Celebrating retail and CX trends that defined the past year and will live on in 2023
Forecasting where the retail industry will go next is a tricky business. Consumers today have more choice than ever over what they buy, how they shop, and which brands they want to associate themselves with. Increasingly savvy customers who prioritise sustainability and physical experiences over functional transactions are a factor, but so too is increased competition and the rising cost of living.
For those plying their trade in the industry, identifying trends that will deliver success, and doing the right thing, has never been trickier. We share the inside track on some of the key trends that you should be paying attention to that will continue to influence shopper behaviour and retail strategy in the months ahead.
The cost of living crisis may be focusing attention on value right now, but the importance of values is unlikely to diminish as a result. Research by Avery Dennison suggests that 60% of shoppers want more transparency, so they can make ethical purchasing decisions. At the same time, a study by Pull Agency reported that 68% of beauty consumers are uneasy about brands promoting ‘woke’ causes.
1.Navigating the landscape isn’t easy. But the decision to use in-store communication to share stories of brand transparency should be. So, how can brands communicate values while also educating and informing customers in an authentic way? We’ve been observing the trend for some time and have been stressing to our clients the importance of building ethical and sustainability messaging into the physical store environment.
2. According to research by WelcoMe, 1 in 5 potential consumers have a disability in the UK. An underrepresented group that represents a missed opportunity for many brands. So much more than a trend: the issue of accessibility, as part of the continuing (and vital) diversity and inclusivity movement, is more important than ever. That means retailers and brands must do more to ensure that in-store spaces are accessible — for everyone. Apps like Be My Eyes and WelcoMe are helping to deliver better customer experiences. Both are interesting examples, and the emergence of such apps should prompt all in retail to reassess how accessible their stores truly are. Do your retail spaces make everyone feel welcomed? If you’re not, expect to be called out
3. Meta opened a physical retail store to promote the Metaverse. Confused? The possibilities of the Metaverse, if not quite the understanding just yet, are broad. There is a great deal of talk about the Metaverse but, so far, we have seen only a handful of significant activations. All mainstream brands (and consumers for that matter) must do now is figure out, “what it can do for me?”. Success will require a new mindset to merge online and offline in a heightened, better way to harness the Metaverse, NFTs, avatars, and everything in between. Will it be worth it? Time will tell… but expect to see investment in the Meta move up another gear in 2023
4. The Experience Hunter trend was in full flow; before the pandemic forced everyone to stay indoors. Having emerged from the pandemic and now free once more, customers are increasingly seeking out (and choosing to spend their money within) physical retail space that provide experiences full of good vibes, and that deliver true moments of joy. ‘Joy’ has perhaps been one of the biggest trends and most defining trends of 2022 , that has born some truly innovative and creative retail solutions. Brands must increasingly think beyond the four walls of a store, if they are to engage customers in new, relevant, and more responsive way
5. The current Cost Of Living crisis has consumers evaluating their spending habits. Pre-pandemic, the focus was driven very much toward “FOMO (fear of missing out) instead of Promo”, the current financial climate has inevitably reversed this. Whilst customers are willing to spend on what they need Brands need to deliver clarity on value. We expect further popularity in multi-use products, and product efficacy will be scrutinised like never before. Customers will expect the products they invest in to deliver.
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