Over the coming year, the economic prognosis for much of the world appears to be bumpy, and historically, the retail sector has been among the first to experience these hiccups. For brick and mortar stores that are still working through the effects of the covid-19 pandemic’s disruption, this is likely to pose more problems. To ensure that clients’ more constrained disposable income continues to flow in their direction, online e-tailers must innovate constantly.
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The cost of both basic necessities like food and clothing as well as luxury goods offered by global corporations are rising due to rising inflation. Moreover, as supplies become scarce due to supply chain disruption, some retailers are compelled to raise prices even further.
The response? Utilise technology’s strength and potential to provide customers fun and innovative ways to shop, buy, and save. Retailers are using technology in a variety of creative ways, both online and offline. Following is a summary of some of the major trends anticipated for 2023
Omnichannel And Hybrid Customer Journeys
Since it can be done from anywhere, at any time, and makes almost anything available to us without requiring us to leave our homes, online shopping offers enormous convenience. A complete picture of who we are and what we want from our shopping experiences can be built by businesses by tracking our consumer activity and combining it with information from a variety of other internet sources.
In addition, offline shopping gives us the tactile pleasure of being able to look at, feel, and even taste or smell items before purchasing them. This means we can obtain what we need right away (assuming the store is open).
In order to develop client journeys that satisfy all the requirements, hybrid shopping combines the best elements of all of these worlds, whether they are online or offline.
This entails knowing who we are and what we want before entering a physical store, just as an online retailer would when we visit their website. It entails creating strategies for giving the same experiential purchasing experiences we enjoy in the real world in the context of online retailing. This may be accomplished with cutting-edge technology that enables customisation or through applications for virtual and augmented reality (see below for more on all of these).
To provide flexible payment ways, home delivery alternatives, and loyalty programmes (like Amazon’s Style shops), offline retailers can draw on the improvements achieved by online retailers in logistics and inventory management. At the same time, physical and mortar stores can teach internet businesses about fostering close bonds with customers and offering engaging shopping experiences. Adopting this hybrid approach will be a crucial strategy for merchants in 2023 who want to keep increasing brand recognition and consumer loyalty.
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Conscious Shoppers Continue To Establish Retail Customs.
Businesses must continue to adjust to the fact that ethical, environmental, and sustainable issues are increasingly at the heart of customer purchasing decisions if they want to succeed in retail in 2013.
Two out of three of us identify as “belief-driven buyers,” with a strong need to know that the goods and services we purchase were produced in a manner that was kind to the environment by businesses that upheld sound environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. Organisations that effectively adapt to this trend will discover that they swiftly strengthen their relationships of trust and loyalty with their consumers while frequently also generating more efficient operations and processes, rather than acting as a barrier or hindrance to industry. This can be accomplished by cutting back on unnecessary packaging waste and energy use in general. A notable example of a business that did this is the Korean retailer Coupang, which decreased its logistics costs and increased brand loyalty by eliminating packaging from 75% of its deliveries.
Technology that enables businesses to both find novel solutions to these problems and to do so in a way that is transparent and accountable will be a key trend in retail throughout 2023 as more and more of us become aware of the increasingly critical nature of threats facing our environment and the planet.
Personalization At Every Stage Of The Client Experience
Stitch Fix is a California-based fashion retailer that selects clothing that, in principle, will exactly fit clients’ interests and sizes using algorithms and online surveys. Global sportswear giant Nike also introduced its Nike By You service, which enables anyone to design a totally unique pair of footwear that perfectly reflects their own unique style. These two instances show how lifestyle-focused companies are attempting to meet the rising desire for customised, one-of-a-kind products that somehow capture our distinct personalities or sense of style.
This fashion is not limited to apparel and footwear. Customers have been demonstrated to respond favourably to personalization throughout the whole customer experience, from upselling and post-purchase support to sales and marketing, where email and e-commerce portals will dish up individualised recommendations. Businesses that effectively respond to this trend in 2023 will be able to use the wealth of data points already at their disposal to produce goods and services that stand out as “special” or are specially suited to each customer. Customers will feel that they are produced not just for people just like them but also that they are individually relevant to themselves as individuals thanks to the creation of individualised touch points along the entire customer journey. Profiting from this trend requires technology application that enables “personalization at scale.”
AR, VR, and the metaverse drive immersive, experiential shopping
According to a recent study, consumers today place a premium on having a great customer experience. This refers to providing excellent service in a hassle-free, effective, reliable, and memorable way. This explains why the idea of the metaverse—immersive, interactive digital spaces where users can work, play, and, yes, shop—is generating so much buzz. Retailers have already embraced the metaverse with enthusiasm as a new and interesting channel through which they can engage and conduct business with customers, despite the fact that no one is entirely sure what form it will ultimately take. Among the well-known brands that have either already established a presence or made it clear that they want to do so are Adidas, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Samsung, and Burberry.
The most engaging way for users to connect to various worlds right now is through virtual reality, which is a significant component of the metaverse. It and the associated technology of augmented reality (AR) are also gaining traction with stores thanks to developments like the virtual dressing room trend, which is also expected to become popular in 2023. Both technologies rely on head-mounted displays. Customers may digitally try on apparel at retailers like Hugo Boss, Walmart, and Amazon using digital images of themselves. This pattern draws on past uses of augmented reality (AR) by businesses like Ikea and Home Depot, which enable us to visualise how the furniture they sell would appear in our own homes. We can anticipate seeing more businesses use these technologies and continuing to innovate in 2023 as consumers look for more exciting and immersive ways to shop and spend money.
Shopping And Delivery That Are Autonomous, Cashless, And Contactless
Although it centres on the crucial “final mile” of the retail experience, this trend also revolves around the convergence of hybrid and omnichannel developments. The way consumers pay for goods and services and how they get into our hands needs to be more streamlined and efficient. Buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), buy-online-return-in-store (BORIS), and buy-online-pickup-at-curbside (BOPAC) convenience trends are swiftly gaining acceptance as industry norms. These are made possible through the automation of the demanding sophisticated inventory management operations by artificial intelligence and advanced analytics. Additionally, it is crucial for the new autonomous delivery techniques that retailers are rapidly testing, piloting, and implementing in actual operations.
Since the epidemic, Starship, for instance, has seen a surge in demand for its delivery robots, which have now successfully made over 100,000 autonomous deliveries in the UK, the USA, and Europe. Fleets of autonomous delivery cars are operated by the Chinese retailer JD.com, while Amazon’s Scout delivery robots are more widespread in US places like Irvine, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and Franklin, Tennessee. Automating this step of the process not only creates efficiencies by removing the need for expensive manual courier delivery for last-mile fulfilment, but it also enables businesses to lessen their carbon footprint because the vehicles are typically electric and can be powered by renewable sources like solar. The difficulty that retailers will confront in the upcoming year is how to manage this transition in an ethical manner, given the effect it will have on the lives of thousands of human delivery drivers.