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3 Industry Trends to Redefine Retail in 2016

January 1, 2016

What does retail and commerce look like in 2016? Check out GMDC’s predictions on how industry trends will affect your shoppers and stores. Our insights present product and partnership opportunities for retailers and suppliers to stay ahead of the evolving market trends and keep customers happy. 


Smart devices from phones to watches have staged a coup on credit cards when it comes to commerce. Mobile payment apps now rule the day and in 2016, the move from physical payment to digital “swipes” will be ever more prevalent. Chip cards are nearly being phased out while they’re just being phased in. While some stores have already made the conversion to mobile pay apps – think Walmart, Target and Starbucks – businesses that haven’t switched will quickly see customer demand for convenient payment options increase. Time is of the essence in both the virtual and brick-and-mortar space. If you can buy it in a click online, customers will expect to be able to purchase it just as quickly in the store.

General merchandise (GM) and health beauty wellness (HBW) retailers and suppliers will also need to collaborate on how to tailor product offerings in a super-targeted way. It’s not enough to offer regional items, or local store favorites and sales. Customers want to be singled out with special retail attention. They’ll expect a text message with a coupon for their favorite hair shampoo when they hit the drug store door. When riding past a mall, GPS push notifications will assure potential shoppers not only is the blouse they want on sale, it’s also in stock in their size and can be reserved in-store in one click. Furthermore, with Google indoor maps, customers will be able to access the layout of stores on their phones. Instead of losing sales by letting them quickly navigate to their product of choice, retailers can highlight sale areas within the store on these maps, and encourage customers to take a shopping detour.

 Healthy Lifestyle, Redefined

“Healthy” is no longer a food and product-geared trend (have you noticed that no one really uses “green” anymore?). The idea of wellness incorporates GM and HBW products and new technology in a way that bends the textbook definition into a more holistic approach. Health for today’s shopper includes products made ethically, flavors that hit globally and home products that promise serenity.

The idea of “home chef” has turned into a healthy lifestyle element within itself. The term caters to those who look for ways to take fresh ingredients whether from the grocery store or from a mail-order DIY dinner kit via Hello Fresh, Blue Apron or even to the next level with digitized kitchen tools, innovative and energy-efficient cooking systems, and even home decorations that set the stage for a meal. The way we live is becoming the way we eat – less waste, smarter space, more technology. Merchants who cross-promote items throughout the store will help guide consumers to purchase savvy product combinations that nourish both body and soul (think basil leaves plus yoga pants and organic cotton sheets). 


With all this comes a strong measure of responsibility for both the consumer and retailer. For consumers, it’s lose your phone, lose your wallet. For retailers, it’s paying attention to even slight tremors and indications of security breaches and figuring out smarter ways to prevent customer fraud. It used to be that cashiers asked for ID along with credit cards, or that credit cards even featured the bearer’s picture. While chip cards look to temper fraud, how will merchants handle verifying the ID of those paying with smart devices? 2016 promises to offer the chance for security innovation, as small and large businesses will seek to sure up their commerce tools to prevent loss and fraud in the rapidly changing marketplace.