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Retail Trends: Here Are 11 Inside Predictions For 2016

    Insiders predicting more real estate defaults and e-commerce outdoing brick-and-mortar have everyone wondering: What is the future of retailPer Retail Dive, here are 11 expert predictions for 2016.

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    1. SageBerry Consulting president Steven Dennis: A focus on extraordinary customer experiences

    "I believe that more and more retailers will come to realize that, in most segments, they are in a no-growth, zero-sum environment. The focus therefore must be on how to steal market share from the competition by becoming more remarkable and more intensely customer relevant."

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    2. Siteworks president Nick Egelanian: Department stores make way for discount apparel.

    "While department stores have been on the decline for more than two decades now, we expect to see dramatic acceleration of market share declines in 2016. On the flip side, new discount apparel concepts like Primark will continue to emerge."

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    3. X Team International president Jonathan Lapat: Discounts, discounts, discounts!

    "There’s no question that today’s consumers are value-driven, particularly the Millennial generation. In 2015, we saw several retailers either launch or expand discount concepts—from Forever 21 launching F21 Red to Nordstrom charting an aggressive growth strategy for Nordstrom Rack stores. New discount players will definitely come on line in 2016."

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    4. Jeff Green Partners president Jeff Green: More foreign names on the scene

    "It’s safe to say that 2016 will bring more retail concepts from overseas, but those considering US expansion should tread carefully. Our market is unique, and several retailers have failed in getting a strong foothold here."

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    5. Hoffman Strategy Group founder Jerry Hoffman: Malls will be all about the experience

    Retail Trends: Here Are 11 Inside Predictions For 2016
    The indoor roller coaster at the Palisades Center mall in West Nyack, New York.

    "In 2016, it will be critical for owners and developers to integrate more diverse and appealing dining and entertainment options into malls and larger centers. From diverse restaurant offerings and high-end theaters to bowling alleys and go-kart facilities, entertainment looms larger than ever."

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    6. SVP Global Consumer Insights' James Russo: Millennials will drive the market

    Retail Trends: Here Are 11 Inside Predictions For 2016

    "Millennials are also planning their next move, only 25% plan to live in the same area they live in now over the next five years. That means 75% of up-and-coming spenders are planning to relocate, mainly to large cities and college towns. Retailers and manufacturers must ensure they are following this generation where they will be living in order to benefit from their growing spending power."

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    7. Vivaldi Partners founder and CEO Erich Joachimsthaler: Retailers will learn how to adapt to shifting market conditions

    "As Peter Senge once said: The only way to win is to learn faster than competitors. In 2016, retailers will find new ways to further respond to shifting perception of what is value to consumers and hence either enhance or enable or even transform their brand propositions."

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    8. PwC Retail and Consumer sector leader Steve Barr: Customer experience will build brand loyalty

    "Creating a unique customer experience will continue to go a long way toward building loyalty in 2016. Shoppers, especially Millennials, are craving experiences from brands."

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    9. The Robin Report CEO Robin Lewis: Sears and Kmart are on their way out

    "When it comes to Sears and Kmart, both of which are literally on life support, I’d say their chances of longevity and success are in the zero-to-minus range. They have had so many of their assets stripped away, and there has been no real investment in either the physical stores or in technology while their owner, Eddie Lampert, the master of business wind-downs and asset stripping, has slowly let the air out of these retailerstires."

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    10. Vivaldi Partners CEO and founder Erich Joachimsthaler: Retailers will use personalization and algorithms to connect with shoppers

    "In 2016, retailers will evolve personalization and use digital technology (predictive analytics, beacons, AI, etc.), NOT digital advertising, to connect with shoppers. Starbucks has shown the way with their significant investments in digital technologies such as Mobile Order & Pay."

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    11. SiteWorks president Nick Egelanian: E-commerce won't replace brick-and-mortar

    "While Internet sales will grow, the common misperception that brick-and-mortar retail is suffering is absolutely incorrect. Retail sales overall will increase 3% to 4% in 2016, and the portion generated on the Internet will simply be one of many purchasing paths consumers can take, accounting for well below 10% of retail sales now—25 years after Amazon's founding in the early '90s."