What retailers expect to see in 2019

2019 is set to be an important year in retail, with many large brands having begun turnaround plans in an effort to reverse their failing fortunes.

“Retailers continuing to ignore the essentiality of integrated e-commerce platforms and the rapidly changing shopping habits and expectations of their customers will continue to struggle and die,” said EasyShed co-founder Phil Suggate.

“However, retailers that are providing a well integrated and engaging omni-channel experience (both online and offline) will see strong growth and continue to rapidly gain market share.”

Venture capital firm Goat Ventures chief executive Shaveer Mirpuri notes that meeting the changing tastes of consumers will continue to be important in 2019, but that acting like a direct-to-consumer micro-brand will prove critical to established retailers. Additionally, he expects technology to play a larger role.

“In 2019, more bricks-and-mortar retailers will embrace machine learning in merchandising… [and we] will see AI play a bigger role in retail through recommendations in new product introductions, range curation, tailoring unique store allocations, inventory quantities, price setting, price phasing, mechanics of promotions, and much more,” Mirpuri said.

“Hopefully, this will help revitalise how consumers feel about the physical store shopping experience and crush the nonsense that ‘in 5 years, physical retail will be completely gone’.”

The alternative payment space is set to become a battleground in 2019, with many payment providers aiming to gain a slice of the growing market. Zip chief executive Larry Diamond predicts that the alternative payment space will grow as international entrants grow in popularity and relevance in the country.

“Alipay is already in the market and has forged deals with CBA, NAB, Cabcharge and Tyro. We expect other deals to follow very soon,” Diamond said.

“WeChat Pay, too, is likely to launch, given the strong market for Chinese nationals and tourists in Australia.”

Payment provider Square’s head of APAC Ben Pfisterer notes that retailers are beginning to see a centralised push against cash payments.

“Businesses are starting to shun cash as a cost and time-saving measure, consumers for convenience reasons, and governments are looking to drive more efficiencies through the economy,” Pfisterer said.

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