Emplifi, a leading unified customer experience platform, released its predictions for the top retail trends in 2023. According to Emplifi, omni-channel approaches, user generated content (UGC) and live video will be integral to online retail success next year. Because consumers currently have unlimited options when buying online, and customer expectations are at an all-time high, retail brands will need to meet consumers where they are and provide a customer experience that exceeds customer expectations to outperform the competition. The combination of an omni-channel approach, UGC and live video addresses the primary challenges retail brands will face in the coming year.
According to the National Retail Foundation (NRF), consumer confidence is down and consumer spending’s rate of growth has slowed. Though not as striking as the double digit growth retailers experienced for the bulk of last year, year-over-year increases in sales have been strong.
On the upside, the Blue Chip Economic Indicators panel of forecasters predicts the economy will improve, but at a slow pace (0.6%) in 2023. Last year, global online retail sales surpassed $5 trillion dollars – that number is expected to grow by 56% over the next four years, reaching more than $8 trillion dollars in 2026.
These economic forecasts make clear online shopping will continue to drive major revenue gains for online retailers, but brands still must be strategic if they hope to capture the lion’s share of online retail spending in the coming months. An omni-channel strategy that expertly leverages UGC and live video will be imperative for brands to gain a competitive edge.
Retail trend #1: An omni-channel approach
The customer journey is far from linear – consumers jump from one channel to another throughout their day and expect a consistent brand experience along the way. An omni-channel approach ensures a consistent brand experience while creating multiple opportunities for consumers to connect with an online retailer.
Retail trend #2: User generated content
Research shows that consumers crave a more authentic experience online and trust other customers more than they trust ads, making UGC a crucial component of a successful online strategy. Ninety percent of consumers claim UGC holds more influence over their buying decision than other marketing and sales content.
“With looming economic uncertainties in the coming year, online retailers will need to reconsider current customer experience strategies and fully embrace a more diverse marketing approach to outperform the competition,” said Zarnaz Arlia, Emplifi CMO. “The goal is to give customers the best possible experience each and every time they engage with a brand. A comprehensive omni-channel strategy enables brands to create more opportunities for consumers to discover and buy their products. Integrating UGC and live video into the customer journey at critical touchpoints, optimizes the customer experience and helps build long term customer relationships.”
Retail trend #3: Live video
Live video is still catching on in the U.S., but it will grow in popularity as consumers seek more personalized experiences online. Last year, eMarketer reported that live video shopping in China drove $300 billion in sales in 2021 and is expected to deliver nearly $480 billion by the end of this year.
Live video gives brands the power to add a personal touch with one-to-one and one-to-many selling tactics. It is also an effective method to provide shopping advice and support along the customer journey. As has been demonstrated by electronics retailer, Curry’s.
“As the UK’s largest tech retailer, our mission is to help customers enjoy amazing technology. This means not only helping our customers choose shiny new kit, but also making sure they get the most out of it. We know that our customers find new tech exciting but also often confusing and need help when things don’t go to plan,” said Gillian Geraghty, Ecommerce and Omnichannel Director.
As a leading customer experience platform, Emplifi actively monitors and collects millions of data points tracking brand engagement across social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Its index of social media performance analytics, in combination with its team of data scientists, enables it to accurately predict which online retail trends will drive revenue based on critical KPIs. Earlier this month, Emplifi made its CX Index Benchmark Study available to all brands to help them better understand their social media marketing and social customer care efforts.