To effectively compete in the next challenging phase of retail, we explore trends in the future of the physical and digital landscape, bringing you the four major areas to watch for in 2022.
With COVID-19 still looming and the supply chain crisis predicted to continue into the new year, 2022 will be anything but smooth sailing. You're going to need all the help you can get.
Market and enterprise intelligence will be paramount to navigating brand success, allowing you to analyze the competition, optimize your business, and automate system improvements.
Start the new year on top. Reach out for a free demo to see how EDITED can make 2022 easier and more profitable.
EDITED's key takeaways
- In 2022, omnichannel strategies need to be all-encompassing to be successful. Retailers need to take a hybrid approach and embrace shopping across all channels, including social commerce and livestreaming. Brick-and-mortar spaces need to be reimagined to support ecommerce purchases by investing in experiential retail.
- If retailers aren't thinking about their role in the Metaverse, they're already behind the curve. NFT technology has proven successful for retailers like Burberry, where its instant sell out Digital Blankos Block Party collectible generated $225,000 in sales within 30 seconds of launching. As 5G coverage becomes more widespread, AR and VR will see a more mainstream application.
- With supply chain issues expected to bleed well into 2022, retailers must focus on avoiding clogs to logistics. Minimizing returns with click and collect and sizing technologies will be crucial. At the same time, investment into a new workforce will enable more local manufacturing to take place and limit reliance on offshore production.
- The traditional store and highstreet must be reimagined to fit with the changing lifestyles of consumers. The donut effect will be long-lasting as space and value for money are valued over city center living. Downsize to smaller retail spaces where community and shopping local are celebrated, or blur the lines between work and leisure as remote working presents opportunities for a new type of retail space.
The pandemic and digital innovation have accelerated eccomerce and mobile shopping, where most purchases take place. However, businesses that implement omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater YoY customer retention rates than those that don't, underscoring the importance of seamless, hybrid services for 2022 and beyond.
Brick-and-mortar's new role
Although traditional shopfronts have experienced volatility throughout the dot com boom and COVID-19, they'll remain a permanent fixture in the future of modern retail. The physical store is still necessary to interact with
products and offer a unique experience, something 64% of consumers value over price and are willing to pay 16% more for. Businesses that will succeed in 2022 will reimagine their brick-and-mortar spaces into showrooms or offer experiential retail.
Look to Hermès introducing workout classes and DICK's Sporting Goods House of Sport concept, which includes a rock-climbing wall and a putting green. Instead of purely fulfilling online orders, stores need to evolve to support ecommerce for customer research and procurement. Seamless curbside pickup, buy-online, pick-up-in-store (BOPIS), as well as inter-store transfers or direct shipping from stores will remain expected services. Retailers also need to offer more flexible payment options to help alleviate in-store traffic, especially during peak holiday periods - exploring RFID tags for self check-out or mobile payment options.
Integrate alternative channels
Six in ten Gen Zs will do their holiday shopping using alternative methods, signaling retailers to get creative across mediums and add a unique layer to digital strategies. YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook have introduced shoppable live streaming over Christmas, while Estée Lauder-owned brands have partnered with Uber to ship directly to customers. Marrying pop culture and commerce, select luxury products appearing in the second season of Emily In Paris will be made shoppable via Netflix and Saks, expected to reach a global audience of over 58mn viewers in the first month based on season one.
Instagram Where'd You Get That Campaign
Leverage and personalize customer data
To better understand and cater to your consumers' shopping preferences, retailers need to explore options outside of the data available on their social media profiles. AI and machine learning are emerging as the future of delivering a personalized experience by creating a customer genome through collecting extensive data in real-time. Investing in smarter, conversational AI over standard chatbots can help remove friction points that may have caused shoppers to abandon their purchases, advising in key times to shop in-store, when certain products are restocked, and when a customer requires human assistance.
The digital Metaverse
The Metaverse is a virtual space where people can game, work and communicate, and it's becoming more connected to the real world. Facebook is planning to hire 10,000 people across Europe to help develop it and several fashion brands have already dabbled in supporting technology, making the time ripe to get on board.
