Economic prospects for much of the world look challenging over the next year, and retail has traditionally been among the first sectors to feel the bumps in the road. This is likely to cause further headaches for brick-and-mortar retailers still recovering from the disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic. But it’s also a challenge for e-tailers to keep innovating, to ensure that customers’ more limited disposable income continues to flow their way.
Rising inflation is driving up the prices of basic necessities, such as groceries and clothing, and luxury goods sold by multinational conglomerates. At the same time, the disruption in the supply chain is negatively impacting operations as inventory runs out, encouraging some retailers to raise prices further.
The answer? Harness the power and potential of technology to offer customers exciting new ways to browse, shop and save. Both online and offline, retailers are turning to technology in several innovative ways. So here’s a look at some of the top trends on the radar for 2023:
Hybrid and omnichannel customer journeys
Online shopping offers great convenience, as it can be done from anywhere, at any time, making almost everything available to us without having to leave our homes. It also allows retailers to learn a lot about us by tracking our customers’ behavior and combining this with data from a number of other online sources to create a detailed view of who we are and what we do. what we expect from our shopping experiences.
At the same time, offline shopping means we can get what we need right away (if the store is open) and gives us the tactile experience of being able to look, smell and even taste or smell the products before we go. buy them.
Hybrid shopping is about bringing together the best of both worlds – online or offline – to create customer journeys that tick all the boxes.
In the case of offline shopping, this means understanding who we are and what we want when we enter the store – just like an e-tailer would when we arrive on their website. In the world of online retail, that means developing methods to deliver the same experiential shopping experiences we enjoy in the real world. This could be through innovative technology enabling personalization or virtual and augmented reality solutions (see below for more on all of this).
Offline outlets can leverage innovations made by online retailers in logistics and inventory management to offer flexible payment methods, home delivery options and loyalty programs (e.g. Amazon Style stores). At the same time, online retailers can learn to build personal relationships with customers and deliver immersive shopping experiences from physical retailers. In 2023, embracing this hybrid mindset will be a key strategy for retailers looking to continue building brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Conscious consumers continue to define retail habits
To succeed in retail in 2013, businesses must continue to adapt to the fact that at the heart of consumer purchasing decisions are increasingly driven by issues of ethics, environmentalism and sustainability.
Two out of three of us consider ourselves “convinced buyerswith a strong desire to know that the products and services we buy are created in an environmentally responsible way by organizations with strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles. Rather than a hindrance or impediment to the industry, organizations that successfully adapt to this trend will find that they quickly build stronger bonds of trust and loyalty with their customers while often developing operations and more efficient processes. This can be achieved by reducing waste associated with excess packaging and reducing overall energy consumption. Korean retailer Coupang is a good example of a company that has eliminated packaging from 75% of its shipments, resulting in greater brand loyalty and reduced logistics expenses.
As more and more of us become aware of the increasingly critical nature of the threats to our environment and the planet, technology that enables companies to find new solutions to these problems and to do so ‘one way transparent and accountablewill be a key retail trend throughout 2023.
Personalization throughout the customer journey
stitch correction is a California-based fashion retailer that uses algorithms and online surveys to select clothes that, in theory, will perfectly match customers’ tastes as well as their sizes. And global sportswear giant Nike launched its Nike by you service that allows everyone to create a fully personalized pair of sneakers that completely matches their personal tastes. These are two examples of lifestyle-focused brands trying to capitalize on the growing demand for personalized and unique products that somehow reflect our individual personality or sense of style.
This trend does not only apply to fashion products and shoes. Consumers have been shown to respond well to personalization throughout the consumer journey – from sales and marketing, where messaging and e-commerce portals will offer personalized recommendations, to upselling and after-sales support. . Companies that successfully respond to this trend in 2023 will understand how to use the myriad data points available to them today and create products and services that feel “special” or uniquely tailored to individuals. They will create personalized touchpoints throughout the customer journey, making customers feel like they’re not just made for people like them, but uniquely relevant to themselves as individuals. Applying technology to enable “personalization at scale” is key to capitalizing on this trend.
AR, VR and the metaverse lead to immersive and experiential purchases
Today’s consumers are looking for an exceptional customer experience above all, according to recent research. This means excellent service delivered in a simple, efficient, consistent and memorable way. This is why there is so much enthusiasm around the concept of metaverse – immersive, experiential digital environments where users can work, play and – yes – shop – on a persistent platform. While no one knows exactly what form the Metaverse will take, retailers have already enthusiastically embraced it as an exciting new channel through which they can connect and do business with customers. Adidas, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Samsung and Burberry are among the well-known names that have already established a presence or said they plan to do so.
Virtual reality is a big part of the metaverse, offering the most immersive method currently available for consumers to connect to these worlds. This technology and associated AR technology (both based on head-mounted displays) are also making inroads with retailers via innovations such as the virtual locker room trend, which will also become more prevalent in 2023. Retailers including Hugo Boss, walmartand Amazon, allow customers to virtually try on clothes using digital representations of themselves. This trend builds on the past use of AR by companies like Ikea and Home deposit it allows us to see what the furniture they sell will look like in our own homes. As customers seek more immersive and fun ways to shop and spend money, we can expect to see more businesses adopt these technologies and continue to innovate in 2023.
Cashless, contactless and self-driving purchases and deliveries
This trend also revolves around the convergence of hybrid and omnichannel innovations, but focuses on the “last mile” of the retail experience. Consumers are demanding more streamlining and efficiency in the way they pay for goods and services and how they end up in our hands. Convenience trends such as buying online, picking up in store (BOPIS), buy-online-return-store(BORIS) and Online Curbside Pickup Purchase (BOPAC) are quickly becoming expected as the standard. Artificial intelligence and advanced analytics make this a possibility by automating the complex inventory management processes required. It’s also essential for new methods of self-driving that retailers increasingly test, pilot, and deploy in real-world deployments.
Starship, for example, has seen unprecedented demand for its delivery robots since the pandemic, which have now made more than 100,000 autonomous deliveries in the UK, US and Europe. Chinese retailer JD.com operates fleets of autonomous delivery vehicles, and Amazon Scout delivery robots are becoming commonplace in US cities, including Irvine, California; Atlanta, Georgia and Franklin, Tennessee. In addition to realizing efficiencies by reducing the need for expensive manual courier delivery for last mile fulfillment, automating this stage of the process enables businesses to reduce their carbon footprint as vehicles are usually electric and can be powered by renewable sources such as solar. However, managing this shift ethically, given the impact it will have on the lives of thousands of delivery drivers, is a challenge that retailers will face in the coming year.
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