With a new year under way, you may be wondering which retail trends will dominate your store in 2023 — but we’re not talking about faux-leather leggings or lug-sole loafers.
From supply chain disruptions and record inflation to geo-political concerns and economic uncertainty, you have likely experienced a range of challenges that have squeezed your bottom line and forced you to accelerate long-term growth plans. Shifting consumer behavior and the evolution of technology are keeping retailers on their toes, too.
Just as you feel like you’re finally getting the hang of things again, a new year with different fads and changing themes comes along. We’ve all heard the saying “the only constant is change,” but it feels especially on brand for retail right now.
But even with pandemic-period interruptions trying to throw you off course, there’s promise for a successful year ahead — as long as you have the right retail merchant solutions and tech to help you bolster behind-the-scenes operations and meet the moment for your customers.
Let’s dive into our predictions for the top five retail trends in 2023, plus what you can do to keep shoppers engaged and motivated to spend, helping you come out on top by the start of ‘24:
Give customers exactly what they want with hyper-personalized service
From one-on-one service to the option to feel, taste and smell, brick-and-mortar retailers have long known the value of experiences and personalization. Now, ecommerce merchants are figuring out how to replicate this retail experience on-screen to surprise and delight ecommerce shoppers.
Product recommendations, curated collections and advanced profiling systems are just some of the ways the retail industry can attract digital buyers and inspire ongoing loyalty.
At Care/of, for example, health-minded consumers take a quiz to determine which vitamins and supplements can benefit their personal wellness goals. The company uses “science, technology and empathy” to provide its users with a tailored list of nutrients designed to enhance individual lifestyle needs, so one person may get collagen while another might try plant protein.
Nike nailed personalized shopping, too. Through its Nike By You program, shoppers can create custom-designed footwear and get styling tips directly from the brand’s designers.
But even if your company isn’t a multi-billion dollar brand, you can still provide an unforgettable customer experience in-store or online.
Consider how implementing these hyper-personalization tactics into your retail strategy can attract shoppers and benefit your business:
- Make shopping easy for customers with a seamless brand experience across all channels
- Use a customer relationship management system (CRM) built in or integrated with your POS to make tailored recommendations based off purchase history or to gently nudge customers who have lapsed
- Follow up after purchases, advertise on frequently-visited sites and apps and send triggers based on specific behaviors
- Continue captivating customers with targeted promotions, personalized, timely and behavior-based communication and celebrated milestones
Go green with sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives
Another near-requisite for many shoppers today? Retailers that prioritize green products and services alongside fair wages and labor practices. Offering eco-friendly and ethically-made items and outlining your corporate social responsibilities are key for appealing to socially-conscious consumers.
Research also shows 77% of consumers are compelled to make purchases with brands who are “committed to making the world a better place.”
Sustainability has been top of mind for many brands for a while now, including outdoor apparel retailers like Patagonia – who have supported environmental-focused grassroots organizations for nearly 40 years – and REI. Both companies have championed operational transparency and embraced selling pre-owned products to prevent waste. Walmart and lululemon are doing their part, as well, with the launch of programs that offer customers the option to buy previously-owned and gently-used items.
Whether you have an everyday apparel brand or a luxe concept, there are lots of ways you can practice sustainability and play a positive role in your community, including:
- Start a trade-in program for gently-used items where customers can get pre-loved products at a lower price
- Choose a retail POS with real-time data that tracks and manages inventory to limit waste
- Ship orders in environmentally-friendly packaging
- Reconsider promotional items like pens and drink sleeves
- Donate a percentage of profits to organizations whose missions align with yours
As Gen Z – the group most likely to make purchasing decisions based on environmental, political and social principles – gains more buying power, it’s more important than ever to define and enact sustainability and CSR efforts for your brand. Without it, you may not be able to sustain (see what we did there?) your retail business in the long run.
Use social commerce to reach your audience online
So, now you know what your customers want and expect — but what about where they want to shop? In store and online, of course, but think about where consumers spend hours a day: on their phones, toggling back and forth between their favorite social apps.
