Retailers and Brands are emerging from a pandemic that lasted a long time. The past years have been challenging for retailers due to supply chain challenges, inflationary pricing, economic uncertainty, and geopolitical factors that have taxed them and squeezed their finances.
As the year begins, there is a positive outlook and a focus on the customer shopping journey. As retailers have started adjusting to a new normal, a seamless experience and hybrid shopping are shaping the future of retail.
What is the meaning of Retail Trends?
Retail trends refer to the changes in the retail industry considering customer expectations, technological advancements, and other operations in the industry.
We have come to know the meaning of retail trends, to understand why following trends helps in increasing engagement with customers.
Why are Retail Trends important?
Here are the seven biggest trends in retail that will impact the industry in 2023.
1. Brick-and-mortar sales continue to rebound
Brick-and-mortar stores still play a vital role in the retail sector. After spending years at home, it is seen that customers are eager and excited to go shopping at the stores again as it gives them a sense of refreshment and social connectivity.
With the pandemic now at an end, we can expect brick-and-mortar sales to continue to increase.
2. Hybrid Experiences Reshape Retail
The resurgence of in-store shopping has given rise to new ways of thinking. Retailers are looking to design their stores with more integrated omnichannel customer journeys and deliver their customers unique, memorable shopping experiences that blend the digital and the physical worlds and satisfy customers.
Following the recent retail trends and customers’ interest, physical stores and brick-and-mortar locations are well on their way to becoming experience centres rather than just traditional stores.
For example: Recently, we can see that the retailers’ top priority is customer experience. So, many big brands like Bata have started building their experience centres, where customers can experience the product in 3D form and get the product information without any human interruption.
Retailers are coming out with creative ways to generate word-of-mouth marketing and one-of-a-kind design experiences.
Following the retail trends, savvy retailers have started adding digital components to their in-store experience, including Augmented Reality (AR), digital displays, interactive kiosks with built-in touchscreens displays, and apps designed specifically for in-store use.
Additionally, they are also coming up with innovative ways to combine physical capabilities with digital capabilities to entice shoppers, such as using AR to enable shoppers to view furniture virtually in their own homes, try on clothing, check their size, and pick out their favourite colours.
In 2023 and beyond, hybrid experiences will become more commonplace as retailers compete to out-innovate each other and craft experiences that delight and excite consumers.
3. Personalization shines in all parts of the customer journey
The trend toward on-demand personalization spreads across all retail areas and is only refined as new technologies empower customers. Personalization is no longer about including first names in direct emails.
Customers today respond better to a personalized experience. One means of effective personalization is to deliver customer intelligence data, such as tailored recommendations, to the point in the customer’s journey where this information will have the most significant impact, such as point of sale (POS) terminals in-store or sales associate handheld devices.
Currently, most retail companies now offer to change product recommendations. These filtered emails can delete previously purchased items and update advanced profiling systems that enable customers to establish their identity and interact with the brand or business.
When personalizing your retail store, you should consider industry leaders and notable brands. They send curated clothing collections to customers and collect feedback from them using a combination of in-house stylists and natural language processing algorithms and can learn from the feedback.
In addition to this, personal engagement with customers on an emotional and interpersonal level can inspire additional brand loyalty.
While shoppers have a strong opinion on personalization, their expectations are relatively realistic for retailers who cannot replicate this level of hyper-personalization.
When incorporating personalization into your retail strategy, it is important to keep the following strategy in mind:
- Convenience: The process should be easy to access and simple to use.
- Customizable: Options should be varied as possible and allow users to be creative.
- Efficient: Customizable processes should reduce pain points for customers, allowing them to get what they want faster.
- Experimental: The process should be enjoyable and authentic to the brand’s style and message.
4. Seamless Customer Journey
A seamless customer journey means that whether online or offline, customers want to see the same branding, structure, tone and values. Companies can provide several tools and strategies to ease and simplify the process for their customers.
