2023 started off with uncertainty across the retail sector, as brands and retailers try to navigate new pressures customers are facing in the wake of an impending economic recession. Malls and entertainment venues are recovering, with increased foot traffic. Supply chains are gradually improving. Legacy brands are making a comeback such as Babies R US, Zellers, and Baby Phat. While other retail chains, Bed Bath & Beyond, Morphe and Sally’s Beauty, close and shutter select stores. The tech industry is reshaping, with luxury brands focusing on Web3 and metaverse opportunities to connect virtual and real-life shopping experiences. At the same time, Gen Z is continuing to fuel the demand for social media marketing and influencer collaborations, forcing retailers and brands to focus on digital strategies.
“The current economic climate and sales numbers are directly influencing the operational decisions of retail brands and how they engage customers. In the coming year, expect to see the customer experience continue to be redefined. Online shopping might feel a little more like walking into a store with large retailers focused on merging and blurring the online and offline customer journey into one experience. We see it reflected in the exponential rise of buy now, pay later,” said Emil Davityan, Bluedot co-founder and CEO. “There are shifts being driven by other environmental factors including increasing consumer demand for sustainability with more retailers offering efficient shipping options that reduce carbon emissions and malls installing more supercharging stations and designated areas for EVs.”
These are the five retail trends and predictions for the 2023 year ahead, according to Bluedot, a customer arrival platform that empowers businesses to provide real-time interactions, contextualized marketing engagements, and pickup solutions.
Malls will attempt to lure customers by adding more Electric Vehicle charging stations
Demand for charging stations is steadily increasing as more and more consumers invest in electric and semi-electric vehicles. Given that charging EVs can take 30 minutes or more on a fast charge, there’s a strategic opportunity for malls to increase foot traffic by offering consumers the convenience of charging while shopping at the mall. Charging discounts may even be offered to lure shoppers.
Buy now, pay later will continue to gain popularity
According to Bluedot’s latest Holiday Shopping Habits report, 4 in 10 consumers planned to use Buy Now, Pay Later for holiday gifts in 2022. Adobe Analytics’ Holiday Shopping Report found that revenue share for BNPL grew 9.2% during the holiday season compared to the 2021 season. As the cost of living rises, buy now, pay later (BNPL) has become a go-to for consumers as a way to better manage their expenses and an alternative to credit cards. To attract younger customers, especially Gen Z, we’ll see retailers put more emphasis on BNPL both online and in-store to help ease consumer cost restraints.
More retailers will offer sustainable shipping options
When it comes to online purchases, consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever before, particularly with how purchases are delivered. We’ll see retailers offer more transparency and more environmentally friendly-shipping options such as longer delivery windows that provide added efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
Logistics is the new customer experience
As more consumers turn to mobile and online shopping, the pressure is on retailers to get the delivery experience right. Retailers will begin to focus on smaller footprint stores as they turn focus to order pickup and delivery whether that’s in-store, curbside, or at home delivery.
Powered by technology, the online and offline customer experience is becoming one experience
Brands recognize that the customer experience doesn’t stop once a mobile order is placed or when a customer leaves the store. Highly valuable contextual data that captures customer behavior, preferences, demography, location, and more both on- and off-premise will enable marketing to make more actional decisions and deliver a consistent and seamless customer experience whether that’s on a mobile device, in-store, or a combination of both. This is not just a seamless handoff between online and offline, but a full engagement integration at the technical level, ultimately delivering bespoke customer experiences.