NFT & gaming
Non-fungible tokens have been shaking up major industries across 2021, often executed hand-in-hand with gaming. In fashion, luxury brands like Balenciaga, Burberry and Louis Vuitton are leading, introducing new product categories of collectibles or wearables for Fortnite, Blankos Block Party and League of Legends. This creates ownership within the ever-expanding digital playground, which has emerged as an essential selling space, especially for Gen Z. Digital fashion is becoming more realized as retailers leverage it to reduce the number of physical goods produced. NFT technology can also be tapped to improve authentication and transparency and power cryptocurrency adaption as consumers look to pay for digital assets with digital tender.
Burberry's Sharky B For Blanko's Block Party
Spurred on by the abandonment of cash payments during COVID, cryptocurrency is starting to play a more significant role in retail. This year, Philipp Plein and PacSun began accepting Bitcoin and other cryptos as a payment option, proving its reach across luxury and mass market brands. While high transaction fees have initially deterred customers from purchasing, greater adaption and innovation will gradually remove this barrier, making it a viable option even for low-cost goods. With only a downloadable coin wallet and a QR code needed, the setup is easy to implement across physical and online shops. TikTok is becoming a hotbed for learning how to invest in crypto, pointing retailers in the direction of
Gen Z to attract and help educate others on this new form of payment.
Philipp Plein Crypto
The boom of high-tech processes and experiences that sit within the Metaverse is all due to 5G technology, which can enhance and support AR and VR applications as well as in-store and online customer services. It can also improve personalization by delivering inventory and location information more quickly to customers and provide immersive on-site training for employees.
Supply chain efficiency
With no quick-fix solution available to solve the ongoing issues plaguing the industry, retailers must manage logistics effectively in 2022 to keep consumers happy and revenue flowing.
Click and collect
Investing in this service can offer some much-needed respite on your delivery systems. Not only can it save up to 28% of total transportation costs, it gives retailers a chance to reduce their return rate by making sure that customers are happy with their order before leaving the store. How to get this right? Promotion is vital so your shoppers know it's an option. Opt for a slow rollout to alleviate teething problems and display live stock levels to save your customers time. Zara's latest in-store mode release in the app lets shoppers collect items within 30 minutes, thanks to real-time stock levels, and book a fitting room to try the purchased items. There is also the option to click and find to see the item in store before they buy.
Zara Store Mode
Retailers must utilize AI and AR tools in the future to nail sizing and crackdown on the billions of dollars wasted on returns. Not only does sending an item back disrupt the supply chain, but over-ordering due to a lack of trust in sizing leads to large quantities of stock held up in the return process instead of being available to purchase. This will be even more detrimental moving forward as new stock faces delays. Look to companies like MySize and True Fit® that are leading the way in technology-driven solutions. Simplicity is key - if you want your customers to use it, it must be easy and integrate seamlessly with your online platform.
These can act as an effective stopgap while waiting for delayed stock to
arrive but still allow retailers to continue generating revenue. Brands like KITRI and Telfar have already demonstrated their effectiveness and prove that having a more precise gauge on demand prevents over-ordering, minimizes waste and can generate hype for a collection. Top tip - only accept orders you can deliver and be clear with your customers when they can expect delivery. Shoppers will be understanding if they are kept in the loop on their orders.
Saks Fifth Avenue Email US - Nov 2, 2021
Nearshoring will create a more robust ecosystem of suppliers closer to where you are located, ensuring a more controllable supply chain with reduced lead times. By 2025, the fourth industrial revolution is expected to create up to £3.7tn of incremental value for manufacturers worldwide. To claim a stake, time and effort must be invested to implement this change. Training new workers and upskilling existing employees are essential in the effort to stay local and avoid reliance on offshore manufacturing.
The new high street
The pandemic pushed consumers across the globe to migrate out of city centers, adopt a hybrid work schedule or fully work-from-home. Retail needs to follow.
Move bricks-and-mortar to the suburbs
To address the donut effect, one-in-five retailers are planning to move stores out of major city centers and into local high streets within the next 12 months, as 63% of consumers claim they will shop more locally. The neighborhood store can help forge local connections with your consumers and save on rental costs. Opt for smaller stores with a clear concept.
A new remote working space
With demand for remote working spaces on the rise, Selfridges recently announced plans for a 45,000sq ft commercial space opposite its flagship
Oxford Street store. Similarly, shopping center, Westfield London, has submitted plans to turn a part of the unit currently being used by House of Fraser into a WeWork-style office space. Both these ventures will help boost footfall and open the gateway to transforming the traditional retail store.