technology
- Virtual reality showrooming
- Video streaming
- Internet of Things
- Mobile payments
- Buy buttons and social commerce
- Increased spending for pet products and services
- Data customization
John P. Williams, leader of marketing innovation at Synchrony, explained that the rate with which technology is changing is putting an as-yet-unseen level of pressure on retailers to make sure their intelligence on consumer behaviors is up to date.
“As an innovation- and technology-driven company, Synchrony Financial continuously tracks consumer insights and trends as a way to help retailers monitor areas impacting their business this year and in the next three to five years,” Williams said in a statement. “The pace of change is accelerating, and we are working with our retail partners to create easier, faster and more relevant and rewarding experiences for consumers.”
Synchrony identified an additional 16 notable trends that will steer the course of retail in 2016 and beyond, but it’s clear that technology will be a rudder by which the industry keeps itself upright and moving, regardless of dips in stock markets, consumer confidence or whatever else the disrupted retail world throws at them.