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Trend forecasting is an art form that requires analyzing what’s already happened to predict what’s next. Future consumer trends beget much speculation every year — and for good reason: Consumers want to know what the next hottest trend will be, and brands and retailers want to make sure they’re in on the action.
When contemplating 2023’s trends, consider this: In 2022, we saw a record high of 4.95 billion internet users worldwide, accounting for 62.5% of the world’s total population, according to Data Reportal’s “Digital 2022: Global Overview Report.”
It’s safe to say that 2023’s consumer trends will have strong digital elements at their core.
In 2023, consumers’ shopping preferences and trends will evolve in lockstep. But the question is whether a new set of trends or existing trends will take the spotlight.
In an episode of the Digital Shelf Institute’s (DSI) “Unpacking the Digital Shelf” podcast, Peter Crosby, executive director of the DSI, oxymoronically notes that a future trend “can only be a trend if it’s already happening.”
Lauren Livak, director of the DSI, agrees: “What's coming next in commerce? I like to pose it that way specifically because some of these things are not necessarily new trends. They're things that have been around for a really long time but are going to either evolve and/or get a lot more focused next year.”
In 2023, three existing trends will make an even bigger splash: omnichannel commerce, personalization, and social commerce.
Consumers’ omnichannel commerce journeys are nonlinear and hard to predict because today’s shoppers are in charge of their experience from beginning to end.
Salsify’s “Consumer Research 2022” report, for example, found that 68% of U.S. shoppers, 68% of French shoppers, 63% of British shoppers, and 66% of German shoppers planned to shop in-store. More than one-third of surveyed shoppers, however, use their mobile phones while in a brick-and-mortar location.
A vast majority of Australian shoppers (73%) prefer in-store shopping, as well, according to the Adyen “Retail Report 2022.”
Diverting customers’ attention away from their phones will require merging digital and physical experiences. “We’re going to see more digital experiences in brick-and-mortar stores to truly bring omnichannel to life,” Livak says.
“That can look like a screen on a refrigerator in a grocery store or an interactive mirror in a dressing room at a department store,” she adds. “It will bring more ease and convenience to shoppers than ever before.”
Cooler Screens, for example, has expertly married digital and physical by implementing digital freezer and refrigerator screens that showcase product images, prices, and sales in brick-and-mortar stores.
Image Source: Cooler Screens Website
In 2023, consumers will be looking for in-store experiences that make their shopping journey fun, informative, and engaging.
As digital becomes more prevalent in in-store experiences, product data accuracy will become paramount.
Livak notes, “Brands need to have a digital presence, and they need to have their content updated and accurate if [they’re] pulling that in-store. It's even more important to make sure that the brick-and-mortar and the online experience[s] match.”
If you want to seamlessly combine the digital and physical in brick-and-mortar locations, you need to centralize all your data in one place. Eliminating product data silos and improving data accuracy with a product experience management (ProductXM) solution will help you wow customers.
The Complete Guide to Omnichannel Strategy for Commerce
Learn how to create seamless shopping experiences.
Offering excellent product personalization is about more than monogramming products with customers’ initials.
It’s about knowing what they want before they do — taking the guessing game out of their shopping experiences with perfectly curated product offerings based on their preferences, shopping behaviors, and past purchases.
“Personalization is no longer as simple as adding a customer's name to the title of the email. It goes much deeper than that,” Livak says. “Consumers want you to suggest products or brands that they might like based on their purchase history. They don’t want to see irrelevant products or things they aren’t interested in — which can actually turn them off to the brand entirely.”
According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of today’s consumers expect personalized experiences, and 76% get frustrated when they don’t receive interactions tailored to their interests.
Sephora is a perfect example of a retailer taking personalization seriously. The beauty company offers a free Skincare Routine Quiz that matches shoppers with products that will address their unique skincare needs and concerns.
Both the company and consumers benefit from this exchange: Sephora learns more about its customers' needs and wants, and customers gain new routines designed specifically for them.
Image Source: Sephora Website
In 2023, consumers will be looking for a personalized experience that makes them feel understood and catered to.
Brands and retailers can no longer get away with blanket personalization tactics.
“The days when you could blast one ad to everyone are gone,” Livak says. “You really need to segment, and you need to personalize, and you need to make sure that what you're saying is relevant to the person you're saying it to.”
If brands and retailers want to offer winning personalization experiences, they need to be equipped with the right technology, like artificial intelligence (AI), that can tailor emails, products, and marketing campaigns efficiently.
Essential Steps for Building an Ecommerce Personalization Strategy
Gain tips and best practices on mastering customer personalization.
Social commerce has become foundational to the customer buying journey.
Twenty-eight percent of consumers find new products or brands via influencers, and 93% of consumers rely on social media platforms to give them honest reviews of products and services, according to PR Newswire.
Social media has added a new level of convenience for shoppers. On Instagram, for example, they can easily find products they love with the click of a button — and then they can purchase them in-app. They can shop their favorite TikToker’s closet on LTK, or they can organize their online finds on the nate app to purchase later.
Image Source: nate Website
Livak says, “Consumers are discovering and buying products in different ways than before. That includes social commerce, which provides inspiration from influencers and peers and provides a level of trust and credibility that you don’t find on other channels.”
While livestreaming hasn’t quite entered the picture in the U.S., apps like TikTok, Youtube, and Instagram offer the next best thing for the curious consumer.
In 2023, consumers will be looking for convenience in their social commerce shopping experiences.
Brands and retailers that want to jump on the social commerce bandwagon need to be willing to try new things.
“Consumers have begun to expect multiple buying options and quick delivery, which is becoming increasingly challenging with supply chain issues and demands on the bottom line,” says Livak. “I think we will see more retailers get creative around how to bring consumers into the store that can provide them with a new experience.”
Partnering with influencers who can vouch for your products or services is an excellent way to increase trustworthiness and make your company a household name.
The Social Commerce Crash Course for Brands
Learn how you use an excellent social commerce strategy to win consumers over in new ways.
The ever-changing commerce landscape can be difficult to navigate, leaving brands and retailers unsure of what to expect next in regard to trends, technology, and consumer preferences.
Staying on top of omnichannel, personalization, and social commerce trends will cement your place at the top of the competition in 2023.
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