As we enter 2018, it’s time for retailers to look forward to another year and the changes it will bring.
You probably have plenty of projects and campaigns in the works for 2018, but it’s important that whatever internal plans you have are drawn up with external trends in mind. And there’s plenty of changes to look out for. Here’s what you should expect from UK retail in 2018.
More mobile payments
Contactless and smartphone payments are on the rise, thanks to higher levels of acceptance across retailers large and small. Given that point of sale terminals must have contactless functionality by 2020, even more retailers will be upgrading their hardware during 2018. Additionally, expect usage of Apple and Android Pay to rise, as more and more terminals offer limitless mobile payments.
Removal of credit card fees
As of 2018, it’s illegal for UK retailers (both offline and online) to add card payment fees to transactions. Make sure you’ve changed your policies accordingly and calculated how this lost revenue will affect your finances.
Dynamic pricing is a pricing method that involves automatically tweaking prices based on levels of demand. Online retailers like Amazon already use this approach, and Uber notably uses ‘surge pricing’ to increase fares when demand is high. Brick and mortar retailers can’t alter prices quite so easily, but that could be set to change. Major UK supermarkets are trialling ‘smart shelves’, upon which product prices are displayed digitally, so that they be altered instantly. Expect to see more retailers, both online and offline, testing out dynamic pricing in the coming year.
We all know that data is incredibly valuable to retailers, but 2018 will bring the GDPR to the UK. This new set of data protection regulations, coming into force on May 25th, will mean that retailers (and all businesses) must be compliant with tough new rules on data usage, or face eye-watering fines. Here’s a useful primer if you’re not sure where to start.
More social media adverts
If you use social media to market your business, expect your organic (in other words, no cost) content to become less effective. That’s because Facebook and other social networks want to de-clutter social media feeds and get more businesses paying for promoted posts and other advertising options.
We recommend trying out Facebook’s advertising options in particular, because they offer incredibly powerful targeting options to help you reach your market more effectively.
Dealing with Amazon
Amazon continues to muscle their way into more retail sectors. Even if your sector isn’t impacted by Amazon at present, it might well be in the near future. There are two approaches you can take here.
First, if you can’t beat them, join them. Sell some or all of your products through Amazon to reach their customer base. Second, focus on making your in-store experience the focus of your efforts in 2018. Give your customers a reason to make the journey to your shop, whether it’s incredible customer service, personalised recommendations, or simply a friendly face at the point of sale.
Retail technology continues its advance, and all retailers must be aware of its potential. When deciding which technology to invest in, make sure it strengthens your brand, instead of detracting from your company’s USP.
Don’t forget: behind the scenes technology like retail management software can be just as effective as customer-facing tech. If you’d like to upgrade your current system, check out Trader’s impressive retail management capabilities.
Trader is an easy to use electronic point of sale system designed for the unique requirements of building, plumbing and timber merchants, hardware and DIY stores in the UK and Ireland.
Our team are ready to help with any queries or arrange a demo for you.