What is the road ahead for retail in 2014?

At the end of 2013, The Guardian published the thoughts of a panel of thinkers and experts on where retail will go in 2014. You can read the full article here, but I’d like to pick out a few of the subjects mentioned for my own comment here on the blog.

Customer service in the boardroom; this is extremely important and has only recently been acknowledge. Customer service is now touching every area of the business – it is no longer about offering a phone number and email address for complaints. Marketing is the most immediate area where great service is affecting because customers now publish their experiences – great experiences lead to personal recommendations on blogs and social networks and this is the most powerful type of marketing possible. Who would not trust a recommendation from a friend above an advert?

Holistic shopping; customers want more information before purchasing, they want to compare prices before committing to a purchase, they want to see reviews from other shoppers and they want to remain in touch. There is a far closer relationship with the customer today that starts long before they ever make a purchase and continues after the purchase – even if there is no complaint or specific reason to be in touch.

A smarter omnichannel; moving from offering many channels to a cohesive omnichannel where all communications channels are linked is an ambition for everyone in retail. It’s one of the biggest challenges for every retailer at present because customer expectations are high, but the rewards are going to be enormous for the retailers that can achieve this level of service.

These are the three trends I picked from the Guardian summary. What do you think will be the top retail trends worth watching this year? Tweet me on @darrenwakeling2 or leave a comment on the blog here.

Silk Shop

Photo by Anataman licensed under Creative Commons

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