Retail predictions for 2019: What’s in and what’s out

From creative takes on retail experiences to robotics in fast-food restaurants, STORES Magazine Editor Susan Reda looks at trends that are likely to shape retail in 2019 in her annual retail industry trend forecast. On this episode of Retail Gets Real, Reda and NRF’s Director of Industry and Consumer Insights Katherine Cullen hash out consumer behavior patterns that gained popularity this year — and are likely to transform retail in the new year.

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“People are using spaces differently,” Reda says, “and they're bringing retail into this space.” Collaborative marketplaces or storefronts-as-a-service are becoming mainstream. For example, WeWork is introducing WeMRKT, a shared retail space within hundreds of existing WeWork locations to host pop-ups and experiments in retail. Neighborhood Goods, near Dallas, gives emerging direct-to-consumer businesses an opportunity to set up shop. This “changes the footprint of retail and makes it more service-oriented for the consumer,” Reda says.

The challenge for retailers in introducing more experiential elements is avoiding “Instagrammable” gimmicks and keeping it authentic: Values like sustainability and transparency are becoming key product features. In a survey, nearly 60 percent of consumers said they would stop shopping one of their favorite brands or retailers if they found out the company’s values didn't match their own. Retailers like Coyuchi, Everlane, Patagonia and The North Face are catering to those needs — all offer recycling of their used products in exchange for new items.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about trends on the horizon like personalization, artificial intelligence and robotics.

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