What’s In Store for the Future of RetailT
he retail industry is no stranger to disruption. Successful retailers have learned to pivot and adopt new strategies in order to adapt to new consumer habits. New channels and tools are creating retail opportunities everywhere. Retailers who can modernize their technology to enable capabilities like personalizing content and creating shopping opportunities across multiple brick-and-mortar and digital channels will thrive in the future and attract new customers.
Here’s a look at what’s in store for the future of retail and areas of potential growth, success, and increased customer engagement.
Retailers Invest in Omnichannel Expansion
Improving the customer experience across different channels will be paramount as retailers navigate a period of slowing growth and cautious consumer spending. Customers increasingly expect a seamless experience from product discovery to purchase to delivery and beyond. Technology solutions are helping retailers expand their capabilities, manage fulfillment more effectively, and facilitate omnichannel growth.
The majority (68%) of retailers plan to spend more on tech initiatives over the next three years. Much of that investment will go to improving the digital experience as 75% of retail executives intend to spend more on eCommerce. But with more shoppers returning to stores, brick-and-mortar investment is also increasing. Half of retail executives plan to increase spending on in-store technologies to improve the omnichannel experience and offer more convenience to shoppers.
Mobile Commerce Continues to Grow
Mobile shopping is continuing to grow as customers use their smartphones more and retailers increase their capabilities across mobile channels. Mobile shopping made up the majority of Cyber Five online sales for the first time in 2022, taking a 51% share. Nearly 45% of online spending from October 1 to December 31 came from mobile shoppers.
Mobile commerce accounted for 41.8% of US retail eCommerce sales in 2022, a share that is expected to grow to 43.7% this year. According to eMarketer forecasts, US retail mobile commerce sales will grow by 14.7% this year, to $504.95 billion. Mobile commerce’s steady rise has led more retailers to launch mobile-specific experiences to maximize convenience for shoppers.
eCommerce Expands Across More Categories
After a slight dip in 2022, US retail eCommerce sales growth will accelerate each year through 2027, according to eMarketer forecasts. By that point, eCommerce sales will reach $1.736 trillion and make up more than one-fifth of total retail sales. Historically, apparel and accessories and computer and consumer electronics have been the most dominant categories in eCommerce sales. They will remain significant sales drivers, but in the future, eCommerce will be more evenly spread among categories.
Digital grocery will be one of the main contributors to eCommerce’s growth over the next five years. Health and personal care is expected to become a major eCommerce category in the future. Furniture and home furnishings will become the second largest category for eCommerce sales by 2024. Apparel and accessories will remain the largest category through 2027. Auto parts, toys and hobbies, and office equipment and supplies will also see above-average sales growth as consumers turn to the convenience of eCommerce for more of their shopping needs.
Stores Aren’t Just for Shopping
From medical services to happy hours, retailers are redefining the in-store experience. Walmart plans to open 28 new Walmart Health centers in 2024, giving it a total of more than 75 locations by the end of the year. The new facilities will feature a full suite of health services. Offering in-store care promotes wellness, while bringing potential shoppers into the retail space. In today’s ever-competitive retail industry, retailers can differentiate themselves by adding services and social spaces in their brick-and-mortar locations.
Grocers are investing in providing more engaging and enjoyable in-store experiences to attract shoppers. In many parts of the country, grocers are hosting happy hours and other special events and offerings at their in-store bars and pubs. Gelson’s has been successful with its over-21 spaces since launching its first wine bar in a Long Beach location in 2013. Today, Gelson’s operates 15 wine and tapas bars in Southern California and is planning to add two more soon.
Retailers Rely More on Fulfillment Automation
Retailers are beginning to move away from traditional warehouses and invest more into innovative technologies as they aim to streamline costs and enhance their fulfillment and last-mile delivery capabilities. Warehouse and fulfillment technology has become more advanced and it shields retailers from labor shortages or changes in consumer demand as warehouse robots can work unlimited hours. With most warehouses facing capacity and labor constraints, turning to automation can help increase efficiency and reduce labor needs.
In 2024, robots will be used by just under half of medium to large operators of warehouses and fulfillment centers in the US. Walmart and Chewy are taking drastic measures to rapidly deploy their automated warehouses. Retailers will continue to roll out automated fulfillment centers in the future and invest in technology solutions to help them adapt to eCommerce growth, increase fulfillment speed, and manage deliveries and fulfillment services more efficiently.
Retailers that find ways to reduce friction, make omnichannel shopping experiences more enjoyable, and provide fast and reliable fulfillment services can attract more customers, build customer loyalty, and drive future success and profitability.
For more information about how our delivery and fulfillment management solution can help you manage your omnichannel fulfillment operations more efficiently, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.