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Top 3 Retail Trends To Watch For In 2019

By Glenn Sniezek

Ongoing challenges in the retail sector over the past few years have forced many to shutter the doors of some of the most iconic brick-and-mortar store fronts that have graced towns and cities for decades due to changing shopping habits, along with years of overly aggressive store growth.

Last year, 16 U.S. retailers filed for bankruptcy or announced liquidation plans. In 2017, 21 retailers filed for bankruptcy.

“Business as usual” is not an option in the retail sector. In order to succeed and compete in 2019 and beyond, they will need to adapt and meet evolving market dynamics. In order to avoid filing for bankruptcy or being swallowed up by competitors, retailers will need to offer a more personalized shopping experience with an awareness towards integrating modern technology that enhance customer service, among others, especially as consumers and retail brands become ever more interconnected.

Bottom line: the days of relying on mall traffic and brick-and-mortar store fronts are going the way of the dinosaur.

Below are three key trends to watch that will likely re-shape the retail sector going forward in 2019 and beyond:

  1. 1)  Experiential Retail: Experiential retail appears to be the future of retail. As consumers choose to invest in experiences rather than just products alone, retailers will need to respond to meet the growing needs of their customers. This, in turn, develops customer loyalty (for example, Apple’s fan base waiting for the next iteration of technology), which is top-of-mind for retailers that are looking to get a jump in today’s on-demand economy.
  2. 2)  Technology – IoT & Cognitive Computing and AI: Digital technology is at a retailers’ disposal to attract customers for a more personalized shopping experience. For example, retailers can leverage IoT (Internet of Things) technologies found in everyday products, like home speakers, TVs, and cars, to the Internet, which they can collect hoards of data to provide better insight about their customers’ product usage, buying habits, etc. Additionally, retailers can implement cognitive computing into their customer support technology to enhance customer service or leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to monitor everything from consumer purchasing habits to AI-powered chatbots for better one-on-one service.
  3. 3:  Automated Retail: The concept of self-service, standalone kiosks that operate as fully automatic retail stores through the use of software integrations to replace the traditional services inside a traditional brick-and-mortar store is rapidly gaining traction in the retail sector (think RedBox movie rentals, etc.). We will likely see more rollouts of automated shopping concepts implemented in shopping malls and city courts in 2019 and the years to come.

Companies who utilize these three trends to transform their business model and provide enhanced shopping experiences will be able to adapt to the changing market dynamics and customer demands. This will position these companies to survive in a very competitive environment for retail products and services. Retail companies that fail to implement these trends will continue to lag their competition and struggle in the current environment necessitating more Chapter 11 restructurings or liquidations.


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Glenn SniezekDirector

Glenn Sniezek is a Director in Dacarba’s Restructuring practice. He has over 20 years of public accounting, corporate finance and restructuring experience and has provided interim management and advisory services to both public and private companies in the energy, oilfield services, retail, manufacturing and transportation industries. Glenn has significant experience in cash management, preparation and review of financial forecasts, budgets and long-term business plans, integration and transition for mergers and acquisitions, troubled debt restructurings and bankruptcies. Mr. Sniezek earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Rutgers University.