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Peering into 2024: Recent trends in retailing
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Peering into 2024: Recent trends in retailing

Saanika Budhiraja
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The world of retail is a dynamic and ever-changing realm, where trends and consumer preferences shift faster than you can say "checkout." In this fast-paced industry, staying updated with recent trends in retailing is an absolute necessity. Imagine your business as a ship sailing through turbulent waters; without knowledge of the latest trends, you risk getting lost in the storm and swamped by the waves. 

As we look ahead to retail and eCommerce trends in 2024, it's evident that they will reshape how consumers shop and for businesses, adapting to these changes is key to staying competitive and profitable.

2024 Retail Forecast: Building on 2023 Trends

Let's set our sights on the crystal ball of retail and peer into the future - specifically, the retail forecast for 2024 and how the ripple effects from 2023 are going to shape the retail landscape.

Let's take a quick glimpse into the retail forecast for 2024:

eCommerce on the rise - eMarketer forecasts that eCommerce will not only grow but also outpace overall retail growth globally from 2024 to 2027.

Challenges amidst growth - The Consumer Goods and Retail Outlook for 2024 predicts global online sales growth, but businesses may face challenges such as profitability issues, regulatory pressures, and potential impacts on the job market.

Inflation's Influence: In 2024, we're expecting retail sales to get a boost of 6.7% and a 2% bump in actual sales volume but data from Q3 2023 shows a "consumption binge," which could deplete households' excess liquidity in 2024.

Supply chains: In 2024, supply chains are likely to battle with challenges like war, geopolitics, and labour shortages. But here's the silver lining: supply chain resiliency is growing. Artificial intelligence is proving to be vital in enhancing demand forecasting, inventory management and adaptability to market fluctuations. Technological advancements, improved communication, sustainability initiatives and shorter supply routes are contributing to a positive trajectory.

In the grand scheme of things, eCommerce is poised to continue its ascent. By implementing a growth-focused and profit-margin-oriented strategy, coupled with the right tech tools, you can keep costs in check while prioritising customer retention and maximising their lifetime value. 

Now, let's dive deeper into the heart of the matter - the retail trends that will shape 2024 and beyond.

Retail Trends in 2024

As we peer into the future, it becomes crystal clear that recent trends in retailing like AI and social commerce are now driving a significant transformation in the retail landscape. What once were emerging retail trends in 2023, have now become the new norm for countless online businesses. We've witnessed the lines blur between online and in-store shopping, and consumers have become more focused on seeking immersive experiences. As we look ahead to eCommerce trends in 2024, it's evident that they will reshape the way consumers shop, and for businesses, adapting to these changes is the key to staying competitive

AI in Online Shopping

AI is a real game-changer that's shaking up the retail industry. One of the most thrilling advancements is how AI is transforming the way we personalise the online shopping experience.

Imagine this: With the help of AI, every page on an eCommerce website can be customised to cater to each visitor's unique preferences and needs. This tailored journey not only converts more customers but also boosts the chances of them coming back for more. In the long run, it's a win-win, as it not only improves the shopping experience but also cuts down on costs.

Boosting Sales with In-Cart Upsell and Cross-Sell

As acquisition costs soar, retailers are embracing in-cart upsell and cross-sell strategies. When executed effectively, these tactics can substantially boost the average purchase value. Picture this: just as your customer is about to check out, the system suggests complementary products. The result? You increase the average basket size while reducing the chances of your shopper abandoning their cart. It's a win-win for both you and your customers.

An example of a recent trend in retailing is intelligent in-cart cross-sell on Schuh.co.uk.
An example of a recent trend in retailing is intelligent in-cart cross-sell on Schuh.co.uk

Enhancing Customer Experiences with Personalised Unboxing

A recent trend in eCommerce, the unboxing experience has become super important in creating lasting memories. Personalised unboxing adds that special touch to the customer journey. By including personalized QR codes and discount codes in each package, you can boost your customer's lifetime value and bring them back for more.

An example of personalised unboxing to encourage return customers
An example of personalised unboxing to encourage return customers

Reducing Returns in the World of Online Shopping

Excessive returns can be a headache for eCommerce businesses, often caused by impulsive buying. To tackle this, enhancing the Product Detail Page (PDP) experience is crucial.

Customers mainly return products due to damage, faults, or sizing issues. While delivery partners and quality assurance handle the first, the latter can be improved with a better PDP experience. Many eCommerce stores now use return management software to streamline the process, as a poor return experience can harm their business. By taking these steps, you can reduce returns and enhance customer satisfaction.

The Thriving Recommerce Revolution

The Recommerce market is booming, with buyback and resale gaining popularity in retail. It's all about flexibility, offering a sustainable and cost-effective way to shop. Retailers benefit too, attracting more customers while reducing acquisition costs and boosting repeat purchases. In fact, a whopping 80% of retailers in the UK witnessed a revenue boost from resale in 2023.

However, online sellers face a common challenge – making their frequently changing inventory easily discoverable for customers. Fortunately, AI-driven merchandising enhances visibility for both long-tail and new products, ensuring a smoother and more tailored shopping experience.

Designer exchange encouraging Recommerce for luxury products

Automation and AI Revolutionising Retail Functions

Automation and AI are not confined to one aspect of retail; they're transforming every retail function. Retailers are grappling with inflationary pressures, and automation offers the most effective solution for cost management. From inventory management and supply chain optimisation to AI shop assistants, these technologies are streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency. The result? Faster, more accurate, and cost-effective services. 

The Rise of Omnichannel Shopping

In an era of seamless shopping experiences, the rise of omnichannel strategies is impossible to ignore. Consumers expect to move effortlessly between online and offline channels. Whether they start their journey in-store and finish it online or vice versa, businesses that can seamlessly integrate these channels will thrive.

Social Commerce Driven by the New Generation

The younger generation is driving the growth of social commerce. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok have become virtual marketplaces where influencers and consumers connect. Interestingly, a staggering 51% of Gen Alphas discover brands through YouTube creators. The ease of discovery and purchase on these platforms is reshaping how businesses engage with their audience. Social commerce driven by the new generation is more than a trend; it's a paradigm shift.

Sheselle, a Filipino-American influencer, unboxes and reviews Rare Beauty products
Sheselle, a Filipino-American influencer, unboxes and reviews Rare Beauty products

‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Amidst Inflation

With concerns about inflation on the horizon, "Buy Now, Pay Later" is gaining popularity. This payment model allows consumers to spread their payments over time, providing them with more financial flexibility. Some retailers offer 'soft credit cards' and convenient instalment options to boost conversion rates. By offering these alternatives, businesses can effectively address consumer needs, especially in times of economic uncertainty.

Redcandy.co.uk strategically positions the payment option, Klarna, right at the top to encourage conversion
Redcandy.co.uk strategically positions the payment option, Klarna, right at the top to encourage conversion

Seizing the Future of Retail

In light of these dynamic recent trends in retailing and the challenges posed by economic pressures, you now hold a potent roadmap to navigate the ever-evolving retail landscape! Always keep customer engagement, retention, and delivering unbeatable value at the forefront of your strategy. Be agile, embrace change with unwavering confidence, and stay ever-ready to ride the exhilarating waves of these retail trends.

But here's the real game-changer: Technology! Harness it to your advantage, and you'll be unstoppable. And if you're itching to discover how AI can supercharge your retail game in 2024, well, our AI guide on conquering top eCommerce challenges is just a download away.


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