There can, of course, never be any definitive verdict on what retail will look like in another six months or a year from now.
Nonetheless, if your brand wishes to put together the most compelling and relev retail experiences, you will at least want to have a broad sense of the developments that are transforming and evolving the sector – and which will therefore have implications for many years to come.
With no further ado, then, let’s take a closer look at some of the trends that we
anticipate will make themselves strongly felt in retail over the next 12 months.
Consumers will continue to appreciate offline shopping
Far from the predictions made by some observers that consumers forced to shop principally online due to COVID-19-related lockdowns would simply keep on doing so once such restrictions were over, there has been evidence lately of retail enthusiasts heading in great numbers to brick-and-mortar outlets once more.
A cooling in ecommerce growth over the past year, as well as the decisions made by a number of major brands to invest in physical premises, is a combination that suggests customers enjoy the diverse, convenient, and stimulating shopping journey that both online and offline channels afford them.
So, if there is one thing we would advise your brand against doing in its formulation of its 2023 retail plans, it is dismissing brick-and-mortar stores as a mere irrelevance of the past.
The lines will keep on blurring between retail and non-retail spaces
It might seem at times as if we are in the era of “hybrid everything”. And yes, this is very much in evidence in the relationship between retail stores and the spaces that one might not have previously considered to be “retail”.
The notion of a retail store being just a retail store is becoming increasingly outdated. Ever-more often today, locations that were previously “retail-only” are embraci
ng elements such as event spaces, services, and even coffee shops on the same premises.
There is now a much greater emphasis on making an all-round experiential destination out of a retail site than was the case five or 10 years ago, and we can expect this tendency to intensify throughout 2023 and beyond.
It is, of course, a dynamic that also applies in the other direction. Many spas and salons, for instance, have taken the opportunity to sell beauty products on-site or explore the wider range of possibilities of technologically driven pop-up vending.
Customers will increasingly expect an experiential emphasis in retail
Picking up on the theme of the above, it is important to remember that the products your brand offers might be much like those available in other retail stores. The experiences that your retail spaces are able to provide, beyond the products on the shelves, could therefore be key to your efforts to stand out from your competitors, in ways that matter to your target audiences.
The term “experiential retail” refers to a marketing strategy that does not treat retail spaces as mere storehouses for inventory. Instead, it centres on the cultivation of impactful, relevant and memorable in-store experiences, which can greatly help drive awareness, value, and customer loyalty.
As we see a resurgence in brick-and-mortar retail after the pandemic, your brand should not simply look to give its visitors something closely resembling what customers might have last seen in 2019 or early 2020.
Whether those experiences take the form of in-store classes, events, immersive uses of technology, or innovative store design – to cite some of the possibilities – your brand will find it increasingly difficult to avoid acknowledging the power and relevance of experiential marketing in 2023.
Are you ready to begin exploring that power and relevance, and how it would apply to your organisation’s circumstances and ambitions in the New Year? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to our skilled and experienced team.