Trends that are going to be important in retail in 2022
No doubt, the last 1.5 years were particularly challenging for the retail industry. Unprecedented situations caused the industry to quickly change and adapt to meet changing consumer demand. Store closures led to a tremendous increase in e-commerce and retailers were trying to provide the best consumer experiences as possible.
In 2021, with the increase in vaccinations and less restrictions, consumers started visiting stores again. The buying behavior has changed though. Having experienced the convenience of online shopping, consumers are now expecting the same personalized experience in offline channels. 2022 will be a crucial year for retailers as they quickly must adapt to the changing consumer behavior and expectations as well as transform business operations to provide a safe, sustainable, and personalized experience with a reliable supply chain.
Following trends will be key in 2022
• Seamless Online & Offline Experience – Shoppers First Mindset
Some consumers will keep shopping online, some consumers missed the in-store experience so much that they will solely shop in stores again, some will do a hybrid version of online and offline shopping. Regardless of what channel the consumers interact with a retail brand, the experience has to be the same. Whatever channel the consumers decide is most suitable for them, the retailers have to make sure to meet those demands in the most frictionless way possible.
• Utilize Data to Provide a Personal Experience
Collecting data to provide the best personal experience with individualized offers and promotions should utilized to create personalized brand experiences and increase sales. Through capturing data about every aspect of the online and offline buying retailers can create targeted campaigns, offers, promotions, as well as customized products to provide an individualized buying experience for every consumer.
Retail operations has to adapt to the new consumer expectations to make the shopping experience as convenient as possible. Every barrier that stands between the consumer and the purchase of a product needs to be eliminated. This includes easy shipping and returns, quick delivery, in-store pick-up and drop-off, as well as making it easy to find and check out items in online and offline channels. In offline channels, contactless payments through one-click payments or mobile payment models will avoid having to wait in line at the checkout counter and will speed up sales processing.
Sustainability is currently one of the hot topics in the business world. For a good reason as it helps the environment and businesses. Sixty percent of online adults in France, 49% in the UK, and 41% in the US prefer to buy environmentally sustainable products. The usage of blockchains allow the consumer to easily gain information about the supply chain of products. It shows where the item is from, what it is made of, and that the item was produced ethically and sustainable, including the amount of Co2 emissions involved in its supply chain. Additionally, circularity is also gaining importance. Some retailers offer buyback programs and sell used items that are still in great condition. Others invent products that are designed with reuse in mind. Thrift shops and secondhand stores become more popular as they offer unique, fashionable, and less expensive items. Plus, they provide a fun experience as consumers are trying to find a bargain or special item.
Source : https://www.forrester.com/Forrester+Analytics+Consumer+Technographics+Retail+Recontact+Survey+2021/-/E-sus6632
• Strong Supply Chain
2021 has shown us how important it is to have a strong and reliable supply chain. Being on back order and not being able to supply the consumer with products hurt the business and the reputation of the brand. Having a complex supply chain does not allow any interruptions. Retailers might have to re-think their operations to guarantee a steady flow of supply. Furthermore, to support the sustainability efforts, having transparency in the supply chain will help increase sales.
• Experimental Retail Experience
With a strong online retail channel, consumers can simply order products online, especially if they already know what they want to buy. Retailers need to provide additional benefits to increase the foot traffic in offline channels. Interactive flagship stores that provide a unique experience with the brand attract consumers by showing what the brand stands for and what the brand has to offer. Plenty of technologies can be used to make a visit to the store memorable. Digital in-store, smart services and connecting channels makes product presentation and interaction enjoyable. Flagship stores will evolve as a place to socialize and experience the brand in unique way.
With a shoppers first mindset, now is the time to invest in the right technology and re-think and re-structure operations to meet the changed consumer demand and expectations. Consumers are now more knowledgeable and have clear expectations what retailers need to offer. Once those expectations are met, the brand loyalty is high. Reach out to our experts to find out more about how we can help you!