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As the retail industry evolves, customers expect more from brands than ever before - from greater conveniences to customized experiences and deeper levels of personalization. To help retailers navigate this changing landscape, Alliance Data's card services business, a provider of branded private label, co-brand, and business card programs, released its fourth annual "Now, New, Next" report, which details 10 trends for retailers to watch in 2019 and beyond in order to stand out from the competition and keep the customer at the center of their strategies. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

"Retail is changing at its fastest pace yet, and brands' strategies need to evolve accordingly. Customers are looking for deeper connections, customized experiences and more seamless ways to engage with brands," said Shannon Andrick, vice president of marketing advancement for Alliance Data's card services business. "The trends we've identified simplify the key factors that are driving retail as we head into 2019 - as well as how retailers can bring the trends to life within their own brands."

The following trends are highlights from the trends included in the 2019 report:

  • NOW
    Purposefully Connected Journeys. Retailers are strategically connecting all of the brands' assets and channels, removing friction and serving up the right content on demand and in real time.
  • NEW
    Mainstreaming Secondhand. Growing in appeal, the secondhand market is looking more like traditional retail, with curated offerings, higher-touch store experiences, and tech-enabled customer journeys.
  • NEXT
    Driven By Artificial Intelligence. Brands are turning over decision-making to data-driven algorithms to determine website design, ad messaging and placement, and product recommendations in real time, generating impressive efficiencies and enabling 1:1 personalized journeys at scale.

"Now is the time to embrace the future of retail," added Andrick. "With so many exciting, innovative ways to connect with customers, retailers have the opportunity to be on the forefront of what's next - which means putting the customer first and welcoming opportunities to engage with them in new ways."