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IGD makes five predictions for retail in 2019

The IGD has named the five top trends it predicts will shape the global retail sector during 2019.

According to IGD head of insight, innovation and futures Toby Pickard, “2019’s biggest trend of all is likely to be the continuation of rapid and radical change in the food and grocery industry. We have already seen a significant pivot towards innovative new technology, and there is no sign of this letting up next year. Shoppers’ expectations have changed, and the retail and grocery sectors are working to meet those expectations in every area of business.”

The first trend predicted for next year will be a further reliance on data as a building block of retail growth, says the IGD. Customer datasets, artificial intelligence (AI) and in-store machine learning will allow retailers to target offers and products more effectively, better manage stock levels, and improve customer engagement, it says.

The IGD also predicts that retailers will increasingly take a lead on sustainability issues. It says that the public focus on food waste and plastic pollution will motivate retailers to innovate in terms of biodegradable packaging, and other ways of making a positive environmental contribution.

Meanwhile, physical stores will add additional digital features to provide a more seamless shopping experience – a move the IGD says is supported by 85 per cent of shoppers.

“Physical stores offer customers a more tangible shopping experience, where they can see products before they commit to purchase. This gives these spaces an advantage over online providers, and we are seeing stores begin to capitalise on that and add in extras to incorporate more of the benefits of online,” says Pickard. “A recent example of this is Il Viaggiator Goloso, a premium Italian brand, which has enabled its electronic shelf-edge labels to show the online reviews and scores products have received. This gives customers a more informed choice in store.”

Retailers are also increasing efforts to help customers live healthier lifestyles, according to the IGD. It says that customer health and wellbeing will become increasingly important in the market.

And, finally, social commerce will grow to offer more options for purchasing products ‘on the go’. “In 2019 we’ll see retailers think increasingly about making every moment shoppable. A recent innovation was EasyJet making it possible for Instagram users to find and book holidays to new destinations, simply by clicking on a photo they have seen,” says Pickard. “Whether through targeted marketing or simple ways to make purchasing more seamless, shopping is becoming not just more convenient but more instant as well.”

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