No matter how advanced technology becomes, it will never replace the importance of customer relationships.
Personalized, seamless transitions between channels ultimately lead to higher contact centre efficiency and customer satisfaction.
In order to provide a seamless experience to the customers, you can get real-time inventory visibility, and automate replenishment, generate accurate demand forecasts so that it can be ensured that the right product reaches the right place at the right time.
Offer flexible fulfilment options with complete visibility into order status and location.
Offer customers multiple payment options, such as mobile wallets and loyalty program points, so they can choose what works best for them.
Those retailers who succeed in delivering frictionless customer journeys will reap the rewards. According to a survey, it is seen that companies rate their experience management strategy as “significantly above average.”
It is seen that:
- They got better revenue growth than their competitors in the previous year,
- Got better profitability than competitors in the previous year, and
- Got better employee retention than competitors in the previous year.
5. Contactless Payments and Autonomous Shopping take off
Unlike BOPAC (Buy Online, Pickup At Curbside), BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick up In-Store) and BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-Store) are the only pandemic-era innovations that are here to stay.
Contactless payments and autonomous shopping have also become permanent fixtures in the retail landscape. Now it has become of those retail trends that every retailer is following.
It was originally implemented as a safety precaution for in-store shoppers, but later, customers started appreciating the convenience that contactless payments provide. It saves valuable time for the customer earlier than, they spent counting cash, entering PINs, or signing receipts.
Autonomous shopping is taking contactless payment to the next level using artificial intelligence. Customers can enter stores, select products, and leave using their phones, and the money they owe will be deducted automatically from their accounts when they leave.
Though it may seem like science fiction, technology makes autonomous shopping pleasurable, affordable, and accessible. Leading experts predict autonomous shopping will become more commonplace in 2023 and beyond.
6. Sustainability is top of mind of Shoppers
Now shoppers have become more aware and cautious about the environment than ever. They are shifting towards sustainable shopping. As brands are working to fulfil that role, they’re looking for ways to understand how people really think about sustainability.
You can tell the positive impact of sustainability in their everyday life. They are searching for ways to update their daily routines. These everyday actions make sustainability feel more manageable and easier to achieve, which in turn, raises morale and imparts positive feelings.
It is seen in many cases that a more positive message is much more effective than anything that might induce guilt, and the message should focus on what audiences care about.
For brands, it is important to show consumers how they can solve their everyday problems with sustainability, and how their bigger sustainability goal can be broken down into smaller steps.
It is seen that when it comes to eco-conscious shopping, people don’t want to trade quality, convenience, or affordability for sustainability. Customers expect to be offered more eco-friendly choices, but not at the expense of other product benefits.
Capturing attention and gaining consideration means showing how sustainability addresses the more pressing, personal needs or people’s minds when they shop.
This is one of those retail trends that is evolving every day. So, it is important to consider sustainable ways!
7. Retailers take steps to overcome disruption in the global supply chain
Perhaps the biggest lesson of the pandemic for retailers is that the global supply chain is not immune to disruption. Even two years out, many countries are still navigating changing restrictions on travel exports, and memories of empty shelves still haunt retailers’ and consumers’ minds.
To make the supply chains more resilient, retailers are advised to:
- Look to multisource products from different providers, or even consider near-sourcing to move supply chains closer to home.
- Review freight and carrier costs to see what can be optimized or adjusted to be more efficient.
- Consider partnering with a freight forwarder for e-commerce, which parts they use for brick-and-mortar stores, and which features they use for both.
- Experiment with different business models, including rental spaces such as dark stores, ghost kitchens, micro-fulfilment centres, and distribution centres.
Conclusion: Biggest Retail Trends
In this article, we have explored the biggest of the retail trends that are emerging this year. We’ve also considered sustainable shopping. This trend is certain to continue and will be ever more defining the ability of retailers to retain their customers, grow and engage with shoppers.
So, it is vital for retailers to identify retail trends that can change consumer behaviour and adjust their offerings accordingly.
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