A lot has been said and written about traditional retail in the past years. 2023 will undoubtedly bring more changes to the retail sector. But one thing is for sure, traditional retail is not dead. Even stronger, retail companies that manage to adapt themselves right in the coming years have a bright future ahead of them. How exactly? We asked our CEO Leslie for her view on the matter.
The return of the human touch
Customer behavior has obviously changed. Consumers don’t necessarily want to visit the very big shop floors anymore. After COVID and a strong increase in digitization, customers crave closeness, a human touch, and personal service. If organizations can meet these needs by applying intelligent digital solutions, they’re ahead of their competition to be a real winning organization.
All about experience
It's not just about “bigger, better, bolder” anymore. Nowadays, retailers need to focus on better, more personalized, and immersive experiences. Instead of increasing in-store offering, we’ll see a better-curated offer that services your customers' exact needs. Compared to the vast and often overwhelming offer in online stores, curated offers are an outstanding service in itself.
While physical store visits have increased drastically, not every store has reached the same level of visits as in pre-COVID times yet. Consumers still tend to go less to physical stores. And when they do, they often focus on leisure instead of functional shopping. Consequently, retail stores need to think about inspiring their customers and creating experiences, and less about displaying as many products as possible to purchase.
Mind the customer journey
Secondly, this also means that retailers need to think more about the full buying journey of their customers. Consumers might see one of your products online but will continue to buy it in-store. Or they might visit your store to be inspired, and finally buy items online because it’s more convenient. Both channels need to be intertwined in an intelligent way.
The times they are a-changing
These trends will make shifts in the management of retail companies necessary. A true understanding of the customer and his or her needs is imperative. Knowledge of how your online and offline processes are helping or blocking the customer will be important. Especially when transitioning from a pure selling products point of view to a more immersive point of view.
Want to receive more insights on retail in 2023? Download our 'CX Trends in Retail' report!