One month in, and 2018 is already sparking new trends in the retail industry. While some trends are like bell bottom jeans and mullets, missing out on some key retail trends could leave businesses stagnant while trend-focused competitors grow. So what are some of the key trends coming up this year — and how can businesses in the photo industry capitalise on them? Here are a few trends businesses can implement to grow.
Customisation and personalisation are continuing to drive growth.
Remember finding your name on a keychain as a kid at a touristy gift shop? In 2018, personalisation is no less exciting, but easier than ever to do thanks to technology. For photo-focused businesses, this trend can apply to anywhere from marketing to products. For example, a photo print shop could offer personalised service to design and print a gallery wall, customised to the client’s home, images and sense of style.
Another way companies are implementing personalisation is through the use of technology, and in particular, artificial intelligence that is able to recommend products based on what the customer has already viewed. Chat-bots, when properly tailored to your brand, can also help customers build a stronger connection with your company.
Cash is old school.
While accepting a variety of payment options is a good idea, many small businesses haven’t yet adapted to the idea of a cashless payment system. In 2018, Amazon is opening stores without cashiers and Apple, Android and Samsung are allowing users to pay with their phones. While research from Business Insider doesn’t show growth predictions as strong as in 2017, estimates are still putting mobile payments in the billions over the next three years alone. By offering more convenient cash-free payment options, photo-focused businesses can offer one more reason for customers to come back.
Trends aren’t all about tech.
Sure, cashless payments and chat-bots are all trends powered by technology, but trends are far from being tech-only. While the user experience has always been part of a successful online store, the same idea is expanding to brick and mortar stores in 2018. Creating an enjoyable in-store experience, along with encouraging customers to spend more time there, can help businesses grow. As Forbes points out, retailers that focus on the tactile experience stores can offer that e-commerce cannot are doing well, like Coach’s new approach with in-store personalisation, for example.
How can photo-focused retailers enhance the in-store experience? Old-school options like excellent customer service still go a long way. Displaying samples in-store to allow customers to see different finish types and paper types is another option. Hosting free workshops to teach photography skills, or perhaps a DIY workshop teaching the art of making a gallery wall, are just a few of the ideas to enhance the in-store experience.
Photo retailers aren’t immune to changes in the retail industry — and quickly recognising and adapting to new retail trends can help your business to outpace the competitors. With years in the photo industry, Photo Direct is here to help photo businesses find new ways to grow. If you want to brainstorm new ways to help your company grow, call the sales team at Photo Direct at (03) 9894 1644 so we can help you expand your business in 2018 and beyond.