Retail Trends for 2024: Store Automation and Doubling Down on Sustainability
The bar for the customer experience is continually being raised and 2024 is set to be no exception as the competition between retailers gets tougher. Organizations will need to ensure they keep up-to-date with the latest shopping trends to meet the demands of the omnichannel experience, particularly with technologies like artificial intelligence on the rise.
The Rise of Social Shopping
Consumer behaviors are rapidly changing and social shopping is currently in its infancy. Social shopping brings together social media channels and e-commerce to enable consumers to make purchases within a social media application or environment. Social shopping (which includes livestream shopping and online shopping events hosted by brands and retailers) is growing 28.4 percent annually and will generate over $3 trillion by 2028, so it’s a trend that businesses really cannot afford to overlook. To meet customer demands in the social shopping era, staying on top of stock visibility and ensuring that the data is integrated across all different touchpoints is essential.
Smarter Retail Operations
With automation and efficiency being used as key benchmarks in how to lead operations in the new year, the industry needs to be ready to adapt. As barriers between different stages of the supply chain are broken down, through connectivity and shared data, organizations can now take advantage of "unified stock," as the retail sector begins to move away from silos.
What this allows for is retail businesses to see and analyze where products are, where they're coming from, and how to allocate them to the right channel to successfully match customer demand. By using technology to implement a data-driven approach, staff can meet demands in an agile way at a time when the retail sector is being built towards being as flexible as possible. Leveraging RFID technology to speed up the checkout process, along with smart security tags and further inventory automation, can make retail operations smarter, more secure, and better for the end customer.
Taking Retail Sustainability to the Next Level
With external factors such as inflation having a huge impact, the pressure to meet sales targets is now even greater than ever before. Additionally, consumer demand is also increasing for sustainability to be prioritized within businesses, with customers now having other considerations beyond cost. Sustainability is set to be an even greater driving force for change within the retail sector in the years to come. Decision makers need to walk the walk by showing action.
This is where improving supply chain sustainability can help, with two core benefits being the ability to reduce carbon footprints while simultaneously increasing brand awareness and reputation. An important aspect of an ideal supply chain strategy is to avoid waste and overproduction.
The retail sector is currently facing challenges not seen in over a decade, requiring greater inventory visibility to control costs, as well as adapting to consumers who are opting for more sustainable businesses and personalized experiences. Therefore, retailers will need to ensure that they stay one step ahead by integrating sustainability within their business model and using data to provide a unique consumer journey. Furthermore, implementing the right technological enhancements such as RFID not only allows retailers to innovate with the latest technological advancements, but will also ensure stock visibility and efficiency are key priorities in their omnichannel strategy in the year ahead.
Hilbert Dijkstra is general manager, iD Cloud at Nedap, a provider of RFID solutions.
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Hilbert Dijkstra is General Manager iD Cloud at Nedap. Hilbert joined Nedap in early 2013, after obtaining his MSc. degree in Applied Physics. After starting his career at Nedap in one of the development teams, he spent three years in Boston, USA, launching iD Cloud in North America and establishing the North American iD Cloud team. In the summer of 2019, he returned to Nedap HQ in the role of Head of Product, and in October 2023, he assumed the position of General Manager of the iD Cloud globally. Hilbert's leadership is defined by his family-oriented values, his collaborative spirit as a team player, and his analytical approach to challenges.