Shop-life will never be the same again. From aggregated online and in-store data to the slick personalization it enables – from browsing by phone while in bed to the oh-so-easy digital receipt… shopping has become an omnichannel, ever-present experience, and stores are forever changed by it.
Obviously, the retail sector has been profoundly impacted by technology and changing consumer behavior, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. When the world shifted, so did people’s purchasing patterns and expectations. And 2023 is seeing the trends from these critical previous years – along with retail’s natural evolution – come into full bloom. So, what’s in store for the store?
Here are some of the biggest trends to keep an eye on:
By channeling AI and machine learning, retail stores are providing customers with personalized shopping experiences. They can set up interactive kiosks to answer questions, provide product information and give price-checks. They’re able to offer personalized suggestions of, say, the desired shoes at the customer’s exact size and price. And with a platform like Weezmo, they can provide AI-powered customer service and marketing automation as follow-up to a transaction. This lets them retailers sure that everything customers experience, even post-purchase, is tailored to their particular history and natural patterns. Identifying customers and then optimizing their campaigns sets the stage for future purchasing and loyalty.
Contactless and Cashless Transactions
Today, everyone is rushing, running, and impatient. A transaction that involves counting out actual cash can seem wildly archaic and frustrating to a customer expecting everything to just stream. That’s why contactless and cashless transactions exactly meet the needs of these times, creating a quicker and more convenient shopping experience. This includes integrating mobile payment systems, digital wallets, and biometrics which offer speed and ease of use for customers – and these in turn ensure they are satisfied and come back to buy more.
Nothing kills the buzz of a great purchase as much as learning it was produced by slave labor or a downed forest. Customers want to know that the brands they support value what they prioritize – especially when it comes to the environment and labor. ‘The Green Shift’ means that brands are aligning themselves with sustainability, fair trade practices, and ethical sourcing. Initiatives like zero waste shops, product transparency, and sustainable packaging go a long way to making customers feel like they and their favorite brand are ethically on the same page. Even regulation itself more and more around the world requires a digital receipt, instead of a paper receipt. As of 2023, Weezmo has produced more than 60 million digital receipts, saving over 86 tons of paper and close to 2,100 trees – with truly compelling impact!
Powerful Experiences in Retail
Sometimes, retail itself is not enough. Stores are tapping into the power of experience to create customer connection with it. So, a retail outlet may be transformed into a unique and immersive destination, or periodically reinvent their showroom around a theme to become a must-see spot. A store may incorporate a treasure hunt, host an in-store event like a class or workshop, or provide AR-enabled trial rooms for virtual product tours in the metaverse. Since online shopping offers so much more in convenience, retail stores are beefing up the one thing they do have over it – real life.
Merging Online and Offline
There is no doubt that worlds are merging. Online blurs into offline blurs into online…and the merge enables creating a fully personalized customer journey. Nothing really exists in a vacuum anymore as customers want to be able to move seamlessly between all the variations of physical and virtual. Buy-online-pick-up-in-store service and in-store digital interfaces are a recognition of this merger. Which is why retail stores are syncing their online and in-store data with a platform like Weezmo. Its insights from the customer purchase can help design the customer’s in-store experience, to provide a consistent and seamless journey for customers, in-store and after purchase.
Smart Stores and IoT
Inevitably, store themselves are being fundamentally transformed by the Internet of Things. Smart shelves, automated checkout, interactive dressing rooms, and real-time inventory management ensure the most seamless experience possible. Customers navigate comfortably through stores that mirror the rest of their tech-driven lives.
Ultimately, in-store shopping isn’t going anywhere. Especially post-pandemic, it’s here to stay, with 20% of purchases happening online, as opposed to the 50% happening in-store. All these trends are just reshaping its landscape in 2023. And in order to stay competitive and relevant, retailers must adapt to these changes thoughtfully and effectively straddle the online and offline realities. One smart way to close the gap is to use the Weezmo platform. Not only does this AI solution reduce costs and increase revenue, but its marketing automation connects online and in-store data, targets campaign and service to customer interests… and, in a nod to the green shift, can even replace the paper receipt by seamlessly sending one to the customer’s phone! So, what’s in store for the store? Still in-store – but with a platform like Weezmo to engage with the full picture.