In the beginning of January, Greg Petro revealed his ten predictions for Retail in 2019 on Forbes. As the year progresses, we have already seen three of his ten predictions taking shape.

1. Retailers Will Get Personal with Zero-Party Data

Data privacy and rights have stolen the spotlight so far in 2019—especially in the European Union. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect last May, retailers and companies are still scrambling to comply. The EU made an example of Google last week, fining the tech giant 50 million euros ($57 million) for improper disclosure of data collection used to present advertisements. Retailers that wish to do business in the EU and globally must adapt to these regulations. These companies will need to say goodbye to third-party data, and find ways to gather “Zero-Party Data” or data that is intentionally given to them from consumers.

 2. Customer-Centricity Will Go Mainstream

Customer-Centricity permeated the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show and EXPO this month. At our feature stage panel session, Ann Joyce, the Chief Customer Officer of Chico’s FAS, Inc. discussed the importance of giving the customer a “seat at the table” and how Chico’s dedication to this principle has been vital to their strategy.

“We are dedicated at Chico’s FAS to modernize, digitize, personalize, and extend our product base and our services to all of our customers…and there is not an aspect of anything we do in retail that doesn’t get influenced—or should[n’t] be influenced and directed back toward the customer in some fashion.” – Ann Joyce, Chief Customer Officer at Chico’s FAS, Inc.

This theme is here to stay. For retailers to succeed, they must be able to connect and interact with their customers in a personalized way and develop deep brand loyalty.

3. Retailers and Consumers Will Begin to Feel the Weight of Tariffs

The Trump administration’s tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese exports is already weighing heavily on retailers. From October through December, retailers attempted to rush as much Spring merchandise as possible into U.S. ports from China. Hackett Associates is now projecting weakness in imports for the first half of 2019, as the rush has finally leveled off.

Additionally, companies like EBW Electronics have contemplated moving operations to Mexico to cut significant costs. The tariffs on EBW’s electronic components threaten to cut its 2019 profits in half. This issue is certainly not exclusive to EBW, as GAP already claimed it may have no choice but to raise sweater prices. We expect to see retailers make tough decisions this year in order to overcome the weight of these tariffs.

To Be Continued...

With one month down and eleven to go, we expect to see more of Greg Petro’s Ten Predictions for Retail reflected in retail’s reality. We will be sure to keep you updated as more of these predictions take shape. 

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