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Smart insights: Retail

The pace of change in the retail industry is driven by digital advancements: more touchpoints, more product reviews and comparisons for consumers to access anytime, anywhere. And more variety in the path to purchase of shoppers.

To stay competitive and relevant, retail businesses need to understand evolving shopping behaviors and target group demands. They need to apply this knowledge to create differentiated experiences across both digital and physical environments.

Our retail industry research experts provide the insights to support you at every stage: from measuring your shoppers’ experiences and paths to purchase, to monitoring retail performance and trends.

Latest insights

Here you can find the latest insights for retail industry. View all insights

    • 05/17/19
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Distribution and Supply Chain Management
    • Global
    • English

    05/29/19 - 05/31/19
    Join GfK at DISTREE Russia

    Russia’s leading hosted buyer event for consumer technology and B2B Channels, DISTREE RUSSIA, will take place from May 29 to 31 in Moscow.
    • 05/17/19
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Distribution and Supply Chain Management
    • Global
    • English

    GfK Supply Chain Insights

    Join our free partner webinar based on point of sales and distribution panel data to optimize your supply chain management and discover more about today’s key tech trends.
    • 05/10/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
    • Industrial Goods
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Energy
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Global
    • English

    New digital maps available for Germany, Austria and Switzerland

    GfK has released updated map editions for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with coverage of hundreds of changes to administrative and postcode regions. Up-to-date digital maps are the basis for carrying out accurate geographic analyses in geomarketing software and BI systems. 
    • 05/08/19
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Retail trends and technologies – pt. 2

    In our previous blog on retail trends & technologies, we discussed how retailers can adapt to intelligent retailing and increase their security in retail stores. In this post, we’ll cover how important it is to provide a connected customer experience and steps retailers can take into automation. The consumers of today want to not only make a purchase, but also have a great experience doing so. A rich experience is extremely relevant for shopping behavior—a key factor for retailers. Good experiences can provide additional value and trigger new or additional purchases.

    Retail Trend #3: Creating a seamless shopper experience

    Whether a customer is shopping in a brick and mortar store, at home or on the go, the most adequate experience should be available at all times. In retail trends, round the clock availability and situational independence are slowly becoming the norm. Our GfK FutureBuy study reveals that consumers regard “social media as an important source of information” and “mobile [as] an important tool for making a purchase” which further demonstrates the increasing importance of these experience drivers. Let’s look at different scenarios to describe what it means to provide a connected experience.

    Scenario 1: Connecting online with offline

    Let’s assume different shopper journeys for John. In his first purchase journey, he starts from home using a mobile/tablet to shop online. While browsing, he can use various technologies to help him find what he’s looking for such as:
    1. Voice assistant to bring up a specific item or store
    2. A store’s mobile app and its chatbot assistant
    3. A chatbot through the store’s social media page
    If John selects a product online and decides to collect it at the retail store, we’d call that retail trend “Click and Collect.” But if John schedules an appointment at the store to test the product and then decides to purchase it, he’ll be using the “Click and Reserve” model. If he does go with the “Click and Reserve” option, a trial room would then be available for John to try out the product or the store would provide a consultant to demonstrate the product at a specified time. In case of a fashion or luxury product, the store is equipped with smart mirrors and augmented reality that enables John to try out the products very quickly. If the size or color doesn’t suit him, John can change the item by using the smart mirror & AR features. Alternatively, the store consultant can be informed during the whole process using a chatbot assistant. In this case, the store consultant gets an alert on his digital assistant to provide help to the customer. This enhances John’s shopping experience by saving him the extra effort while the store reduces the risk of damage or theft. Smart mirrors and augmented reality can help shoppers try products quickly In case the product is not available, the store would then have a real-time ERP system and up-to-date information linked to its warehouse that can assist John by telling him the product availability. If the item is available, John can request to get it shipped to his home—called the “Select and Ship” model. Alternatively, he could also schedule another appointment to test it again when it’s in store. This technology could eliminate the issue of a more limited assortment that traditional retailers experience vs. online retailers.

