How Will Sales Change Over the Next Five Years?

Michele Warg
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Savvy marketers know they cannot use the same sales techniques year after year. Although some sales methods, such as direct mail campaigns, are perennially successful, sales and marketing teams know they need to continually make sales changes to address transitions in society, technology and media. Here are a few sales changes that are likely to occur over the next five years.

The first sales change that is likely to occur involves the increased use of predictive sales algorithms. Already, marketers use analytic sales software to predict what consumers are going to buy next. Those predictions allow sales teams to create targeted advertising that gives customers the opportunity to make a predicted purchase.

This type of predictive advertising is already very successful, but it is likely to change dramatically over the next five years. The biggest change is the shift from online predictive advertising to in-store predictive advertising. Imagine being able to walk into a store and see an advertisement tailored specifically to you, offering a one-time-only deal on a product you are interested in purchasing, or imagine walking into a store and instantly receiving a text message offering you a coupon for an item you searched online yesterday.

These types of sales strategies are likely to become reality in a few years. So are strategies that allow retailers to not only know what you are interested in purchasing, but also which competitors you have been searching online. Then, all sales teams have to do is offer a lower price than the competition to secure your purchase and your brand loyalty.

Another sales change involves the use of rapid distribution methods. In 2013, Amazon announced the game-changing plan of building delivery drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles designed to deliver packages to consumers in under 30 minutes. If Amazon can put its delivery drone plan into action, expect other retailers to take on similar strategies and build sales and marketing campaigns around the benefits of rapid delivery.

Amazon also patented an anticipatory shipping system designed to use predictive data to put packages in warehouses near customers' homes in anticipation of a predicted purchase. This clearly shows that the next big sales changes involve delivery speed, as retailers race each other to offer the fastest delivery possible.

During the last 30 years, big retail chains worked hard to take over commercial space in towns and cities and put smaller "mom and pop" shops out of business. However, these same retail chains are now closing up storefronts and conducting the majority of business online. Expect sales to follow suit, with big chains moving online to offer low-cost products and fast delivery, while small businesses take over local communities and sell one-of-a-kind items and experiences.

Sales changes in the next few years are likely to revolve around predictive sales, delivery speed and a shifting balance between retail chains and small businesses. Marketers who want to compete in this evolving sales world need to study these sales changes, anticipate where their company might be in the next decade and figure out how to get there.


(Photo courtesy of bplanet /


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