2020 Retail Trends: What’s In Store for the New Year?

With 2019 nearly behind us, we’re turning our eye to the new year – 2020. What’s in store for the Canadian retail landscape?

Several 2020 retail trends are already creating a buzz. Here’s what the future of retail might look like:

1. Improved Retail Technology

Strategy Online recently reported about a new initiative National Bank deployed during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament called “Eyes on the Future.” Using eye-tracking technology, National Bank showed visitors a screen featuring sequences of images and told the viewers what images “inspired” them the most, helping determine what their future aspirations might be.

Whether it’s eye-tracking technology, 3D features, or other innovative initiatives, 2020 may be the year we start to see even more technological advances in-store and out.

2. Personalization and Experience Will Go Hand-in-Hand

Customer experience is a hot-button topic, and for good reason. We’ve seen just how big of a difference a strong customer experience can make through our retail success stories, like Saje Natural Wellness, and other retail innovators.

In 2020, we predict customer experience will be something that more and more brands embrace, thinking not only about what they are selling, but showing customers how to use it.

By the same token, personalization will also continue to grow through targeted ads, VR and AR technology (like being able to see products in your home virtually before buying), and beyond.

3. Return of the Mall

While malls have been reported as dying, in 2020 that might be turning around. As Generation Z embraces in-store shopping, malls could be undergoing a resurgence.

But the types of malls might be changing, too. Yorkdale Shopping Centre is one of the most profitable malls in Canada and they continue to bring in high-end, luxury retailers.

West Edmonton Mall is also undergoing a transformation, bringing in more high-end stores and unique experiences – like a Go Kart track.

By following suit, other malls may be able to bounce back.

4. Expanded Omnichannel Services

While Canada has been slower to embrace e-commerce, online shopping will likely grow throughout 2020, particularly as delivery programs and order-online-pick-up-in-store offerings expand.

We may see more Canadians looking to e-commerce — but it won’t end there. We predict there will still be a large appetite for in-store experiences (as evidenced by the resurgence of malls).

Instead, it will be even more important for brands to embrace the omnichannel experience — creating an aligned message and strategy across in-store, online, mobile shopping, social media shopping, and more.

5. On-Demand Access

In 2019, we saw the rise of on-demand retail. Services like order online, pick up in store, and home delivery were huge, but there are other ways consumers are looking to get instant access to products.

The popularity of Netflix and similar streaming sites is changing how some consumers purchase entertainment. In late 2019, Disney introduced its Disney Go streaming service, and others are reportedly on the way.

The access trend is even expanding to other industries. In grocery, the Amazon Go store, where people can walk in and buy a quick lunch with no cashier, have taken off. In the pharmaceutical sector some companies are working towards self-service dispensing.

6. Retail Sustainability

We recently wrote about brands moving to more environmentally friendly processing, packaging, and discarding of unsold product. In store, some retailers are doing away with plastic bags completely.

We expect the retail sustainability trend is only getting started. As climate change becomes more of a global concern, and the onus for recycling is placed on companies vs. the individual, we predict more brands and retailers will be doing their part for the planet.

In the same token, we predict more brands to launch social responsibility campaigns, supporting charities and eco-conscious organizations.

7. Vaping and E-Cigarettes

We’ve already seen the meteoric rise of vaping and e-cigarettes from providers like Juul. In 2020, vaping likely isn’t disappearing – but there could be some changes.

Health Canada is talking about increasing age restrictions of vaping. In addition, we have the cigarette plain packaging that was recently introduced.

While it’s not yet clear what direction this trend will take, 2020 will be a year of change for the tobacco industry.

8. Cannabis Edibles

In Canada, we also have cannabis edibles, which were legalized to market in December of 2019. We predict this will result in not only more edibles on the market, but also related products — for example, make-your-own-edibles kits, cookbooks and accessories, and the like.

9. Healthy Retail

While vaping and cannabis emerges on the market, there’s another sector that has been growing – health and wellness.

The popularity of Farm Boy is one example. However, even traditional grocers have been including more “healthy” products on shelves, from kombucha, to organic produce, to packaging indicating whether a food is keto-friendly, gluten-free, paleo, etc.

Healthy tech has also been on the rise, through devices such as activity trackers, meditation headbands, smart scales, and apps that give consumers personalized health food recommendations.

We expect the health and wellness trend is only getting started.

10. Brands Being In-Store

In 2019, we reported on the rise of phantom inventory in stores – plus the fact that empty shelves often lead consumers to purchase from the competition or even leave the store entirely.

With recent minimum wage increases in Ontario and Alberta, and retail staffing challenges in some areas of the country, it’s more important than ever that manufacturers take control in store and online.

In 2020, we expect to see more brands regularly checking that their inventory is being stocked and priced accordingly, displays are set up to their liking, and that they are presented in store in the most lucrative way possible.

What do you think is in store for retail 2020? Share your vision for the future of retail with us on social media. Marketsupport Canada is on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Make 2020 your most lucrative year yet. Contact Marketsupport Canada today to see how we can empower your brand in-store and online.

Call 1-877-421-5081 or visit www.storesupport.ca.

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