    Scenario 2: Providing transparency and relevance

    While John is walking down the street near a store, he can also receive a message regarding new products or discounts. If John is already an existing customer, he can also get notified of loyalty offers. This is possible using technologies like beacons, Geo-fencing and Near Field Communication (NFC). Retail trends & technology like Geo-targeting can:
    1. Create awareness among consumers who are not yet customers
    2. Retain and up-sell to an existing customer

    Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) and digital signage can help the retailer to efficiently control product information dissemination, pricing and promotions from a central system. Once John is in the shop, he can get to know more about the product using digital screens and signage. Using visual search screens showing the store map, John could search for the product from the screen and can directly go to the appropriate section of the store. A connected shopper experience is as a catalyst for better sales. The two aspects in retail trends that are driving consumer towards online channels include:
    1. Finding products or services that a consumer specifically wants
    2. General information regarding products and services
    Visual search screens showing the store map helps a customer search for the product from the screen

    Scenario 3: Delivering custom products

    If John decides to buy a shirt that he wants tailored, he can use the phone or tablet cameras to scan his measurements and features to order such a custom fit product.

    Scenario 4: Making it fun

    GfK FutureBuy tells us that buying additional items while making a routine purchase is a key driver for the customer to visit the store. If John has a mobile app which contains his shopping list, he frees up time to browse and discover other items for purchase which makes his shopping trip less like a chore. And the fun isn’t just limited to consumers—for store employees, too. Gamification can assist in shelf stocking (like a game) and can motivate the employees to finish their work in the most efficient way. A fun experience for both the customer and employee aids to the success of the retailer.

    Retail Trend #4: Cost savings with automation

    Automation whether it is hardware (e.g. autonomous warehouses and store robots/vehicles) or software (like real-time monitoring algorithms, chatbots, etc.), improves efficiency, saves time and delivers value-added services and a high-tech shopping experience.

    Scenario 1: If it’s mundane, automate it

    Instead of a real-life person, John walks into a store and is greeted by a “Greet and Guide” in-store robot which welcomes and asks questions to guide him to the appropriate section of the store. In case John asks a complicated question, the robot then generates an alert for a store consultant intervention. Another way to use robots in retail is to automate item stock and flaw detection. The value proposition for these robots is to reduce mundane tasks, giving store employees more time for value-added services like consulting the customer and providing excellent service.

    Scenario 2: Anytime, anywhere assistance

    Chatbots are already part of many automated customer support procedures and they can assist customers like John inside the store via the mobile app or social media bots. Chatbots can answer standard questions, help with recommendations, scheduling an appointment (Select & Try model) or assist John in the online purchasing workflow. Retail trends and technologies like automation is all about cutting cost on redundant activities and enabling more time for value-added services. Although automation needs an initial capital investment, cost savings and efficiencies are pegged to be much higher in the long-term.

    It’s all for the consumer

    In conclusion, retail players who align their strategy to incorporate aspects of intelligent retailing, security, creating connected experiences and automation will end up creating a more efficient, secure and transparent value chain that enhances the shopper experience. Adapting to new retail trends and technologies is essential to satiate the highly demanding, informed customer. Want more? Get answers to key business questions at GfK Insights Summit   hbspt.cta.load(2405078, 'ede150a7-95fd-41dd-b411-85906a35ab45', {});
  • Consumer Panels

    Consumer Panels

    Your business is all about your consumers. So understanding them is essential in ensuring your products and services meet their needs, and in identifying opportunities for growth.

    Our international consumer panel data and research expertise provide you with smart customer insights into who your consumers are, their attitudes and behaviors, across channels.

  • Point of Sales Tracking

    Point of Sales Tracking

    Retailers and manufacturers are under pressure to develop products and services that maximize sales and profit and to keep customers coming back.

    Success relies on having the most up-to-date sales data, combined with robust analysis to understand which products and services are performing well in the market – and which are not. With this information, clients can set clear strategies for commercial growth and increase return on investment.

  • Shopper


    Digital continues to open up new paths to purchase, changing how and where people shop. More and more data becomes available every day, as shoppers embrace multi-channel brand experiences. To stay competitive in this big data, multi-channel environment, businesses need to identify and leverage the most relevant data along the entire path to purchase. 

  • Geomarketing


    Our geomarketing solutions and consultancy provide our clients with smart insights into location-specific factors that impact the success of business sites, shops, sales territories, target groups, as well as chain store and distribution networks.

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