Retail is an ever-changing landscape that is always trying to stay ahead of the next big thing. To keep evolving in the retail world, brands must use retail marketing to stay relevant and interesting to consumers. People are always looking for new experiences and things to try, which means that retailers must innovate. There\u2019s no other alternative or else your brand will fall behind and fail like so many others. One day you could be the star of the show and the next you will have been replaced by the newer, better thing. Retailers must always be looking to the future. From changes to shopping behavior to digital integration, there is so much that retailers need to do to differentiate themselves.\n\n\n\nTechnology and Consumer Experience\n\n\n\nTechnology is growing ever more interconnected. Where once online and offline shopping were considered separate, now everything\u2019s more integrated. The future of retail is the marriage of digital and physical realities to create one seamless shopping experience. After all, most shoppers are constantly checking their phone when they shop. They webroom, trying to find the best price whether its from the online store of the business they are in, or checking for a better price on Amazon. No longer are consumers blindly picking any single store sale without first making certain they are getting the best bang for their buck. What better way to leverage an existing habit in people than to integrate it into the brand\u2019s customer experience?\n\n\n\nOf course, that\u2019s not the only way technology is disrupting the retail industry. When it comes to marketing products, social media is saturated with all sorts of advertisements and content.\n\n\n\nPeople want personalization.\n\n\n\nThey want to get an e-mail from their favorite business and see relevant purchase suggestions that reflect their previous purchasing decisions. Retailers must combine the data from multiple channels \u2013online, mobile and in-store\u2014to better understand their consumers so that they can better cater to them. That means personalizing as much as possible, and tailoring marketing strategies to different demographics. Marketing materials can\u2019t simply be one size fits all. Retailers need to know their customers, young or old, how they shop, and where they shop. Capitalizing on data and not only watching the trends, but understanding them, is the only way to continue providing the customer experience that shoppers are looking for.\n\n\n\nIs Digital Necessary?\n\n\n\nThe short answer is that, yes, it is necessary.\n\n\n\nTechnology keeps advancing and if retailers don\u2019t advance with it they are going to get swallowed whole. That\u2019s what happened to companies like Toy\u2019s R Us and Borders which failed to innovate fast enough. Digital might seem like a small part of the shopping experience, but e-commerce is growing 23% by the year, according to a study. The same study states that 51% of Americans shop online. It\u2019s no surprise. The average American spends 24 hours a week online. That means if your business isn\u2019t online, then you\u2019re losing out on significant opportunities. Not having a website or not being on social media can negatively impact your business\u2019 reputation. You can be losing customers to competitors who have a digital presence and have reached a larger audience. After all, the internet connects millions of people around the world. There\u2019s simply no understating the impact that the digital has had on the retail landscape.\n\n\n\nExperimentation\n\n\n\nExperimenting with new retail marketing strategies is the only way to develop innovative practices. Taking advantage of new social media sites is one way to stay ahead. As anyone knows, video is one of the most influential marketing tools. There are now live streaming marketplaces. Due to the popularity of live streaming services on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Periscope, sellers have seen an opportunity. These sites, such as Talkshop.live, offers sellers to go on line at a moments notice. The idea stems from channels such as the Home Shopping Network merging with the digital sphere. It increases engagement and offers a chance to showcase products in real-time. Other innovations include augmented reality, which has been taken advantage of by plenty of retailers already. From Ikea and Wayfair allowing customers to see furniture in their homes through the apps, to Converse allowing customers to try on sneakers virtually.\n\n\n\nExperimenting with mixed reality brings new customer experiences and can drive brand loyalty with engagement. There are so many touchpoints that customers use these days to connect with the internet and to buy online. There\u2019s mobile, voice, virtual reality, internet-connected cars, and other such technology that has everyone plugged in. It is obvious people like the ability to shop everywhere from anywhere.\n\n\n\nInnovation is the only way retailers are going to survive. \n\n\n\nConsumer habits are constantly changing, and technology is always improving. There\u2019s no way around. Businesses need to make the necessary steps to stay relevant. Marketers are constantly vying for the consumer\u2019s attention. Be it through e-mail, social media websites or through their favorite music streaming app. If you can\u2019t capture the attention of your audience and keep it, then there\u2019s no way your brand is going to make it to see the future. Experiment with new things to increase customer engagement. Personalize your marketing strategies. Definitely take advantage of everything that going digital has to offer. You want to succeed in the future, not become a relic to time.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nSharon Shichor\u00a0is the CEO of\u00a0Eighteen Knowledge Group LLC,\u00a0your solution and knowledge base for brand building and getting your products and services in the hands of consumers.\n\n\n\nWant to learn more about Marketing solutions and trends? Visit our\u00a0company page\u00a0and\u00a0blog\u00a0for more on the subjects that affect your company\u2019s daily operations the most!