5 Retail Trends To Pay Attention To At NRF & In 2023…
The retail space is a fast-paced, fluid industry & the pace at which consumer trends evolve makes it challenging for brands to predict, let alone adapt to. Every year however, the world’s leading brands & retail minds come together at NRF to showcase & discuss the innovations that they think will change the industry over the coming year.
Below are five hot trends that we at Manhattan Associates think you should look out for at NRF & beyond that, throughout the rest of the year too.
The onward march of Digital: blockchain, the Metaverse & social commerce
Among retailers there continues to be an increase in the adoption of blockchain technology. It’s also beginning to appear in the supply chain realm, being used to as a method to create a data trail that can trace a product from source to shelves.
blends physical and virtual worlds to create dynamic new ways for people to interact. Numerous brands including Nike, Vans, Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Forever 21 have already created virtual worlds in Roblox (multiplayer online platform) that allow users to interact with their products.
Globally, social commerce is projected to triple to $1.2 trillion by 2025 according to a study by Accenture. With this in mind, 2023 could well be the year of ‘Social Commerce’ as more retailers create immersive shopping experiences. It’ll be worth checking out the Innovation Lab at NRF where more than 50 companies will be showcasing their vision of what’s in store for the future of retail.
The circular economy & more sustainable fashion
In 2022, plenty of brands launched more sustainability & recycled-material initiatives, including programs to recycle used merchandise (Thread Up recycling initiative with PacSun, Patagonia’s recycled jackets made of plastic fishing lines & Nike’s sustainable running range made from ocean plastics & recycled materials). With consumer interest growing, 2023 will bring more emphasis & impetus for sustainability initiatives throughout the entire retail ecosystem.
Inventory visibility becomes table stakes
The importance of ‘visibility’ will increase and expand to not only include product in motion, but also to product/inventory in the yard and the warehouse. As market volatility continues, shippers will need the ability to react to ongoing disruption in near real-time and knowing exactly where inventory is at any point in time is critical to their success.
According to recent Manhattan research one in four consumers now expect store associates to know stock availability/inventory to be able to serve them effectively. But only 3% of retailers believed that they had an accurate overview of their inventory across their entire network (in-store and online) 100% of the time. Expect retailers to work on closing this inventory visibility gap fast in the New Year or risk losing customer loyalty & dollars.
Store modernization a top priority
The traditional store and its perfunctory function is in for a renaissance in 2023 as they become multi-function spaces, going beyond display and selling, to microfulfilment, returns and even customer service hubs.Expect stores to handle a larger share of online returns as retailers will look for cost optimizations across their supply chains.
Also, as returns see an overall percentage increase, retailers will start increasing the fees/shipping charge associated with returning items bought online, leading to a rise in customers using physical stores for these returns far more.
We can expect Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPIS) as a fulfilment method to continue to increase as well. With retailers optimizing their logistics costs in efforts to maintain margins for online sales, they will find ways to incentivize BOPIS; either by passing on the shipping charge or providing some discounts for BOPIS with the hope that this can reduce their overall shipping costs and increase store footfall at the same time.
An evolving payment landscape
Expect the appetite for cashless payment options, e-wallets and crypto to continue in 2023. As it grows it will be critical for companies to adopt and leverage these new technologies into their in-store and online systems if they are to keep pace with increasingly demanding consumers. As the cost of living crisis really bites in the New Year retailers will look to provide their customers with more flexible payment options. As such we can expect ‘buy now pay later’ features to continue to grow strongly in 2023.