4 Retail and Service Industry Trends to Expect in 2018

2018 will make one decade since the Great Recession that devastated the retail and service industries. In the past 10 years, both industries have seen their ups and downs, but recent figures showed that holiday sales improved in late 2017 by more than 5.5 percent compared to 2016. A recent economic upturn has made many business owners more optimistic for the future, but a changing competitive landscape means it’s more important than ever to stay on top of industry trends.

As millennials become bigger presences in the workforce, they’re also becoming a bigger factor in the nation’s consumer economy. In fact, retailers and service-oriented businesses are still scrambling to adapt to their unique needs and wants to capture the interest and attention of such a lucrative demographic. But at the same time, the spending of other generations is also increasing, which means business owners must be savvy and find ways to cater to a wide variety of customers and potential clients.

At TA Staffing, we anticipate the following four trends to be major factors in the retail and service industries in the coming year:

  1. Refocused big box retail stores – It simply hasn’t been a very good decade for big box retailers. Mega internet retailers and other super discount chains have forced the closures of thousands of stores and even the bankruptcies of several well-known brands. However, some big box stores have thrived. Retailers that re-tool their store layouts towards personalized experiences that allow shoppers a chance to try products and that focus heavily on value will be the ones most likely to survive the next decade.
     
  2. More pop-up shops and food trucks – On the other end of the retail and service spectrum lie pop-up shops and food trucks. Highly mobile and with minimal investments and overhead costs associated with them, these millennial favorites are growing in popularity due to the unique experiences they offer, attractive prices, and sense of community that they foster. Because of their mobility, they can be set up in a matter of hours, if not minutes, giving owners a chance to take advantage of nearby events and activities.
     
  3. Greater emphasis on social media – It’s no longer enough for big brands to have social media accounts that are strictly for promotional or informative purposes. In 2018, the brands that will see the great success online will be those that engage current and potential customers and clients in a manner that leaves memorable, lasting impressions. Whether it’s going the extra mile in making sure their needs are met or simply staying in the loop on the latest happenings on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, companies with active social media accounts are in position to reach wide audiences.
     
  4. Shifting power to the hands of customers – Putting power in the hands of consumers can be taken both figuratively and literally. Businesses know that customers demand high quality products and services at affordable prices, but they also want convenience and on-demand availability. That’s why mobile apps are so important for service and retail-oriented businesses. Adding delivery options for food and quick, one-touch online ordering platforms for both brick and mortar and online retailers will be essential components of businesses looking to thrive in the service industry in 2018 and beyond.
Posted by Jeff Bates at 9:22 AM
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