From Prediction to Reality

By: Zach Pelletier

Many consumer groups and organizations attempt to predict future trends within the retail industry. From blog posts to newspaper articles, those who work in the marketing industry develop what they believe the future will hold for retailers, and ultimately, consumers. The blogpost written by retail experts at Vend University entitled, 12 Retail Trends and Predictions for 2015, highlights many retail predictions that came to fruition this year. The twelve predictions are as followed:

  1. Boomers and Millennials will continue to influence retailers.
  2. Social Networks will serve as shopping platforms.
  3. Brands will double down on corporate social responsibility.
  4. Loyalty-wise, the points-for-purchases model will no longer be effective.
  5. Retailers will adopt and experiment with technology.
  6. Data will be more accessible and powerful
  7. Companies will find better ways to manage risk and protect customers.
  8. More retailers will take control of their value chain and improve order fulfillment.
  9. More ecommerce sites will set up shop offline.
  10. Retailers that localize their product mix and store formats will win.
  11. Mobile will continue to grow in all directions.
  12. Stores with omnichannel strategies will continue to thrive.

Reflecting on advances and strides that many retailers have made this year, I believe this list is an extremely accurate depiction of what has been done this year. One prediction from the list that has become increasingly popular is social networks serving as shopping platforms. Companies such as Target and Nordstrom are using a new Like2Buy website which can be accessed through both retailers’ Instagram accounts. For example, while looking at the Nordstrom Instagram page, consumers can click on the Like2Buy link which will redirect them to a page that looks very similar to Instagram. There are pictures of merchandise that consumers can double tap or “like,” just like they would on Instagram, which would bring them to the page to checkout and purchase the item. Twitter also has a similar “buy” button that Home Depot and Burberry are currently testing. Facebook is not left out in this recent trend either. Facebook users now scroll through multiple advertisements on their home screens, which allows them to click on the advertisement to redirect them to the website selling a certain good or service. This is extremely beneficial as it allows them to use their social media outlets as more of a “one stop shop” to catch up with friends, while browsing and purchasing items they may want or need.

Another prediction made in the article was that many retailers would revamp their loyalty programs for customers. The article stated that the classic “points” system which allowed consumers to obtain points dependent on their purchases was not going to cut it for 2015. Many consumers are not as excited and motivated to earn points as they were several years ago, when the concept was introduced, therefore, drastic changes would need to be made in order to entice customers. This prediction became evident with many different retailers, who truly changed the concept of loyalty programs. Walgreens for example, now offers rewards for their customers for doing various activities that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. By using this program, customers gain rewards by eating healthy, walking, running, and participating in other forms of physical activity.

The last item on the list that I will discuss is retailers adopting and experimenting with technology. An area that was predicted and has seen rapid growth this year was wearables. In 2014, it was estimated that about 7% of consumers owned wearable gadgets such as smart watches, glasses, or fitness trackers. This number was expected to grow with the introduction of new products, such as the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch revolutionized wearable technology as it offers pretty much every function that your phone does but in a compact watch that you wear on your wrist. Many retailers have benefitted from the Apple Pay function of the Apple Watch and update for the iPhone. Apple pay allows you to load multiple credit and debit cards onto your phone or watch. If a purchase is made a store that supports apple pay, the customer can choose which credit card they would like to use in Apple Pay, put the watch or phone against the sensor, and pay for their purchase.

Reading this article has made me excited to see what’s in store for 2016. I am curious to see which trends that were predicted for 2015 continue to develop further in 2016, and what new ideas and initiatives will be developed in the upcoming year.



9 thoughts on “From Prediction to Reality

  1. Teresa Polli October 27, 2015 / 6:09 pm

    Technology is taking over! Social media has been a very useful way to connect with others for years now and I think that social media has become apart of everyone’s everyday routine. Not only are social media sites the first thing I look at when I wake up but they are the last thing I look at before I go to bed as well. Other then helping people connect with other people, social media has become a very important aspect for companies as well. Companies use social media to connect with their customers, advertise their company, and apparently now sell their products! I think that this is a good move for companies because like I said before social media is a huge part of everyday life and now companies are implementing their products in our everyday routine. I can only imagine what social media has in store for us next.


  2. Mark Lindquist October 27, 2015 / 11:56 pm

    Paying for products online and in-person using technology is only going to get bigger. I see more and more advertisements for products and vacations on virtually any website, and clicking on the ad brings you straight to a website to purchase. I also see Apple Pay at more and more stores. I went to Disneyworld in 2013 and participated in using the MagicBand, which at the time wasn’t fully implemented. It was used to enter the park, access drink dispensers, even access VIP lines for certain rides which I reserved for months in advance, and the tech knew my exact days/times of reservations. For online purchasing now, it’s click and buy. In the future, people at stores may be able to “Check Out” online with their purchases without the need to wait in line, with just one wave of a wrist.


