Retail software provider, Vend, has revealed its top retail trends for 2020 after speaking to Australia’s most innovative retailers and analysing the latest research and trends.

  1. Community participation

By creating a sense of community, retailers can set themselves apart and build stronger relationships with their customers, in turn driving sales and loyalty.

Specialty footwear retailer, Pace Athletic started the ‘Pace Run Club’ – a causal and inclusive club to bring customers together to share their love of running. In two years, co-founders Will Hatton and Stuart Sleeman grew their business from one to five stores.

  1. Minimising waste and promoting sustainability

In 2020, more retailers will continue to join the circular economy aimed at eliminating waste and reusing and recycling resources.

Australia’s first ever eco-only store, Biome, in Queensland, has saved over 10 million single-use plastic items from waste, launched Australia’s first zero-waste beauty bar and were the first retailer to distribute reusable coffee cups in Australia.

  1. Store experiences reign supreme

Australian eyewear retailer, Dresden sells sustainably made glasses and allows shoppers to create their own pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses.

Skate Connection opened a skate park in the back of their Newcastle, Kotara store to teach skate classes to children of all ages and let people test out their purchases.

  1. Payment flexibility will be paramount

While cash and credit cards won’t go away anytime soon, consumers – especially millennials and Gen Z – will continue to look for more convenient and flexible ways to pay for what they purchase.

Mobile payments will increasingly gain stream, as will ‘buy now pay later’ (BNPL) solutions. BNPL is a big hit among consumers with 2.9 million customers in Australia and New Zealand taking advantage of Afterpay alone.

Afterpay head of sales – SMB, Billy Parry said, “Retailers with Afterpay in-store see higher average order values than what they see with Afterpay online. Giving your customers the option to pay for their purchase over time means they can buy more of what they want while being able to budget.”

  1. Backoffice tech bigger priority

While customer-facing technology such as virtual reality and touch screens are having a large presence in retail, 2020 will also show that retailers are prioritising their backend tools for inventory management, supply chain and customer data. Technology that enables ‘behind-the-scenes’ action like ensuring stores have the right products at the right time is critical to success.

  1. Social media and retail become more intertwined

Social media has always played a big part in retail marketing but that will increase even more in the coming months – especially in the form of social shopping. Platforms such as Instagram continue to develop their social shopping capabilities.

South Melbourne-based gift emporium, TheSuperCool, regularly publishes shoppable posts on Instagram. Whenever they post an image that features products that TheSuperCool sell, users can simply tap on the product tags to view and purchase them without having to leave Instagram.