Retail trend predictions for 2016

The retail landscape in 2016 will see several changes, both online and off. In fact, the lines between online and in-person shopping will likely become murkier as brick-and-mortar stores strive to compete with the convenience of online shopping. In addition, the following retail trends will gain steam over the coming year.

Retailers Will Leverage Social Interaction for Sales

The popularity of social media combined with the power of social proof will continue to drive social interactions in retail settings next year. Bazaar Voice predicts that retailers will leverage storytelling as a key component of their online and offline marketing efforts. They will integrate stories with the buying cycle so that consumers feel connected to the experience.

Additionally, social media will continue to play a key role in online retailer marketing in 2016. Social platform advertising, polls, contests, and conversations will all take center stage as retailers strive to make human connections with their target audience.

Retailers go big or stay small

There isn’t much room for in-between in terms of size for retailers these days. Nielsen reports that retailers will either shrink down in size to offer niche products and to reduce overhead costs or get much bigger to provide a more comprehensive shopping experience.

We’ll see the same trend for online e-commerce websites. Niche, specialty, and boutique stores have become increasingly popular as Etsy creators make their own storefronts and affiliates create their own portals for selling their favorite products. Additionally, more online marketplaces that sell everything from apparel to consumer electronics might emerge next year.Omnichannel Retailing Will Become More Widespread

Multichannel selling takes center stage

Setting up and managing new sales channels can be a challenge for retailers. But despite its intimidating facade, moving from single channel selling to multichannel selling is one of the best ways to increase sales and expand your brand. Retailers who sell on two marketplaces see 190% more in revenue than those who only sell only on a single marketplace.

The data shows that although sellers may be hesitant to add a marketplace because of additional fees and complexities, the added exposure from Amazon and eBay networks actually generates more revenue, especially if Amazon is the marketplace of choice.

Retailers will cater to millennials

Millennials (consumers who reached adulthood around the year 2000) represent the most powerful consumer base in the world. Retailers who want to reach milennials will have to create tools and resources that technology-savvy millennials will appreciate. Sellers should be particular aware of the importance of mobile, as millenials are the largest group of smartphone owners.

Speed is also an essential factor when it comes to reaching the Gen Y market. As a generation that grew up in an age where almost anything is just a click away, millennials have a tendency to be impatient. Retailers who want to engage them must invest in more robust order fulfillment systems and fast (but excellent) customer service.

Socially responsible brands will win shoppers

Cone Communications and Echo Research uncovered that 87 percent of global consumers factor in social responsibility when making purchasing decisions. Shoppers want to know the money they are spending is not going into one person’s pocket, but is truly making a difference in the community they live in.In 2016, we expect more merchants to launch “ethical” clothing lines and environmentally friendly products. Examples include ModCloth, which recently signed an anti-Photoshop pledge, and Warby Parker, which implements a “Give a Pair” initiative to make eye care more accessible to the less-fortunate.

Product offerings get more localized.

Merchants that customize their stores and merchandise according the needs of their local communities will find great success in 2016.  Are you selling electronics?  Make sure you offer not only the correct power format for each country, but stay up to date on the most popular buys per country/ location.


As 2016 draws near, retailers will get into full swing for the New Year. If you’re interested in maximizing your income opportunities, sign up for Payoneer and take advantage of our convenient global payment options.

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