A new year bring brings fresh starts and new challenges.

It is a time to step back and assess the past year and identify new focus areas and strategies for the upcoming year.

We have talked to our retail experts at Accruent to develop the top 5 things retailers need to do to succeed in 2019:

1. Creating a seamless customer experience, online and offline.

It should come as no surprise that customer experience is number one on the list, as modern consumers are faced with an increasing catalog of options. With many brands offering the same categories of goods, consumers are making choices based on experience, quality, and convenience. As retailers make shopping more convenient for consumers by offering faster shipping, in-store pickup and in-store returns, they also need to focus on ensuring that the customer experience in-store matches the online experience. Retailers who master the entire customer experience, across all touchpoints, to provide a seamless and consistently good customer experience will end up on top.

2. Understanding buyer behavior.

Collecting data has become the norm in today’s digital economy. Most retailers are able to see what customers purchased, as well as when and how often they purchased it and what channel they used to make their purchase. They have collected data on everything from buyer purchase habits to typical shopping baskets. Retailers are now pivoting to understanding this data in context. What makes someone want to buy something? Where do they shop before and after they make a purchase? What truly drives buyer behavior? Complimenting buyer behavior data with inventory and digital data will allow retailers to better target their buyers, in order to provide what the buyers are looking for and ultimately grow revenue.

3. Optimizing the supply chain.

Never before has the supply chain been more important. Delivering online purchases in two days or less is a logistical nightmare for most retailers as they try to keep up with the likes of Amazon. As big box retailers started to work with their stores to create fulfillment hubs, they began to see new opportunities such as offering same-day pick-up, or having customers drive up and have their groceries or purchases loaded into their cars. Organizations will continue to see this concept evolve in 2019. From landlords wanting tenants to pay percentage rent on online sales fulfilled in stores, to retailers offering same-day delivery from their stores, retailers will have to balance the demands of quick fulfillment.

4. Finding efficiencies in real estate portfolios.

Large department stores are pivoting to drive more value and better experiences to their total store footprints with “store-in-store models,” where smaller retailers have space in a larger big box retailer or a coffee shop in a discount retailer. This helps customers stay in stores longer, offers more exposure to smaller brands and can give retailers with large footprints relief on real estate costs.

5. Getting the best locations.

In 2019 we expect to see existing retailers open more stores and for new retailers to emerge in the market. This race for space will make site selection, new store designs, and changing store layouts top of mind for organizations. Retailers will need to be agile to get the best position and make decisions faster.

Accruent believes that 2019 is going to be a great year for retailers. By focusing on creating an exceptional customer experience, a deeper understanding of the buyers, optimizing the supply chain, finding efficiencies in real estate portfolios and being agile and making quick decisions based on data, retailers will propel to success and meet 2019 head on.

For more information on how Accruent can help you take on these challenges in 2019, check out our suite of products specifically made for retailers.