Between social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Pinterest, shoppers have multiple channels to discover your products and services, discuss and review your offerings and even advocate for your brand.
Shoppable media, which includes social commerce, shoppable posts, live streams (like Amazon Live Creator) and virtual consultations, is going to be huge in 2023 and for the foreseeable future. One source reported that social commerce sales would reach $45.73 billion in 2022, with more than half of adults in the US making a purchase on social media.
As consumers continue using a mix of devices and platforms throughout the buying journey, retailers should:
- Test shoppable posts and videos on Instagram and TikTok
- Integrate your marketing platforms with retail management solutions, like your POS
- Provide the same brand experience at every touch point
- Consider influencer marketing
While social commerce is crucial, some of your customers still crave an in-person retail experience. With synergized UX, sales can be made in store or online.
Bridge the gap between online and offline with interactive UX
As consumers’ COVID precautions wane, some folks are prompting a resurgence of in-store purchases. Still, online shopping — an efficient, convenient way to browse and buy — is here to stay.
Whether shopping in a store or from the couch, customers want shopping to be seamless — with memorable, personalized experiences throughout.
Ideally, the omnichannel customer journey merges the digital and physical spaces to give shoppers a cohesive checkout and brand experience.
To connect the dots between bricks and clicks, use smart tech to meet customers wherever they shop. With a cloud-based POS built for retailers, you can provide an omnichannel experience that benefits you and your customers by:
- Using various system integrations to sync online and offline customer experiences
- Implementing AR (augmented reality) through interactive kiosks, QR code-operated digital displays and virtual shopping apps and plug-ins
- Utilizing livestream shopping to promote new arrivals or recent markdowns
- Accepting payments anywhere, from the cash wrap at your flagship to a pop-up event in a temporary location
As you think about how to offer customers a seamless shopping experience in-store and online, consider what a POS retail management system could do for your business — no matter the sales channel. With the right tools, your business can get access to aggregated data and insights to inform decisions, vendor management solutions to simplify ordering and personalized details about your customers’ needs, wants and next moves to keep them satisfied and coming back.
Make better business decisions with data-driven insights
If the massive disruptions of recent years have taught us anything, it’s that unprecedented times can’t be completely forecasted (who could have predicted the return of the ‘90s-era bucket hat?), so agility (and a commitment to expect the unexpected) is ultra-important.
Analytics can show you exactly how your company is performing and help you decide what move to make next. They make it easier to predict and understand who your customers are, what they want, where and how they shop, what promotions they respond to and how they want to hear from you.
Simply put, data empowers you to grow your profits and strengthen the longevity of your brand. But how do you go about collecting this data?
Point of sale systems like Heartland Retail give you actionable, real-time insights. They make it easy to:
- Run detailed sales reports from anywhere on any device to help with forecasting, buying, staffing and marketing decisions
- Use data-rich dashboards to gather insight about your customers and their shopping behaviors, boosting retention and loyalty
- Collect the data most relevant to your business – from unlimited product attributes to specific marketing promotions – with custom fields
- Track inventory performance and history across all locations and channels
- Calculate ROI
We may not have seen the bucket hat making a comeback, but our solutions can help you determine who will buy one, when to restock ‘em and, well, when to stop (also known as selling off).
As the past few years have shown us, the only guarantee for 2023 is that there will be curveballs. Staying flexible and tech-savvy, though, can certainly help you navigate the next 10 months and beyond.
And while we’re not sure if metallic pants and cargo pants will be in or out this year, we do know you’ll have it in the bag (made from recycled materials, of course) if you prioritize hyper-personalization, sustainability, a hybrid sales model and advanced data reporting initiatives.
You can get started now with a modern retail POS. Contact us today to see how an all-in-one retail management hub can benefit your business.
Disclaimer: All trademarks contained herein are the sole and exclusive property of their respective owners.
Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at heartland.us