In the world of retail, new trends are constantly emerging and evolving, changing how businesses interact with consumers, what products they keep in stock, and even new digital services they need to work into their business model.
With so many trends to keep track of and consumer demands ever-changing, it can be a challenge for retailers to keep up.
While forecasting what consumers will do in the upcoming months and years can be as fickle as accurately predicting the weather, there are a few solid data points that define major trends—you just have to know where to find them.
Luckily, we've done the digging for you so you don't have to. In this article, we'll cover the top five retail industry trends to watch and how a tool like Clientbook can help you stay on top of them.
Five retail trends to watch in today's market
1. E-commerce will be more and more supported by the in-store experience
This first one will likely come as no surprise, but online experiences and digital commerce solutions are going to continue to increase in popularity. However, online shopping isn't out to entirely replace brick-and-mortar retail experiences.
The pandemic taught us that while today's shoppers love the convenience of impulse shopping in their pajamas, humans also need to be around people. Those two needs for both convenience and in-person experiences will come together in hybrid form, and early data is proving that to be the case.
CI&T's 2023 Connected Retail Report found that U.S. consumers are shopping digital and physical channels at almost identical rates (48% vs. 52%). What's more, consumer expectations for the quality of the shopping experience is also the same across brick-and-mortar stores and digital channels.
This is why offering omnichannel experiences is so crucial. So be ready to provide products, customer service, support, and payments online, but also to demonstrate products in your physical store.
Whether a client comes into your physical location to try on a few items, or finds their accessories virtually, they'll still love a retail sales associate validating their selection.
2. Hyper-personalization will become the norm
Next, while offering personalized experiences used to be considered a nicety that shows you're going the extra mile for your client, personalization is now becoming a basic customer expectation.
In a 2023 Consumer Trends Index Report by Marigold, 79% of consumers surveyed stated that they like recommendations based on past purchases and almost half report feeling frustration when they receive irrelevant content or offers.
The demands for personalized customer experiences and offers will only increase over time, and the retail stores that are good at it will be the ones that thrive.
3. Technology will continue to optimize the retail industry
Another trend for retailers to pay close attention to is the emergence of retail technology tools. In some cases, this technology will serve as a supplement to help streamline practices you're already doing, such as a client management software or a retail CRM to keep track of your clients.
In other cases, this technology will serve as a replacement for manual habits. For example, we saw Apple do this in their stores by replacing the standard cash register and checkout lines with sales associates closing sales on the floor with iPhones.
To stay ahead, business owners need to embrace digital experiences like these so they can elevate the shopping experience for their customers and optimize their own internal business practices.
4. Consumer spending by the younger generations will increase
Another major driver of change in retail sales is the younger generations taking over more of the market. With so many retailers offering a virtual space for users to shop—whether that's a website, app, or social media shop—today's teens and young adults have easier and earlier access to the products they want to buy than the generations before them ever did.
This makes watching the shopping habits of Millennials, Gen Z, and even Gen Alpha crucial for retail owners, especially in the luxury space. Bain & Company reports that Millennials and Gen Zers accounted for all of the luxury market’s growth in 2022, and spending by Gen Z and Gen Alpha is expected to make up a third of the luxury market through 2030.
So if you're not already actively marketing to a younger audience, it may be time to adjust your business strategy to make the most of these newest generations' spending power.
5. Consumers will increasingly expect excellence from retail sales associates
Finally, given that today's consumers have so many options for their shopping—both in-store and online—it's critical for retail sales associates to be experts in their industry, on their products, and on their customers. Otherwise, your customers will shop elsewhere.
According to data reported by Zippia, 91% of U.S. customers are willing to switch to a competitor after just one bad customer service experience. On the flip side, 93% of customers are likely to shop with a company again after experiencing excellent customer service.
This data proves that the margin for error for sales associates is slim, making even first impressions an essential part of the customer journey. Training your sales associates to implement basic relationship selling techniques is key to acquiring and retaining loyal clients in today's market.
How Clientbook can help you stay ahead of top retail trends
If you're not sure where to start when it comes to implementing changes to stay ahead of the times, remember that you don't have to tackle it all at once, or all on your own for that matter.
Clienteling software like Clientbook can help you implement retail technology at your business, better connect with your customers, and even track your sales team's progress. Take a free virtual tour to get a first-hand look at how our software works.
While it might seem nice to simply peer into a crystal ball to view the future of consumer behavior, luckily, you don't have to be psychic to stay on top of retail industry trends. By following the insights in this article, you'll be well on your way to preparing your retail business for whatever this year has to offer.
If you're ready to see how Clientbook can help you get there, schedule a demo today.