As a result of the pandemic retail digital transformation is accelerating. The latest retail innovations are all about eCommerce and brands need to evolve their online offering to stay competitive. Luckily we've got 12 retail trends that will help your business stand out.
Top 12 retail innovations shaping eCommerce
2021 saw the growth of AR experiences and influencer marketing while the coming year is likely to see advancements in social commerce AI technology and quick commerce.
Let's take a look at all the top retail trends for 2022.
1. Omnichannel experiences
In 2021 Amazon attracted 50% of all eCommerce sales. Other industry leaders like eBay Rakuten AliExpress Walmart and Etsy own a sizable section of the market too. So it's no wonder brands are selling their products across multiple retail sites and marketplaces.
However consumers have come to expect integrated experiences across these platforms. But 78% of retailers still don't provide unified experiences.
That's why 2023 will see online brands adapting an omnichannel approach to their sales channels. Throught he use of Where to Buy solutions digital shelf tools centralised help desks, and a variety of other tools consumers will be able to cross between channels seamlessly.
2. Greater adoption of DTC channels
The growth of direct-to-consumer brands slowed in recent years. But then the pandemic changed how we shop.
As supply chains stalled and stores closed DTC businesses were well-positioned to take advantage of the online shopping surge. In 2020 DTC sales in the US grew by 45.5%. That's twice as much as previously predicted.
While growth is expected to slow to 20% this year the recent boost to the sector along with steadily increasing sales means it will remain an attractive option for brands. Not only will this allow them to reach customers directly but it will also empower them to collect first-party data - which will be extremely valuable in the cookieless world that 2023 presents.
3. AI driven assistance
As a result of the pandemic in-person interactions were limited. However brands leaned into retail innovations to add a personal touch to the online customer experience.
With the help of smart product recommendations custom search results shopping assistants and other automated merchandising brands seamlessly directed customers toward suitable products. Many online stores even stepped up the use of AI-powered chatbots and virtual try-ons.
By embracing AI retail brands can transform customer data into memorable experiences that meaningfully impact sales. We expect this to be one of the biggest retail innovations in 2023.
4. Voice commerce SEO
With people spending more time at home the popularity of smart speakers has surged. A massive50% of UK adultsnow own one. (That figure stood at just 20% back in 2019.) Similarly ownership in the US jumped from 24% to 32%over the past year.
With this in mind there is no doubt that voice searchwill play a key role in the future of retail. In 2023 brands can expect to see more shoppers check out without ever looking at a screen - especially on Amazon. In fact by 2024 it is anticipated that54% of shopperswill be doing this.
By focusing on voice SEO stores can benefit from a boost in traffic and conversions.
5. eCommerce sustainability
50% of consumersbelieve they are more eco-friendly than when the pandemic began. And it would appear that this desire to go green is impacting their purchases. Recent research indicates that41% of US consumersactively seek out brands with strong social and environmental values.
So how will brands adapt? According to PwC around half of consumers want sustainable products environmentally friendly packaging and less plastic.
Sustainability has never been more important to shoppers so brands need toprioritiseit fast. In 2023 this will be one of the leading retail industry trends across all sectors.
Although it's been around a whileeCommerce personalisationis continually evolving. 2023 will see brands improvepersonalisedexperiences by focusing on psychographic profiling as well as shoppingbehaviour.
Algorithms can nowanalysea visitor'sbehaviourto determine their personality. Some stores also use quizzes to gather this kind of information. In fact for online styling services like Stitch Fix this is central to their product offering.
In 2022 content and product recommendations will look beyond past purchases to reflect shoppers' personalities.
7. Further adoption of social commerce
In 2021 an estimated35.9% of US consumersmade a purchase through social media. When you consider the new features added acrossTikTok Snapchat and Facebook it's no wondersocial commerceis on the rise.
In 2023 more brands will sell directly through social media. But there will be new retail innovations in this area too. Most notably retailers are likely to start selling on Twitter.
Throughout 2021 the companyhas been developingshoppable posts Buy buttons product pages and other shopping features. It's only a matter of time before they launch.
8. Brand identities on Amazon
Amazon was once notorious for making brand building difficult. But this is quickly changing.
Over the years Amazon has introduced a bunch of tools for brands including storefrontsA+ contentand Amazon Live. Just recently it announcedBrand MetricsandAmazon Brand Lifttoo. It is also expanding where brands can appear on the marketplace and introducing a feature that allows customers to follow theirfavouritesellers.
The marketplace will continue to develop tools targeted at members of theAmazon Brand Registryand we anticipate that brands will start to seriously invest in their presence on the site.
9. Stores will introduce experiential retail
With the recent rise of eCommerce retailers need to give shoppers a reason to visit their local stores. That's why experiential retail is one of the key retail trends for 2023.
By providing unique in-store experiences retailers can get shoppers through the door and stand apart from the competitors. Nike for example offers a basketball court and fitness classes at its flagship store. While Vans' latest location is also an art gallery.
When done right these experiences should boost sales and build brand loyalty. This is what the future of retail holds for brick-and-mortar locations.
10. Shoppable livestreams
Shoppable contentis everywhere lately but livestream shopping is set to get much bigger in 2023. That's because it has become a key focus for social media giants such as Instagram and Facebook.
They're all running shoppable streams with the help of well-known content creators. Plus Pinterest just launched its livestream shopping feature while YouTube announced that its livestream shopping is now available to all brands.
A number of other media companies including Comcast have plans to launch their own shoppable livestream channels. So there is no doubt that this will be one of the biggest retail innovations for 2023.
11. Quick commerce
Customer expectations are constantly growing - especially when it comes to shipping. That's whyquick commercewill be big in 2023.
This superfast delivery method is on the rise thanks to services like Instacart Deliveroo andUberEats which drop off groceries in less than an hour. In China companies also use their own warehouses to deliver highly perishable foods like seafood in under an hour.
But quick commerce isn't just for groceries. Tech store Currys istrialling30-minute deliveries in London while Amazon Prime Air uses drones to offer quick commerce in the US.
12. Supply chain transformation
The growing demand for omnichannel retail and quick commerce means supply chains will need to make major adjustments to keep up with current retail trends.
As a result we'll see greater adoption of efficient cloud technology and eCommerce automation. In light of staff shortages automated storage and retrieval will be key. In fact the market is setto doublein size by 2025. AsUPSandWalmartbegin to roll out self-driving trucks 2023 will also be a key year for automated vehicles.
Finally thanks to mounting public pressure cutting emissions is also central to the future of retail logistics. In the coming year companies will drive sustainability through smarter vehicle assignments.
All these retail innovations are simply responses to emerging consumer needs. The future of retail is about much more than convenience. Brands also need to put personalisation memorable shopping experiences and social responsibility at the heart of their strategies.