Retail communications is evolving at lightning speed, and more than ever before, retail brands are threatened by an empowered consumer who, thanks to social media and review apps, has a distinct voice and an increasing level of influence over brand reputation. As a result, retail marketers are shouldered with more responsibility to make sure their customer experience strategies are keeping pace.

But the speed of technology, combined with rapidly changing customer expectations, make it challenging for brands to know what strategies and innovations are worth their time, attention and resources. New research from Alliance Data’s card services business, a provider of tailored marketing and loyalty solutions, guides retailers by offering a forecast of the top 10 trends expected to have the greatest impact on the retail industry in 2018.

“Retailers already know the customer is in control. Expectations have never been higher—and customers have never been more connected. Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, and that means customers have unlimited options for where—and how—they shop, right at their fingertips,” said Shannon Andrick, vice president of marketing advancement for Alliance Data’s card services business, in a news release. “So, what can brands do to stand out? Our trend report gets to the core of what factors will shape retail the most in 2018. We explore these trends and provide real, actionable steps brands can take to build customer loyalty that lasts.”

The newly release Now, New, Next report takes a comprehensive look at how brands are navigating shifts in customer behavior and countering increased expectations through elevated service offerings, deeper engagement opportunities, and innovative connectivity. More importantly, it provides expertise on how to focus resources to adapt to evolving customer expectations.

10 trends to help brand retailers remain relevant in 2018

“Retail continues to discover exciting new opportunities, thanks to advances in technologies,” added Andrick. “The future of shopping is promising for retailers who focus on the customer by harnessing both data-driven insights and the latest innovations that customers will value and engage with the most.”

Download the report here to see these trends fleshed out with examples of what leading brands are doing to survive and thrive.

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