  3. sarajanecox October 29, 2015 / 1:32 am

    Consumers groups and organizations are always trying to predict the next biggest trends especially within the retail industry. Boomer and Millennial customers are influencing retailers marketing decisions in a major way. Marketers are adopting and experimenting with new technology so they are able to reach a wide variety of audiences, especially the millennial customers. It is so important for marketers to target this market because millennial spending is forecasted to reach 1.4 trillion dollars within the next 5 years. This creates a major opportunity to convert this group into shoppers and potential loyalists. There is so much new technology on the market and marketers need to keep up with these rapid advancements.


  4. Melissa Santos October 30, 2015 / 9:26 pm

    I actually did not know that there was a “Like2Buy” option on Instagram. I found that extremely interesting. This article made me more aware of all the retail ads that are popping up left and right on my Instagram and Twitter account. I think for 2016, the biggest takeaway will be how easily accessible products from advertisements are in terms of purchasing them directly from the ad itself. I find that sometimes, when I first go into a retail website, if I see an item of interest on their homepage, it can take me some time to find that same, particular item in order to purchase it. Sometimes it’s just buried in all the things they offer online. This can be a negative feature of online shopping because in this day and age, consumers are looking for quick, easy purchasing with no hassle. I think this advancement in advertisement is going to be more and more prevalent in the upcoming years. This “Like2Buy” feature is straight forward and saves a lot of time and I think because of these two characteristics, it’s going to be a very successful advertising tactic.


  5. Kimberly Martin November 2, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    I found this list very interesting! It makes you think about how many predictions have failed in the past because the idea did not catch on. This list seems like it has hit some big retail trends that are in fact big trends. Retailers have so many different ways they can sell their products today with technology. I did not know that Instagram and Twitter had purchase options, but that adds a whole new level of reaching customers. This reminds me of Dominos service of being able to order using the pizza emoji or tweeting your order. You do see more and more retailers joining the technology movement which is allowing customers to purchase their products from a variety of platforms and make purchases quicker. I wonder if it is getting hard for retailers having orders come in on so many different platforms, that it gets hard to keep track of? It will be interesting to see what new trends are to come!


  6. James Wegman November 7, 2015 / 8:45 pm

    My thoughts on the list:

    Boomers and Millennials will continue to influence retailers – I believe this is true as past generations are retiring or not working in this job market to attract newer generations. We will continue to sell stuff to appeal to us and those younger.
    Social Networks will serve as shopping platforms – I agree, but people are still going to use stores.
    Brands will double down on corporate social responsibility – Agreed, print advertising is slowly becoming less used.
    Loyalty-wise, the points-for-purchases model will no longer be effective – I think this is false, customers will still want this system to get rewarded for making decisions.
    Retailers will adopt and experiment with technology – Yes, technology is taking over.
    Data will be more accessible and powerful – With technology containing all of our information, we could be risking allowing anyone to access our data and info.
    Companies will find better ways to manage risk and protect customers – Unsure because people will always find a way to hack.
    More retailers will take control of their value chain and improve order fulfillment – True, as our preferences are easy to detect and access
    More ecommerce sites will set up shop offline – Unsure with the growing monster that is online shopping
    Retailers that localize their product mix and store formats will win – Unsure if people are spending more time onlien
    Mobile will continue to grow in all directions – Enough said there
    Stores with omnichannel strategies will continue to thrive – Simply put


  7. Jameson Pinette November 9, 2015 / 1:10 am

    The Like2Buy feature is quite ingenious. There have been countless studies published about online sales, trying to tighten the gap between a consumers wants and final purchase. Many have tracked how long items remain inside of the “shopping cart”, working towards streamlining the process. The longer someone has to research, compare and second guess a purchase, the less likely they are to follow through. Shopping cart abandonment is one of the biggest frustrations any online retailer has to deal with. By implementing Like2buy, this greatly improves the chance a potential buyer will follow through with their purchase. This trend will certainly filter over to other websites such as ebay, amazon and other large retailers.


  8. Courtney Aznavoorian (@CourtneyGraceAz) November 30, 2015 / 9:30 pm

    I thought this was very interesting. Social media is a huge part of a majority of people’s daily routines, and companies are beginning to take advantage of that. I did not know about the Like2Buy feature before reading this. It sounds like a good way to increase sales because it is easier to buy without thinking about it too much.


  9. Joe Pantalone December 10, 2015 / 4:07 am

    I was intrigued by the Like2Buy feature because I had never heard of it. I think it is something that will be beneficial moving forward. The Boomers and Millennials have a major impact in the way marketing is being done. This is an indication of how this is occurring. The Like2Buy feature is something that this generation will understand and grow to use.


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