Commerce Trends To Watch–and Shape–in 2014

2014 will not so much be a year of new promises as a year where existing promises of mobile, social and big data will come true. These are some things we expect to see more of in 2014:

1. Channel merging

The digital and physical worlds continue to converge. Driven by web, mobile and social platforms, shoppers can now discover, research and purchase anytime, anywhere – at home, at work or on the move. In a world where commerce is everywhere, shoppers expect a seamless experience across channels – whether they’re in Showrooming or Webrooming mode. Hointer is a great example of the blurring of lines between physical and online retailers. 2014 may mark the beginning of the end of pure-play online retail.Physical retailers are increasingly acting like online retailers, by adopting online principles such as personalized recommendations, individual pricing and offers specific to location and time. And online retailers are increasingly acting like physical retailers, by adopting principles such as instant gratification with the advent of on-demand delivery services.

2. Earning data

Brands and retailers will increasingly want to own data about their shoppers, instead of relying on paid third party sources.They will ‘earn’ the data from their shoppers by delivering value in return for information. As shoppers share more personal information through smartphones, social media and loyalty programs, they’ll see their shopper journey transformed into über-personal and tailored experiences. Shoppers are increasingly becoming familiar and comfortable with exchanging personal information for content, experiences and offers that are meaningful to them. They understand their data has value; not just to others, but first and foremost to themselves. Privacy remains a concern, and part of earning people’s data is earning their trust. Data will become an important currency for value exchange.

3. Resurgence of small and local
Increasing urbanization and a rise in smaller households are driving a need for smaller retailers, located around the block. Big box is going to act small, with conveniently located express stores and small specialty stores. But also, mom-and-pop shops will strike back. Accessible technology such as location-based services, mobile payment systems and wearable technology will be accessible to smaller retailers at increasingly lower costs. Crowdsourced delivery services like Uber make on-demand delivery accessible to smaller shops, not just those retailers with huge logistical infrastructures in place.Smaller, local shops are best positioned to marry the tangible experience and immediacy of physical retail with the richness and personalization of online.

What are your plans for 2014?How will you utilize these trends to your benefit and help shape their development?

(Image sources: Hointer blog; own picture at H&M; Cedar & Hyde)