Retail Look Ahead and Holiday Wishes
By Tom O'Reilly / December 2017Insights
As the year comes to a close and we reflect back on 2017, it was certainly a year of transformation for retail.
Record closings grabbed headlines while some formats, specifically discount, off-price retail, and convenience opened new stores at rapid rates. Amazon made a statement with its acquisition of Whole Foods, a significant investment in both grocery and brick and mortar. E-commerce and digital spend continue to grow at record levels – specifically in mobile, highlighted by a record setting $6.59 billion in sales for Cyber Monday.
As the final holiday shopping push approaches “Super Saturday,” roughly 53% of consumers plan on finishing their shopping this weekend in what is expected to be one of the largest increases of foot traffic for brick and mortar retailers this season.
Overall, brick and mortar retailers have been busy this holiday season and seem to have kept up with staffing to meet customer needs. Package delivery on the other hand has struggled to keep up with the holiday volume. UPS ground network on-time delivery rate is currently 91%. Speaking from personal experience, packages seem to be delayed 2-3 days.
It will be interesting to see how online performed compared to brick and mortar sales once the dust settles this holiday shopping season.
Looking ahead to 2018, we can expect many of the same trends to continue:
- E-commerce, specifically in grocery, will continue to experience growth, improvements in “last mile” order fulfillment will be a differentiator
- Technology will continue to shape both the online and in-store experience
- Voice activated search and use of digital personal assistants
- Augmented reality will become a bigger part of the customer experience
- Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will continue to help retailers develop more meaningful customer experiences based on customer preferences
- Expect new strategic partnerships to form and consolidation to continue as new business models attempt to answer customer pain points
Target’s recent purchase of on-line grocery delivery company Shipt, is a good example. Should we expect more of an investment in grocery from Target or will they look to expand the delivery service to other categories? It will be interesting to see how this move pans out in the months ahead. One thing remains certain; retailers that don’t adopt a true customer-centric strategy simply will not be competitive in today’s market.
Finally, 2017 has been a positive year here at Aptaris. I would like to thank all of our customers and partners we work so closely with on a daily basis. I am appreciative of your continued support and belief in us, and the trust that we can impact positive change in the way you do business.
Of course, we couldn’t have done it without the great team we have in place, doing great work for each and every one of our clients.
Wishing you all the best this holiday season and in the New Year’s ahead. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2018.
Contributed by Tom O’Reilly, President and CEO, Aptaris
Tom has a deep understanding of the retail business from both the store and vendor perspectives. He brings decades of hands-on experience in advertising and promotions including new media innovations. As an entrepreneur, he has transformed each organization he has worked with. Tom is a forward-thinking leader with a history of driving innovation, growth and profitability. As an avid reader, Tom is always enthusiastically sharing cutting-edge ideas with clients and colleagues.