A prediction: Hottest Retail Trends in 2013

Dreams, one of the UKs biggest beds retailers, announced last week that they would be closing more than 90 stores, resulting in the loss of 400 jobs. Travel retailer Thomas Cook also announced the closure of 195 high street travel agencies, at a loss of almost 2500 jobs; and Waterstones has announced it will be closing half of the 12 book stores they have situated around UK universities. Overall almost 6000 jobs have been lost this year and since the recession hit the UK in 2007 over 200,000 retail jobs have been lost.

Where do we see retail trends heading?

According to a recent article by Forbes, these are the three hottest retail trends in 2013:

  • - Mobile

It’s no surprise that mobile integration is top of this list. A recent study found that 93% of mobile developers expect that most retail companies will have mobile enabled commerce in 2013. And two thirds of developers believe that consumers will make more purchases through their mobile phone than through their credit card in 2013.

Research provided by Comscore has found that nearly a third of all page views are on mobiles and tablets. And smartphones have outsold PCs for the second year running. This highlights the importance of optimizing your emails for mobile devices.

The research also shows how people use their devices throughout the day. Mobiles are popular in the morning, during the working commute, whilst PCs are popular throughout the day. Tablets are mostly used during the hours of 8pm and 9pm. Think of this when you’re scheduling an email marketing campaign.

  • - Online and offline shopping

You will often see consumers meandering around your store, checking out products, with a mobile glued to their hand. They’ll be tweeting, sharing and researching products at the same time.

Retailers need to figure out how to make the most of the online/offline balance.

Because of these new behaviours a new buzz word has been created – ‘showrooming’. This is the process of looking at products in store and then searching for cheaper items or similar online later.

Some retailers are already ahead of the game. Managers in German discount retailer Lidl have been given iPads with an in house app to monitor store performance. Whilst Marks and Spencer have installed Wi-Fi in a number of their stores so that customers can browse items and purchase them online, or check out a bigger range of products.

  • - Social, social and more social.

Over 700 billion minutes are spent on Facebook every month and 190 billion tweets are sent each day so this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Social media is growing at an alarming rate and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. So of course retailers need to jump on board.

More and more retailers are using social channels to generate customer ‘delight’. Retailers are using specific software to give something back to consumers even if they haven’t bought a product. 500Friends is a platform that gives users points, which can be used towards discounts. The user must sign into the platform which then tracks their brand through social media mentions and interactions.


There’s definitely a common theme running through all 3 trends: data.

Data is flowing in from mobile, social, online and offline shopping, so as a retailer you need to be on your toes.


What are your plans for getting ahead in 2013? We’d love to hear your success stories.


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