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2017 Retail Winners and Predictions for 2018

2017 Retail Winners and Predictions for 2018


Aggressive moves by Walmart (Bonobos, Moosejaw), Target (Shipt), Amazon (Whole Foods), Costco (online delivery) demonstrate that these retailers realize that changing customer attitudes require significant shifts in strategy.

For 2018 – Watch for further disruption in operations and footprints in 2018 as retailers continue to align their brands and experiences with consumer attitudes and behaviors.


Retailers who emphasized emotional engagement with their customers through authenticity (REI & “Opt In”) leveraged their strengths to more intimately connect with customers.

For 2018 – Retailers will be emphasizing emotional engagement not through standard demographic segmentations alone, but rather by leveraging emotional profiles to align branding and merchandising strategies with the emotional context of customers.


Magid’s 2017 Retail Pulse study found that while purchases of everyday non-consumable personal care items were driven by price, purchases of apparel and grocery were driven by quality and value. That might have left private labels locked out in the past, but not today. The bottom-shelf bagged cereals of the 1970s and 80s have been replaced with private label products that exude similar quality as their brand-name counterparts.


For 2018 – Retailers will cultivate and promote private label brands even more aggressively in 2018. Many of these brands will blur the lines with consumers just like branded generics of the pharma industry. Manufacturers who do not adapt will likely struggle to maintain equity with brands they have built over time.


Both Amazon and Google laid the foundations for voice enabled commerce in 2017. While initial investments will take time to reap potential rewards,voice enabled commerce (and artificial intelligence (AI) tools) have the potential to disrupt and disintermediate retail and manufacturing as we know it.

For 2018 – Voice technology will undoubtedly change how consumers interact with brands and retailers. This creates an imperative for retailers and manufacturers to better understand how consumers gather information and make purchase decisions—and the rapid manner in which both are changing.


Tesla, Peloton, Nespresso, Restoration Hardware and many other brands proved retail isn’t dead by delivering the truly experiential. For higher-end products, this aligns with affluent American household preferences.

For 2018 – Ikea’s been a trend-setter in this space for more than a decade selling economically priced furniture, home goods and décor. Now that specialty retailers at higher-end price points are getting in the mix, we expect the ubiquity of experiential retail to drive further innovation—or the trend will jump the shark altogether.


Retailers who were able to harness not only the impact of social media, but amplify it throughout the purchase journey saw increased customer engagement.Makes sense given a recent study published by eMarketer found nearly half of U.S. social media users say they’ve made a purchase that begins on social media.

For 2018 – Watch for the potential of more acquisition activity as larger retailers look to smaller, more nimble brands to help improve their ability to leverage social in the buying cycle.

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