2023: Retail Technology predictions
Nicolas Hammer, Co-founder and CEO of Critizr.
For any retailer hoping for a year of calm after the upheaval of the pandemic, 2023 isn’t it. Businesses are back on an emergency footing, if they ever left it, to deal with crippling operational issues and a grim economic outlook as they figure out how to best serve customers reeling from the current financial crisis.
Nicolas Hammer, co-founder and CEO of customer interaction management specialists Critizr reveals that technology in the year ahead won’t be focused on retail’s future; instead, it’s being deployed urgently in the here and now to help brands get back to basics with customers. Here are his four predictions.
1 – The end of ‘off days’ in retail: As the cost-of-living crisis bites and retailers compete more than ever on price, new customer acquisition will be more difficult and costly. We will therefore see the value of existing customers soar, with retailers using technology to keep their loyal customers close, connected and happy. We know that people will be shopping less often, so when they do shop, either in-store or online, brands will fight hard to impress. Whilst in the past one customer service mistake might be overlooked, customers in 2023 won’t be so forgiving! No retailer can risk having an ‘off day’, and technology will help them get it right for every customer, every time.
2 – Winning in the here and now: Operational planning will prioritise short-term wins over long-term projects. Retailers are putting every resource into fighting for sales and customer satisfaction in the here and now, aware that major high street brands are crashing out on an alarmingly regular basis. It’s about a tight focus on technologies that positively impact sales – and fast – in every corner of the business, from supply chain and staff performance to customer service. If it’s an untested, future-focused project that won’t help the bottom line now, forget it.
3 – The rise of omni-channel: After years of digital growth being the show’s star, offline sales are growing faster than online. In November 2022 NielsenIQ reported that store visits were up 7% compared to last year, whilst online sales have declined. In 2023 we’ll see retailers strive for a blended, streamlined experience across online and offline that brings the best of both worlds together. Technology will be a retailer’s best friend in this endeavour, bringing the warm, personal interactions of a store visit to online sales and on the flip side, creating a more efficient, innovative and connected experience in store.
4 – Trust is everything. We’re all feeling more vulnerable and anxious about our finances. Customer spending will be more cautious and considered, and it won’t be with just any brand. People need to trust the brands they shop with, to know that they are getting good value, genuine quality and personal, compassionate customer service. Technology replacing people in retail is a misconception. Instead, retailers will be using it to empower and inspire the people in their business to extend these basic human values of trust, honesty and authenticity to customers.
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