How to Boost a Retail Startup? Offbeat Ideas and Hot TechnologyMaria Spark
When planning a retail store, many get stuck on the question: "What to sell?" It seems that marketplaces are overloaded with various products, from fashionable clothes to auto parts. However, it`s in entrepreneurs`nature to bring something new even to the markets where everything seems to have been created.
Today we`ll provide you with offbeat ideas for retailing in 2022. On top of that, we`ll split tricks on how to boost your sales with the help of disruptive technology.
What Products to Sell in 2022?
In order to not get overwhelmed within a diversity of goods, we`ve prepared a list of trendy products that are likely to be in demand this year.
Eco-friendliness and sustainability still remain ones of the leading trends across the globe. This year, eco-influence is projected to grow and encompass even more market segments, and retail is not an exception of course.
Organic cosmetics has been a hot trend for the last few years thanks to its natural components and sustainable approach. The volume of sales of organic cosmetics grows by at least 20% annually. Such cosmetics consists of mainly vegetable ingredients and is cruelty-free which means it is not tested on animals. In addition, it does not contain synthetic substances, paraffins and petroleum products and is packed in natural materials that are easy to dispose of.
People are becoming more concerned about their well-being with each passing year. To keep healthy lifestyle and live longer, they need highly nutritious and fat-free products. Therefore, producers of healthy snacks and low-calorie food alternatives are gaining momentum.
Consumers are paying more attention to products without GMOs, preservatives, animal proteins, and sugar. It is also worth replacing plastic in the package with recyclable materials. Here are some examples of popular food in 2022:
- highly nutritious superfoods;
- freeze-dried berries;
- fruit and vegetable freezes;
- nuts, seeds, various vegetable oils;
- healthy snacks;
- fermented foods;
- vegan food;
- products for maintaining intestinal health like yogurts and smoothies.
We also recommend including delivery service in your eco-food store to create a more convenient customer experience. You can also develop a smart menu in which users can pick up food to try based on the optimal daily calorie intake.
Devices for Bloggers
Blogging is a booming trend in recent years. Users are starting to approach the management of their accounts more consciously and responsibly. And in this regard, special equipment is in great demand. Here are some ideas for an online store:
- microphones for phone and cameras;
- action cameras;
- vlog-frames, holders;
- tripods, monopods;
- lighting for photos: ring lamps, led lamps, on-camera light;
- sets for selfies and broadcasts.
These goods can well complement the range of existing store of household appliances or become the assortment of a new retail service.
Books on Self-development
In 2022, customers will look for self-education solutions even more actively than before. The culture of self-development is thriving and making people radically change their attitude to learning. Therefore, literature on the topic of business, psychology, and professional reorientation will be sought-after.
In addition, books are read for pleasure, entertainment, and general knowledge. Despite global digitalization, the demand for printed book products is still high. Electronic and audio formats are also successfully sold in online stores. These categories of books are likely to be best-selling in 2022:
- self-development and motivation;
- children's and fiction literature;
- healthy eating;
If you plan to set up an online book store, we advise you to carefully study the demand and form an assortment of popular units.
Despite the strong competition with online stores, the main furniture sales are still taking place offline. Furniture is expensive, it is not easy to deliver and unload. According to statistics, buyers bypass an average of 7 furniture stores before making a decision. On top of that, furniture has a stable demand and has nothing to do with seasonality.
Furniture trends are also changing but not as fast as in the cllothing niche. These items are expected to be in demand this year:
- furniture made of unprocessed-like wood;
- marble and granite furniture;
- upholstered furniture;
- inserts for brass and steel;
- narrow functional dressers;
- plump comfortable sofas;
Technologies to Boost Your Sales
However, just picking a trendy retail category is not enough. To make it distinguish from numerous analogues and create an immaculate customer experience, you should implement advanced technology for retailing.
Retail has been going through digital transformation for many years. These changes have increased the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of all retail business processes. Today, AI provides brands with high-quality data that helps companies make smart choices, constantly improve their activities, and find new opportunities.
According to a Gartner report, 77% of retailers plan to use AI in their business. However, it does not mean replacing real employees with artificial intelligence. In this case, we are talking about working with data in full to improve business strategies and personalize customer experience.
Here are some scenarios of how AI can be used in retail:
- AI-based chatbots. They recognize human language, simulate conversations, identify user preferences, and offer new products or predict needs.
- Price regulation. AI visualizes the likely results of several pricing strategies, collecting information about products, promotional events, sales figures, etc.;
- Price forecasting. Buyers are informed in advance how the price will change depending on demand, seasonal trends, product release date, and other characteristics. Such transparency allows companies to increase customer loyalty;
- Image search. This allows users to upload images of their favorite products and find similar ones in your store;
- Virtual fitting room. This option helps customers save time and pick up the perfect outfit in minutes.
Long gone are days when physical stores were the only option to try products in real-time. Virtual and augmented realities can create a lifelike shopping experience. Customers can try on clothes, drive a car, and put a furniture item without leaving home. What retailers can do through VR/AR:
- simplify online shopping;
- establish a contactless fitting;
- improve navigation in offline stores;
- make personalized offers to customers;
- provide online interaction with goods.
In retail, this is creating a unique approach to each customer throughout the interaction cycle. To personalize their services, companies use historical and personal data, as well as product and customer analytics. The main goal of this approach is to make the customer feel special, thereby strengthening their loyalty.
Customer relationship management solutions help brands build competent interaction with potential and regular customers. In particular, SAP offers an SAP CRM solution for sales, marketing, service, and e-commerce allow you to maintain constant contact with customers and offer the goods and services they really need.
The omnichannel approach in retail is focused on providing seamless customer service, regardless of whether they make purchases through a mobile app, website, or at a physical store.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 73% of buyers use multiple channels during the purchase. For example, they study a product on the Internet before buying it at their outlet. And vice versa, when they see the right product on the store shelf, they check the information about it on the network.
Omnichannel allows you to focus on the entire customer experience as a whole, rather than on individual experience through various channels.
In addition to improving the customer experience, the omnichannel approach also enables businesses to:
- increase traffic and sales;
- boost customer loyalty;
- improve the quality of the data collected.
Facebook Instagram, Facebook, and other social medias have turned into shopping malls, and social commerce is another trend related to social networks. During the pandemic, this type of commerce has become especially popular — the volume of sales in social networks in 2021 amounted to $36 billion, which is 35% more than in 2020.
This boom is easy to explain: shoppers feel safe shopping online. In addition, the increasing time users spend on social networks and new features that make shopping more convenient contribute to the retail industry growth.
Despite the fact that contactless technologies have been around for more than 10 years, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated their development and pushed them to become an integral part of the digital revolution of retail. Contactless purchases include several approaches:
This suggests online and physical stores providing their own online version, which enables customers to make purchases without leaving home. The contactless chain is not interrupted here until the goods are received.
- BOPIS (Buy online, pickup in store)
An approach that is also a new trend in retail and allows customers to immediately pick up a pre-selected product at the checkout, instead of spending time wandering around the store and standing in line. It also minimizes customer contact with each other.
- Contactless payment
One-touch payment or via mobile payments allows customers to minimize contact with cash register equipment or a keyboard, which is especially important in places with high traffic.
Whatever category or technology you choose, make sure your startup has a unique value proposition. Even though you use the hottest technologies, your business should have something behind — innovative customer approach, product features, or marketing strategy. Once you build a well-thought-out business plan and work out a unique value proposition, your startup will take off.